In some ways, building a workbench was liberating. I generally build furniture-type projects, where I agonize over every little flaw. With this project, I didn’t have to worry about little dents, minor tear-out, etc. Of course, I wanted to do a good job, but I kept telling myself, “It’s just a bench. It’s going to get dinged up eventually.”
Having said that, I understand what leads some people to build showcase-quality benches that look nicer than most people’s furniture. For example, I worried (and still do a little) about the exposed plywood edges on the bench top. Will they hold up over time, or will they delaminate? I considered building a solid wood frame around them, but didn’t. In one brief moment of relative insanity, I thought of the partial roll of two-ply maple veneer in the storage room… I could veneer the sides of the bench top and hide those exposed edges. Never mind that I’d probably end up accidentally ripping off the veneer. So again I told myself, “It’s just a bench,” and left the veneer alone.
What else might I do to my bench? I’m probably going to install a 24” clamp rack on one side (or maybe on both sides; I need to count my clamps). They’ll nestle under the overhang, maybe six inches down, and they shouldn’t interfere with anything. And it will be nice having my clamps right there, instead of in a drawer in the storage room adjacent to the garage.
I’ve also thought about cutting a 1/8” thick piece of hardboard the same size as the top. I could varnish and wax it and use the bench as an assembly table (or as an outfeed table if the resulting height is appropriate). I’d glue four 1/2” plugs cut from a 3/4” dowel near the corners. They’d sit in dog holes and keep the hardboard in place.
The last thing I’ve considered is building a squat cabinet with two drawers and putting it on the shelf. That would keep other tools like squares, sanding blocks, etc. close at hand.
But now I just look forward to using this bench. I also want to say thanks to anybody who has taken the time to read or comment on this project or blog. Happy woodworking!
-- Ron Stewart