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Forum topic by Tedstor posted 04-24-2017 02:13 PM 704 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tedstor

1643 posts in 2469 days


04-24-2017 02:13 PM

So I bought the below workbench 4-5 years ago and its been serving me well (added a face vise and pop-up bench stop since taking this pic). However, I think I would like to replace the top. The current top is a nice slab of hard maple, but its not remotely flat. I would flatten it, but being a surplus school bench, its inundated with errant nails and staples.
Anyway…..I will likely just build a new one out of construction grade Douglas Fir. However, to be honest, I hate building shop fixtures. I typically just buy benches, jigs, and the like. So I figured I’d ask if anyone could recommend a pre-made top that doesn’t cost a fortune.


17 replies so far

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

746 posts in 331 days


#1 posted 04-24-2017 02:39 PM

IF it were me, I’d flatten what you have. Doug fir (or any construction grade lumber) will be very wet, anything you build from it will need to be flattened again in 1-2 years. You will spend the same For a cheap metal detector and one of the flattening bits from MLCS and end up with a much better and more stable maple top.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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jmartel

7527 posts in 1987 days


#2 posted 04-24-2017 02:41 PM

Depending on the thickness you need, look at Ikea butcher block tops. I don’t believe they use any metal fasteners in it. At least I didn’t find any when cutting it.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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JCamp

474 posts in 387 days


#3 posted 04-24-2017 02:45 PM

Nothing you can buy will be cheaper than flattening what you already have plus that looks like a nice bench top.
Maybe someone else can offer you advise on a replacement but if I was you I would either pull the nails and such out and flatten it with a plane (or have someone run it through a drum sander) or I get a 3/4 inch piece of plywood for the top. Unless its way out the plywood should mostly level it and would only cost around $30-40.
If your dead set on removing the old top then put it on CL and sell it as a kitchen island top. Being solid wood I say it’ll sell fast at a nice price (maybe even cover the cost of a new top)
OR… remove the top and flip is over using the bottom as the new top. The bottom is likely to not have the dents and such in it…. That is probably the fastest/cheapest way

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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dday

129 posts in 1266 days


#4 posted 04-24-2017 02:53 PM

If you have staples and such in the top, why not turn it over and start with a surface that likely has never seen any use. Flatten THAT surface and you’ll be golden.

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Tedstor

1643 posts in 2469 days


#5 posted 04-24-2017 04:20 PM



If you have staples and such in the top, why not turn it over and start with a surface that likely has never seen any use. Flatten THAT surface and you ll be golden.

- dday

LOL. I already flipped it over when I bought it. Evidently, both sides of the work surface saw some action. The other side is in FAR worse shape.

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Tedstor

1643 posts in 2469 days


#6 posted 04-24-2017 04:23 PM



Nothing you can buy will be cheaper than flattening what you already have plus that looks like a nice bench top.
Maybe someone else can offer you advise on a replacement but if I was you I would either pull the nails and such out and flatten it with a plane (or have someone run it through a drum sander) or I get a 3/4 inch piece of plywood for the top. Unless its way out the plywood should mostly level it and would only cost around $30-40.
If your dead set on removing the old top then put it on CL and sell it as a kitchen island top. Being solid wood I say it ll sell fast at a nice price (maybe even cover the cost of a new top)
OR… remove the top and flip is over using the bottom as the new top. The bottom is likely to not have the dents and such in it…. That is probably the fastest/cheapest way

- JCamp

Good idea. I could attach some high quality ply and build a nice apron. There are a few peaks a valleys on the worktop, so I’m not sure a sheet of ply will rest nicely without rocking. Maybe some floor leveling epoxy will get the job done?

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Rick_M

10623 posts in 2217 days


#7 posted 04-24-2017 06:29 PM

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JCamp

474 posts in 387 days


#8 posted 04-25-2017 12:01 AM

I would use some sort of leveler that hardens. Epoxy to me is a glue An I’d want to be able to remove the plywood after its used and abused

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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BigYin

403 posts in 2253 days


#9 posted 04-25-2017 11:03 AM

I went through this with a school bench. I punched the nails with a nail punch and glued in dowels. larger holed drilled and doweled. when dry belt sand smooth and get out the jointer plane. as you level the top you will find more nails, just punch, dowel, flatten.
top wil have a “spotty dog” appearance but the nails are gone and the top is flat.
Bench project - holes filled photo BenchHolesFilled.jpg

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

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Tedstor

1643 posts in 2469 days


#10 posted 04-25-2017 11:05 AM



I went through this with a school bench. I punched the nails with a nail punch and glued in dowels. larger holed drilled and doweled. when dry belt sand smooth and get out the jointer plane. as you level the top you will find more nails, just punch, dowel, flatten.
top wil have a “spotty dog” appearance but the nails are gone and the top is flat.

- BigYin

Doesn’t that gouge up the sole of your plane and murder the blade?

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

973 posts in 428 days


#11 posted 04-25-2017 12:53 PM



I went through this with a school bench. I punched the nails with a nail punch and glued in dowels. larger holed drilled and doweled. when dry belt sand smooth and get out the jointer plane. as you level the top you will find more nails, just punch, dowel, flatten.
top wil have a “spotty dog” appearance but the nails are gone and the top is flat.

- BigYin


The nails are not gone, They are hidden to make the life of the future user more interesting.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2714 posts in 1317 days


#12 posted 04-25-2017 12:59 PM

I would not try to repurpose that top. It won’t be worth the injury to your tools.

One option is laminate 2 layers of butcher block this will give you a nice thick bench top and should be flat.

The fir is ok (personally I like a hardwood top), but be aware of issues using construction lumber due to moisture content.

If you can’t wait 30 days for lumber to acclimate, then look for a better lumber source.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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pontic

502 posts in 445 days


#13 posted 04-25-2017 01:09 PM

What? you are supposed to flatten a bench top?

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

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canadianchips

2600 posts in 2834 days


#14 posted 04-25-2017 01:24 PM

Use a Belt sander course grit.
Disc sander with 25 grit.
Or even rent a DRUM sander .
Anything you buy or build will need the same attention !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)

Smitty_Cabinetshop

14847 posts in 2455 days


#15 posted 04-25-2017 01:45 PM

I’m with CChips, and would try belt sanding first.

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

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