Small Workbench #4: The Top

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Blog entry by Mike Lingenfelter posted 12-30-2007 11:48 PM 7052 reads 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: The Base Part 4 of Small Workbench series no next part

For the top I wanted something that could stand up to getting wet. I thought I would use a laminate countertop (Formica). At our Home Depot you can get small 2’ x 4’ pieces of laminate. The selection isn’t that large, but I think I found something that worked for me. I glued and screwed to pieces of ¾” plywood together. Then I used some scrap pieces of oak to trim off the edges. I then applied some contact adhesive to the top and the laminate and put them together.



I put small chamfer on the edge and attached the top to the base. I used pocket screws to attach the top to the base. I also added a shelf to hold my sharpening stones and tools.


I made one last little fixture for the bench, a benchhook for the water stones. This also needed to stand up to getting wet. Also at Home Depot you can buy individual floor tiles. I picked up a 12×12 self-adhesive tile. I tried to find one that was relatively smooth. This was also a “hard” tile, not one of the softer vinyl tiles. I attached it to a piece of plywood, and added some oak trip. I left the oak about a ¼” up from the tile. I wanted to see if could keep the water contained. I used some silicone adhesive to attach the oak trim, to try and keep the water from seeping down into the plywood. I’ll have to wait and see if this works.


You might notice that the top piece of oak, is at a slight angle. This allows me to slide the stone in and wedge it in.

9 comments so far

View Jamie's profile


161 posts in 3836 days

#1 posted 12-31-2007 03:00 AM

Nice sharpening workbench. Pretty good idea with the benchhook having the angled wood to keep the stone from moving. Good job!

-- Jamie, Kentucky

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 3840 days

#2 posted 12-31-2007 04:46 AM

That’s a rugged little bench, but did you know oak has a high tannin content? This reacts with iron shavings from your sharpening and the water will carry the iron shavings deep into the oak’s open pores turning it black.

-- Thuan

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4136 days

#3 posted 12-31-2007 05:46 AM

I assumed the oak would start to discolor. It’s what I had laying around. I figured any wood I used was going to start to look bad, with all the exposure to the water and mess.

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4019 days

#4 posted 12-31-2007 06:20 AM

It is a workbench after all!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 3853 days

#5 posted 12-31-2007 06:42 AM

Very nice! I’m getting ready to build a new bench for my shop and this gave me some great ideas.

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3984 days

#6 posted 12-31-2007 04:28 PM

well done, Mike

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4136 days

#7 posted 01-01-2008 04:34 AM

Thanks everyone. I’ve been using the bench today and it’s working out well.

Thuan, the oak is already discoloring :). Not a big deal, as I expected it to start to stain. I just thought it would take a little longer.

The tile is working out great. The surface tension from the water makes the stone stick to it! There were a couple times I really had to work at getting the stone off!

View cheller's profile


254 posts in 4131 days

#8 posted 01-03-2008 09:23 PM

Great bench hook idea.

The bench looks nice and sturdy.

-- Chelle

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3695 days

#9 posted 04-04-2009 07:02 PM

Nice sharpening bench.

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