One of the more interesting threads to follow on woodworking forums are ones dealing with workbench builds, plained, in progress, or finished. Many times for the train wreck aspect. While a workbench is or at least should be highly personal and fit the users workflow and projects, most builds I see posted tend to be of the Swiss Army Knife variety.
My early benches fit that pattern as well. Another aspect is "fashion", over the years I've seen different types of benches come and go in and out of fashion. This year it is a French style bench, yesterday it was Scandinavian or German. I'm not sure if one of the better benches, the English bench, has ever been in fashion which shows just how fickle bench fashion can be. Full disclosure on this one: I'm guilty of advocating for Moravian style benches for reasons that will be covered in a later post.
Bottom line, style of build makes little or no never mind. Each style build has pluses and minuses what is important is have you thought through those factors and fit them to your needs, As an example a French bench can be very stable, heavy, reasonably easy to build but expensive to build when compared to other style benches. Where the English bench can be as stable, but not as heavy, a more complex build, and a much cheaper build. Working on either bench is not much different, they both work but sometimes with slightly different means of holding the workpiece.
That brings up the Swiss Army Knife. This isn't much of a problem with most English builds, it seems most folks who choose an English bench do so for the simplicity of the work holding. The bench works fine with no vises. The French is another story. BTW I'm not picking on the French bench because in its pure form work holding can be almost as simple as that of the English bench. But for some reason many builders of the French bench go for the gold and try to make the bench into that Swiss Army knife.
I've seen benches with a different type vise on every corner along with a pattern makers vise hanging on one end, a leg vise, a metal QR vise, a shoulder vise, a wagon vise, a Scandinavian style tail vise, a sliding deadman on one side and a bench jack on the other. Add in dog holes lined up with every vise. All this on one bench and with three or four different woods for contrast and you have a thing of beauty, Damn impressive as a work of art but I'm not sure it would be a functioning workbench. I expect most of the vises would just get in the way of working as would all the contrasting woods and maybe even the dog holes.
That's the train wreck, the next post on this subject will be about getting to a simple functional bench.