Need advice on a small footprint woodworking bench build

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New member
13 Feb 2024
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Northern Ireland
So I've just managed to clear a small corner of my small shed and could really do with a woodworking bench, I want to be able to use a woodworking vice I bought and some other bits and pieces like bench dogs and plane stops for hand planing.

Trouble is, the absolute maximum space I have for this would be 4 foot long by 2 foot wide.

Whole that in itself isn't tiny, it means, due to the layout of my shed and other tools etc, I wouldn't be able to get round the side of the bench and the vice would be mounted at the front.

If I made it the full 4 foot long, it would leave me fairly little floor space, although I'm kind of used to that anyway, working in an 8'x8' shed.

My question is, if I build a smaller, say 2 foot by 2 foot woodworking bench, do you think it would be of any real use? I realise it would decrease what I can hold in plane stops etc and limit the size of things, but it would also leave me a bit more space.

Some pictures attached. The bench will start where the workmate is and end where the scroll saw is. All four sides of my shed included to show that space really is at a premium for me haha.

Thanks to anyone who reads this
Before you consider a bench, maybe you need to look at better storage solutions.
Can you clear the bench you have and see what under space you could salvage?
Also there seems some clear wall space, maybe use that up first.
Once you can clear it and improve storage, you will get a better idea of your space.
Look at flip top cabinets to get two tools in same footprint as one.
It may be that you don’t need a bench that’s 2 feet deep, my bench has a 12” slab of Beech with a deep well behind, and really the number of times my work extends over the well is tiny.
A vice will restrict the amount of usable space on a bench that small, I wouldn’t normally say this but maybe do without (shock horror) perhaps use a removable top mounted Moxon vice?
Mike Siemsen working on a viceless bench video may be of help, I can recommend this to anyone actually.
I have a small MFT (one of these without the legs) sitting on an old dining room table

just under 4 foot wide and slightly over 2 foot deep
but I rarely use all of it and in fact half of it often has a laser sitting on it...
I don't have any table vices (about to sell the one I bought to put on a workbench) because clamps with the MFT dogholes are so superb...
How about putting that lathe on a spinny bench like people do for mitre saws etc? Would need solid pivot and legs but the weight would make the bench solid?
Here's a thought. That lathe with its cast iron bench feet is a pretty heavy lump. On that model the headstock slides as well as swivels. If you take the tailstock and banjo off (assuming you have removed the stop screw like most people do - I regularly get the tailstock off and out of the way) you can then turn the headstock 90 degrees, ideally motor towards wall if there is space, and slide it fully to the tailstock end. Then get some 50x50 or similar, need to measure, which drops into the gap in the bed, screw and glue a chunky board on top then you have the beginning of a removable bench. A couple of toggles underneath the 50x50 perhaps to hold the thing in place, front skirt, vice...