Help ! I can't find my work bench !

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Forum topic by snowgoer posted 01-18-2016 05:04 PM 1906 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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107 posts in 2842 days

01-18-2016 05:04 PM

I love this amazing website and admire all the creative people on it. Every time I see a photo of a pristine work bench surface makes me wonder do they actually work in this place ? To say MY workbench surface is not like that would be a gross understatement. (Get to the point !) Please , someone, offer me suggestions ,insults, acronyms whatever works for you, to keep your work bench clutter free. aka usable .

29 replies so far

View benchbuilder's profile


284 posts in 2625 days

#1 posted 01-18-2016 05:38 PM

Well snow, mine is usually got a lot of stuff on it and no it doesnt have a glossy finish. Mine is more of a stains here and there with lots of dings, cuts and drips from epoxy, stains and who knows what it is. But this is all because I use it. If I had a glossy top it would be because I spent more time cleaning and finishing it then usung it… if your using it its not going to be spotless or free of clutter, so why worry, just use it and be happy you have it to use!!!!

View Matt's profile


160 posts in 1126 days

#2 posted 01-18-2016 05:38 PM

Don’t do this…

-- My "projects" always look better with beer goggles.

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1627 days

#3 posted 01-18-2016 06:48 PM

My saw top and extension router wing are my work bench. If I wanna cut I must clean the ‘bench’.


-- Madmark -

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5142 posts in 2668 days

#4 posted 01-18-2016 07:41 PM

I’m pretty sure those pics you see are always right after a bench is built, before it’s went to work in the shop. Then it instantly becomes covered with all manner of unidentifiable stuff that will be used at an unknown future time for a yet to be determined project. I believe it’s the law of “flat surfaces”, which states they must never be bare/uncovered/visible.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View HokieKen's profile


6606 posts in 1313 days

#5 posted 01-18-2016 07:48 PM

For me it’s simple. Once it becomes such a pig sty that I don’t have room to do what I need to do, I stop and take 5 minutes to put everything up. Then I’m good to go with a “photo friendly”, uncluttered bench for at least an hour or 2.

I think Fred hit the nail on the head. It’s not that those benches are always clean. It’s just that their photographed when they are.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View clin's profile


947 posts in 1170 days

#6 posted 01-18-2016 08:03 PM

I’m getting a new, dedicated shop together and have a fantasy of having it clean. But one thing I’m finding so far, compared to my old, corner of the garage work space, is that it is much easier to keep a place clean if you actually have specific places for things.

I find 99% of the time, when I leave something on a work surface for more than a day, it’s because I don’t really have a designated spot for it. So it gets tossed onto the nearest available flat spot with me thinking “I’ll figure out where to put that later.” Of course later never comes.

-- Clin

View snowgoer's profile


107 posts in 2842 days

#7 posted 01-18-2016 09:53 PM

Thanks to all who offered help with my “flat surface syndrome”. Fred Hargis , for me really but the finger on the problem. Seriously. I just cleaned the surface of my work bench. I have two. I feel like I’ve been to therapy. After lunch we will tackle the next one. Unless another project blocks my progress.

View David Taylor's profile

David Taylor

326 posts in 1262 days

#8 posted 01-19-2016 12:43 AM

Might want to look at the 5S Method. Some discussion about it here –

-- Learn Relentlessly

View Tom Clark's profile

Tom Clark

88 posts in 3195 days

#9 posted 01-19-2016 01:26 PM

The main reason for messy workbenches is there is no decent storage under them. It is hard to put things away when there is no place to put them. These drawers hold far more than you can stack on top of the bench, yet everything is instantly at your fingertips, without wasting hours looking for lost items. Storage bases triple the size of your shop.

I use simple to build bases for my workbenches. Notice the size of the drawers and you will see that they are about like having four more flat surfaces almost the same size as the workbench top. And the metal drawer slides make getting to the storage a pleasure.

Try it and they will change your life, and make building projects a pleasure instead of a lesson in frustration!

This simple plywood construction goes very quickly.

-- Tom

View Ger21's profile


1075 posts in 3305 days

#10 posted 01-19-2016 04:00 PM

My table saw, assembly table, and CNC table are all covered in tools and junk right now. And, I’m in the middle of a project, so I keep shifting things from one table to the other.

-- Gerry,

View MT_Stringer's profile


3182 posts in 3405 days

#11 posted 01-19-2016 04:41 PM

I had the same problem. It is a lot better. Now I have more room for more stuff! UGH!

I do try to clean up after each project and put my tools back where they are supposed to be. More than once, I have give up looking for something and just bought another one. :-(

Here is my story.

Good luck. Hope this helps.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View benchbuilder's profile


284 posts in 2625 days

#12 posted 01-19-2016 04:54 PM

It could be as the 7 Ps, prior proper planing prevents p#++ poor preformance?

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15649 posts in 2793 days

#13 posted 01-19-2016 05:17 PM

One of the benefits of having a dedicated shop space is leaving open projects / tasks on the benchtop from one day to the next. It’s when that task is done that everything gets put away, before the next task begins.

Everything does need a place to go, of course.

Fred’s law of flat surfaces (they must never be bare/uncovered/visible) is so much like the Law of the Flat my dad and I have committed to memory: A cleared, flat surface will find itself covered in short order; it just will.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5142 posts in 2668 days

#14 posted 01-19-2016 05:26 PM

Actually I don’t think the surface needs to be flat, or even level. If it approaches a horizontal posture of any kind the law states it shall be buried in something.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View redesigningwood's profile


169 posts in 1008 days

#15 posted 02-19-2016 06:20 PM

My saw top and extension router wing are my work bench. If I wanna cut I must clean the bench .

- MadMark

Dude. I thought i was bad! Thats awesome!

-- Mat

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