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Forum topic by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 07-28-2011 05:30 PM 1450 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15247 posts in 2549 days

07-28-2011 05:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question workbench bench

Your workbench, of course. So many posts of benches get comments that include ‘too nice to use,’ or ‘I wouldn’t have the heart to pound on that bench.’ Which got me to thinking (always dangerous), what’s the roughest kind of thing you do on your bench? Use it when chainsawing? Brazing and welding? Mini-sledge (percussive maintenance) work? I’m curious how abused a bench can be…

Also, what kinds of woodworking project do you consider ‘too rough’ for your bench / you move to a pair of sawhorses, or workmate, to not damage anything?

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

17 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2902 days

#1 posted 07-28-2011 05:42 PM

I put a 25 ton jack on top of mine and jacked up the house once.

Otherwise, the usual, saw, chisel, plane, drill, route and sand. Then glue assemble finish. I set my lathe on it and turn stuff until I get my lathe cabinet made. Also, carve wax patterns for jewelry, and solder and work on electronic or electrical repairs.

Took a nap on it once as well.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15247 posts in 2549 days

#2 posted 07-28-2011 05:46 PM

25 ton… good choice! Clearly wouldn’t want the jack to fail before the bench!

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

View Bertha's profile


13510 posts in 2624 days

#3 posted 07-28-2011 06:21 PM

I think Crank wins! I do anything and everything on my bench. It’s so impregnated that I often ruin pieces that I drag across it. My new bench will subcscribe to Dan’s philosophy: wood only.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15247 posts in 2549 days

#4 posted 07-28-2011 06:29 PM

Hadn’t seen The Dan Philosophy, but I think I’m a subscriber; aka: I keep single-fold length of carboard that fits over the entire benchtop. It goes on whenever I change out the kid’s flat tires, or do glue-ups, or apply stains / finishes, etc. Non-wood, in other words.

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

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5740 posts in 3125 days

#5 posted 07-28-2011 06:41 PM

My main work bench is 42” wide x 101” long… It has a 3” MDF top that is dead-flat, and takes anything I throw at it…no matter what it is. I don’t try to abuse it, but I’m not going to baby it either. If things looks like I need some protection on it, I’ve got a 1/4” hard board I use to protect the top as much as possible, but not over-kill. I built it to be used, and that’s what I do….I didn’t build it to set in the shop and look pretty….. If necessary, I’ve got 5 other benches I can put to use for abuse…..

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View john's profile


2370 posts in 4313 days

#6 posted 07-28-2011 06:45 PM

I haven,t been able to find my work bences for months now ;-)

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 2972 days

#7 posted 07-28-2011 06:49 PM

amen – John !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3201 days

#8 posted 07-28-2011 06:57 PM

Luckily, I have room for two benches. One is specifically a woodworking bench…the other, with a big heavy industrial vise I use for general fixing and as a repository for tools prior to being put away. My goal is to have a place for every tool…and every tool in it’s place (nice dream eh?).

My WW bench though is specifically kept from being used for anything but WW….I do not want to tear up the dogs, vise or surface. My neighbor asked if he could use my grinder to sharpen his rototiller blades once. I said sure, as long as he cleaned up after himself….I came into the shop while he was there and darn near had a heart attack on the spot….He had the blade mounted into my WW vise….and was using my diamond sharpener on the edges of the blades…..Needless to say…I have never allowed that again..and the rototiller blades get sharpened by me on the other workbench when necessary.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View dbhost's profile


5687 posts in 3163 days

#9 posted 07-28-2011 06:58 PM

I have 2 benches. The woodworking bench, and the strong tie bench. The strong tie bench has holes in the top for attaching a machinists vise. I have in the past used it to hold a half shaft from the car while I drove apart the CV joint with a 5lb sledge..

I have burn marks on it from brazing. and more drill holes from the “I don’t care if I drill through the top of the bench” incidents.

FWIW, that bench top is made of 2 layers of 3/4” CDX plywood. It was built to be beat on. And it does a dandy job.

-- My workshop blog can be found at, YouTube Channel

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15247 posts in 2549 days

#10 posted 07-28-2011 07:25 PM

@reggiek – no doubt that’s heart attack material… (!)

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

View nate22's profile


475 posts in 2806 days

#11 posted 07-29-2011 07:25 PM

My bench I do everything on it. A few times I didn’t get the plywood off the edge once and I cut into the top of my workbench with the circular saw. So now when people come and they see it I say I didn’t on purpose to make it look like I do something when I am in my shop. But I do everything on it.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

View rance's profile


4257 posts in 3091 days

#12 posted 07-29-2011 07:56 PM

Same as Rick D. Use it, and use it up if necessary.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View helluvawreck's profile


30470 posts in 2798 days

#13 posted 07-29-2011 08:46 PM

Well, my bench is certainly not the bench of my dreams but for the present it’s the best bench that I have because I don’t have time to stop and build a nice one right now. I use it all the time for more things than I could probably think of. I don’t really abuse it but neither do I baby it either. I have the wood waiting for a new one already but I just can’t afford to stop what I’m doing to build a new one.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2586 days

#14 posted 08-01-2011 02:58 PM

I try not to bury a hatchet blade in my bench top, but beyond that I think I do just about everything else.

I need to build s second bench for metal work as the really tends to mess up my bench top.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2811 days

#15 posted 08-01-2011 05:23 PM

I used to do everything on my workbench but I went ahead and built a new one so that I have two main benches.

On my nice bench I do most of my woodworking. I am not worried if I put some marks in it or scratch it up. However my nicer bench is just for working wood. I don’t do any of my cleaning or metal work on it, I don’t glue up anything on it and no finishes are done on it.

All the dirty jobs are done on my old bench.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

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