Many woodworkers embrace the 20 mm workbench for its versatility: it can serve as a cutting station; hold workpieces for sanding, assembly, and glue-up; and elevate workpieces for finishing. If you rely on this style of workbench, here are some woodworking bench upgrades to think about.
Bench dogs come in all shapes and sizes! Some dogs simply act as a material stop for your workpiece, allowing you to perform repeatable cuts. While this is the most common use for 20 mm bench dogs, there are also a variety of specialty dogs on the market:
- Bench Connecting Dogs: These allow you to combine/layer two or more work surfaces together to make your work surface modular and expandable on demand. Power-Loc and Smart Connect are two such dog styles.
- Guide Rail Dogs: If you want to adapt your 20 mm work surface into a track saw cutting station, guide rail dogs act as the means to connect your guide rail to your worktop. This is generally accomplished by attaching the dogs to the underside of your guide rail extrusion, and then placing the dogs into 20mm holes on the work surface. Some guide rail dogs offer a locking collar which enables adjustable height and elevates the guide rail above the work surface, making it easier to move workpieces in and out.
- Chamfer Dogs: Rather than utilizing a traditional collar, which is necessary as it prevents the dog from falling through the 20 mm hole, this dog style uses a small chamfer which corresponds to a chamfer you add to each of your 20 mm holes.
- Clamps: Bench dogs can also serve as the mounting point for inline or horizontal clamps.
Sure, bench dogs can serve as material stops, but sometimes you need more bearing surface or the ability to adjust the position between 96 mm. That’s where adjustable material stops like the TDS-10 or TDS-13 DogStops™ come into play. They provide a long, flat reference edge that can act as a larger stop or fence.
Need to make repeatable cuts for a batch of cabinet casework? Cut your first piece, insert two dog stops, slide them up to the side of your workpiece opposite the cut, and lock them into position. You have now essentially created a reference fence so that future workpieces can be cut to the exact same dimension.
A bench vise is a necessity for a versatile workbench. Available in different styles, some are better for 20 mm tables than others. We’re particularly fans of the Moxon vise for its simple design, which also affords a long, wide clamping area to hold drawer sides for hand joinery work, but there are a number of popular woodworking vise designs such as the tail/end, leg, and face vise.
You can adapt any style vise to work with a 20 mm workbench—you just have to build a base to clamp to your 20 mm work surface, or drill 20 mm holes in the base and use bench connecting dogs to make it semi-permanent.
Tool storage with any work surface is always a trade-off. One thing to keep in mind with 20 mm worktops in particular: you will want to retain open space underneath the table so that clamps and other accessories can pass through. We recommend maintaining an open space underneath the table of about six inches. An alternative solution is a rolling cabinet with drawers or SysPort to organize your workspace. We also offer several woodworking plans that can give you a head start on some great shop organization projects.
Bench dogs, material stops, vises, and tool storage are all handy upgrades! Whether you are a beginner or an experienced woodworker, upgrading your workbench just makes it easier to get your woodworking projects done to a high standard of quality.