What is an EMIR Workbench?

Solid beech educational workbenches made in the UK

General Purpose 1226. Click for larger image

An EMIR workbench is designed to be durable, long lasting and suitable for a wide variety of work projects. Whether you are carrying out woodwork with large D&T classes or designing jewellery in your studio – EMIR can offer the solution with exceptional quality.
As we have been working with the education sector for decades, we have gained an understanding of what classes require. We have also adapted our designs over the years to meet the changing curriculum in schools and colleges.
We not only work with the education sector, but a wide range of people, from individuals who need a small bench for their private workshop or fashion houses that require several Cutting Tables.
We are flexible with designs, delivery and order size so if you would like to make an enquiry, feel free to call or email to speak with one of the team.
All our workbenches are designed and manufactured in Ashford, Kent so we are able to discuss your specific requirements with you and create something truly bespoke.
This blog covers all your need to know about the EMIR range of workbenches and what options are available to you.

What is a workbench used for?

Workbenches can be used for a variety of projects – from general wood work and metal work to more specific type of crafts. For general D&T projects, a sturdy bench with strong joinery will last for years as it will be able to withstand light to heavy duty work. A general purpose/ workbench should also have a woodwork and/or metalwork vice to suit the materials you will be working with.
More specific crafts, for example cabinetry, require workbenches that include iron dogs for clamping much larger pieces of wood to the bench. This also provides you with greater flexibility when working, although for most people a traditional woodworking vice is sufficient.

Schools using EMIR Workbenches

For primary and secondary schools, D&T classes tend to focus more on woodwork projects and collaborating with other students on group work. An ideal workbench for this type of work would be one that can seat four students comfortably around so that each student has their own vice and space to write at. Removable metalwork vices offer flexibility as they clamp into existing woodwork vices and can be stored under the worktop when not in use. Storage space may also be needed for smaller classrooms and so they may wish to invest in installing large cupboards under the worktops so that the classroom can be kept organised.

Colleges & universities using EMIR Workbenches

As colleges and universities carry out more advanced projects than at previous education levels – a durable and strong bench is a must. This requires a bench with a heavy and thick worktop that can withstand daily use from students. The size of the bench is another main element to take into consideration and we are able to produce EMIR workbenches in standard and bespoke sizes to suit your workroom.
A heavy duty vice is also necessary for classes that carry out a lot of sawing and drilling.
At this level, the focus tends to be less on group projects and more on providing students with space and options that can fit around a wide variety of projects. EMIR caters to this through our range of benches that are available in lengths of 1.2m – 3m as standard and typically sit 2 students to a bench. Some workbenches have 2 additional rails which provides stability and is strong enough for industrial purposes.

Metalwork class in a Kent College

Click for larger image.

Jewellery / silversmithing studios using EMIR Workbenches

Jewellers will often have gained their skills through a course at university or college and will most likely prefer to have a similar model to the one they have trained on. Many universities use EMIR benches as they are made for purpose and the solid beech frame and worktop make them a pleasure to use.
As jewellers tend to sit down to work for long periods of time – having a bench that is the right height is very important in order to avoid back pain etc. Our Jeweller’s bench can be ordered to a bespoke height that suits you personally and this is possible for any of our benches.

Fashion design / textiles courses using EMIR Workbenches

Fashion and textiles courses typically require workbenches for fabric cutting and a high quality surface to plan designs. The size and height of these Cutting Tables vary greatly depending on the size of the studio and number of people using the work surface at any given time. Also worth bearing in mind is the work surface itself which needs to be smooth enough to not damage the fabric but also hard wearing so that pin wheels etc. can be used.
EMIR Cutting Tables are available in a range of designs to suit different priorities, such as storage, seated work or accommodating large work groups.
Storage is another element of a Cutting Table to consider. You may wish to have drawers for storing patterns or pigeon holes to take fabric bolts. Shelves can also be added to the underframe which provides general storage space; however you may wish to do without storage and use the available space as leg room.
In the video below, you can see the process of how we produce our made-to-order Cutting Tables in Ashford, Kent. Ann Fryer, who has previously purchased a Cutting Table, tells us about why she chose EMIR and what the benefits are of having one made-to-order.

Why is an EMIR workbench so good?

EMIR has been a trusted source of high quality workbenches for over 50 years and are a firm favourite among many schools, colleges and universities. Find out how we have gained our reputation for high quality work below:

Workbench wood source

Processing Beech in the Ashford factory

Click for larger image.

At the heart of our manufacturing process is the conversion of prime raw timber into beautiful solid hardwood benches, tables and hand tools. We combine modern machinery with hand assembly and finishing; making our furniture both beautiful and strong.
The wood used in our benches is sourced from hardwood beech that can be found from Southern Scandinavia to Central Spain. The beech we use is steamed to inhibit rot and the timber is close-grained and splinter resistant. Using high quality beech such as this is part of what makes EMIR workbenches outperform other brands for quality and lifespan.

Unique workbench manufacturing process

The entire design and production process takes place in one factory in Ashford, Kent. With design and manufacture working so closely together, we are able to easily adapt and execute designs based on your preferences.
We take the raw timber that arrives at the factory and the conversion department works to maximise the yield and minimise any waste. The planks that come from this process are then planed square and straight or moulded to the cross section required.

Workbench Longevity

Our products are guaranteed against defects in material or workmanship and our educational workbenches have a 10 year guarantee. Many of our workbenches are still being used today, 25 years after we built them here in our Ashford factory. Recently on a visit to a local university, we noticed some of our General Purpose benches that were made in the original London factory back in the 1960’s. We were pleased to see that they are in great condition and still being used decades after production.

Workbench Case Study


A secondary school in Kent had two busy Design and Technology classrooms that were regularly used by students in all years. Students began their D&T lessons with woodwork projects and older students studied metalwork.


The school therefore required several workbenches for each classroom. When calling EMIR to discuss their requirements, it was established that the workbenches needed to cater for woodwork and metalwork; for students to be able to work independently as well as in groups and that there would need to be storage included in the design.


Square Workbench Solid Beech Top and cupboards

The 2133 Square with solid beech top and cupboards.

The Square Workbench 2133 was suggested as it has excellent storage capabilities with large cupboards. It can also be fitted with a variety of woodwork vices and a removable 4” mechanic vice can be supplied on a pad so that classes can quickly change between woodwork and metalwork. As each workbench seats 4 students, this also made the 2133 an ideal solution to working in groups, as students were close enough to each other to exchange ideas but had enough room of their own to work comfortably on practical work.

The D&T class required a smooth worktop for written work but it also needed to be durable and able to cope with heavy duty work that would be carried out each day. The solid beech top was therefore chosen as it offers a smooth surface for written work but can also withstand heavy duty work undertaken by classes on a daily basis.

The contact from the school was then given a quote for the order and delivery (delivery cost depends on order and distance) and a pro forma invoice was sent via email.


“I spoke to the really knowledgeable and helpful staff who were able to describe all of the options available to me and I was able to order a bench to my exact specifications – even having it made to fit in the limited space I had available.”
“The quality and build delivered to me to my exact requirements has been excellent, exceeding the quality of tables I’ve used in the past. It’s a pleasure to use and I am now the envy of all my dressmaking friends. Thank you EMIR.”
“I really appreciate all the time, care and work gone into designing, making and delivering. The quality is beautiful, and the design details we discussed are perfect for how I work. Thank you Thank you Thank you EMIR!”
“Your support has been exemplary and the quality of the product speaks for itself.”

How do I order a workbench from EMIR?

Close up photo of EMIR Square Workbench with woodworker viceOrdering from EMIR is easy and straightforward. Enquiries can be made through our contact form or over the phone where we are happy to talk through the various options with you and answer any questions.
Once you have decided on what you would like to purchase, orders need to be submitted in writing (via email) to confirm the details of the item you would like; your name and contact details (including you delivery address if different from billing address).
We will then get back to you with a pro forma invoice which can then either be paid over the phone or through a debit transfer.

What happens next?

Once the order is placed and delivery details have been discussed, production time takes 4-6 weeks typically. This is due to all our workbenches being made-to-order so that we can cater to your exact specifications. For bespoke designs of workbenches, 6-8 weeks might be necessary. Delivery dates and times will be confirmed with you, along with any other finer details of delivery.
Ordering from EMIR means you are speaking with those directly involved in the design and production of your workbenches. This means you can easily get in touch with our office with any questions you might have which would not be possible if ordered through a reseller. When there is news about your order, we are able to get in touch with you quickly and efficiently, rather than going through a third party.

Further information

If you would like to find out more about what we can offer the education sector, including educational discounts, click here.

We also have an FAQ page that answers general enquiries regarding orders and delivery.
If you would like to get in touch with the EMIR office to discuss what options would best suit your classroom, you can find our contact information here.