Bench Upgrade #1: Upgrading My Bench Top

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Blog entry by cheller posted 07-08-2007 03:10 AM 1504 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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My primary bench (I have a second that has been buried under stuff for years) has been frustrating me for quite a while. The top is composed of 2X6s which means it’s not as flat and level as I’d like. I’d decided a while ago that replacing the top with a double layer of 3/4” plywood would solve the problem. Eventually I’ll replace this with a real woodworking bench, so this is a temporary solution.

I’d acquired the plywood several months ago and a couple of weekends ago I’d cut it to size. Last night I decided that this was the weekend to make the change. First step was clearing off the bench which was, per usual, covered in clutter.
Here’s the starting point.
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And here’s how it looked 1 1/2 hours later after much clean up. What you can’t see is all the stuff stacked on the router table and floor.
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A close-up of the old top.
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I’ve had two different kinds of interlocking padding on the floor for several months and because they don’t lock into each other they are posing a serious trip hazard. So as long as I had the bench cleared, and therefore more easily moved, I took the time to replace the padding so that it’s all the same type. And I did a fair amount of cleaning as well.

Here’s the frame, without the top.
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With a little help from my spouse the first layer of plywood was put into place. The plan was to screw this down to the frame then screw the two layers together from the bottom.

First layer ready for attachment to the base.
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Top layer in place, glued and screwed with the back brace of the frame reattached.
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The top is now nice and flat and I’m thrilled. I’ll be adding hardwood edging. and will post additional pictures then. I also need to reattach the vise, and will be adding bench dog holes to make the vise even more useful.

-- Chelle

4 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35126 posts in 4429 days

#1 posted 07-08-2007 03:20 AM

I hope you remember where the screws are when you get redy to drill for the bench Dogs. On my Bench project i show a jig I made to drill the holes for bench dogs.

If you don’t have any plans You might consider it.

Great improvement.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4340 days

#2 posted 07-08-2007 03:21 AM

Chelle, a definite improvement over the old top. What type of hardwood edging are you planning to use? Can you post a close up of the back of the bench? Is that a ruler on it? When are you going to build those drawers to go underneath your bench? Add some peg board behind it and whalla, more storage.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View cheller's profile


254 posts in 4138 days

#3 posted 07-08-2007 04:27 AM

Karson – thanks for the link, that’ll definitely make drilling for the dogs easier. The screws are visible from the bottom, so avoiding them will be relatively easy provided I remember to look. ;-)

Os – I haven’t decided what type of hardwood to use. It’ll probably depend on what I can dig up from my piles of wood. The back of the bench does indeed have a ruler on it. It’s also got guides for nails, screws, bolts, etc. I’ve never checked to see how accurate the ruler is.
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Incidentally the store where I bought the bench, which was a local chain, has been out of business for a number of years killed by Home Depot.

I’ll be sure to let you all know if I decide to add drawers.

-- Chelle

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4340 days

#4 posted 07-08-2007 05:41 AM

Thanks. Nice information to have at your bench. The key to a ruler is to use just one for all measurments, so if you were to use it to measure with it would give you equally sized pieces even if not actually to length you intended. I know that isn’t acurate, but how do we know how acurate our measuring tools really are? We could use the same measurement as Noah did and it would work as long as we use it for all measurements, see what I mean. LOL.

-- Jesus is Lord!

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