How to build a carving bench

Written by jonah morrissey
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How to build a carving bench
A carving bench. (woodwork image by Daniel Wiedemann from

A carving bench provides a solid surface to work on wood carving projects. In addition to a solid surface, it also frees up both hands. If you have been carving without a bench, you will notice a difference in the speed and accuracy of your projects. Carving bench designs vary from large and stationary to small and portable. Portable benches are more versatile and you have the advantage of carving everywhere you travel. It is a smaller version of a stationary bench. For this reason a portable bench is a good choice for your first project.

Place the 2.5 by 15 by 15 cm (1 by 6 by 6 inch) boards parallel to each other on a work surface approximately 35 cm (14 inches) apart. These are the ends of the bench trestle. Place the 2.5 by 15 by 35 cm (1 by 6 by 14 inch) board in the centre of the ends and perpendicular to them. This is the trestle centre. Use a screw gun to put three 6.2 cm (2 1/2 inch) screws through the outside of the ends into each end of the trestle centre. This is the trestle assembly.

Place the 5 by 22.5 by 60 cm (2 by 9 by 24 inch) board on top of the trestle assembly. Center and fasten it with 6.2 cm (2 1/2 inch) screws. This is the top of the carving bench.

Flip the bench over. Place the 2.5 by 22.5 by 60 cm (1 by 9 by 24 inch) board on top of the trestle. Fasten this bottom to the trestle. Turn the bench upright.

Drill 1.8 cm (3/4 inch) holes approximately one inch in from the edges of the top. Space them every 5 cm (2 inches). These are for the bench dowel dogs, tapered dowels that hold the carving in place.

Use a draw knife to cut a tapered end on one end of each 2.5 by 15 cm (1 by 6 inch) dowel. The tapered end of the dowel should slide mid-way into the holes on the table. These bench dogs can hold work in place. Drill a 3 mm (1/8 inch) hole through each end of the bench bottom approximately 5 cm (2 inches) in from each end. These can be used to screw the portable bench to a larger work surface.


Adjust the size of the bench to accommodate the size of the wood carvings that you typically make.


Wear eye protection when working with wood.

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