Welcome! Forums General Woodworking Discussions Projects Apron on the Work Bench???


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    Hello All,

    I am starting to mentally work through a work bench build in the near future. I am probably going to stick closely to Paul’s bench design, but I can’t find anywhere what the purpose of the bench apron is? Vises can be attached without them, and because of the type of vise Paul uses (and me too) which stands out from the bench top slightly, using holdfasts on the apron to hold work is not possible like benches with flush mounted vises.

    So, does anyone have a good reason to put the apron in? It looks better, certainly, but I’m sure Paul doesn’t include it purely for cosmetic reasons. If anyone knows of a video where he talked about it, or has any advice please let me know.

    Thank you,


    Jason Wickersham

    Just spit-balling here, but I thought he mentioned in the video that it added rigidity to bench?


    Yeah I’m looking over the youtube videos again, and based on the construction of it I think your right.

    I have seen other bench styles that use an apron, with different types of vises, and use it with holdfasts. I am considering adding some shelves/drawers to my bench similar to the Sjoberg benches, or even Paul’s, and would like the option to use holdfasts too (now I am constantly clamping boards down to the bench top). If I had a lateral support at the same height I’m thinking I could eliminate the apron. Still thinking things through though.

    Thank you for posting back.



    They add a good deal of stiffness, and in Nicholson-style benches, aprons are used to aid in workholding.

    Philipp J.

    In his Book he states that it is indeed for rigiditiy.
    Personally i would absolutely not include an apron, main reason for being is if you have big or oddly shaped Workpieces that you cant clamp them to the benchtop.
    Being able to clamp Pieces to the edge of the Bench has come in handy so many times i lost count, keep in mind im a professional not a hobbyist though.

    Another thing i can highly recommend you take a look at is a Shouldervise, they just work, no need
    for any fiddling around with spacers like on ordinary front vises so that they close evenly. And you can in theory clamp boards/pieces as high as your room is in them, they hold things just more securely when working on the edge of the board, imo.
    Granted i cant say how they compare to the Metal Vises like Paul uses i have never worked with one of those.


    The variety of workholding available is kind of amazing. I wonder if it’s because there are so many ways of thinking about problems, so different ways of tackling problems has led to different solutions. If you’re a Problem Solver of Type 3, then that kind of workholding makes sense to you, if you’re Type 2, then you’ll understand this other style

    — when you can “can’t be clamped to the benchtop” — you only mean you can’t get the lower jaw of a clamp under the front edge of the bench, because the apron would prevent it, correct?

    I’m just a novice, and I have never clamped under the front edge of my bench yet, and I’m trying to imagine why I would want to. You’ve been through many more projects tha