Do you have a traditional hardwood workbench?

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Forum topic by parkerdude posted 05-25-2012 04:03 PM 2039 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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182 posts in 3651 days

05-25-2012 04:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workshop question finishing glue-up

I’m curious, do any of you use your hardwood traditional woodworking bench for glue ups and finishing, without protecting the surface?

I’ve seen a woodworking show that does this fairly often. How would you keep the bench-top clean and true?

I don’t understand it.


-- dust control

19 replies so far

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2836 days

#1 posted 05-25-2012 05:02 PM

I only will if I am certain there won’t be squeeze out. Otherwise just use an assembly table with a melamine top.

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4082 days

#2 posted 05-25-2012 06:01 PM

My bench is Douglas fir, but traditional looking. I do not have an assembly table, so I use it for glue-ups and finishing. Cutting boards can be extremely messy to make. I use either wax paper or a cheap shower curtain liner to protect it. So I am not really answering your question.

But judging by some of the comments I have on my bench, I should have more dings and glue drops to prove that I use it. Ya just can’t win :)


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5124 posts in 4160 days

#3 posted 05-25-2012 06:49 PM

My bowling alley bench get a lot of use for planing and vice use. Other stuff goes to the assy. table.


View Mike DeCarlo's profile

Mike DeCarlo

40 posts in 2958 days

#4 posted 05-25-2012 07:28 PM

I made my bench from an old picnic table, its got an end vise, a wagon screw vise, and a side vise. It even has drawers between the legs to stow all of the ‘everyday’ tools.


View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3848 days

#5 posted 05-25-2012 07:30 PM

I do, but use a sheet of masonite to protect the surface when doing glue ups and finishing.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TechRedneck's profile


769 posts in 3057 days

#6 posted 05-25-2012 07:51 PM

I combined a traditional workbench with an assembly table.

For the wood bench I keep a coat of BLO on it. The assembly table gets a coat of paste wax every so often. Then let the glue drip where it may. The drips pop right off and get swept up with the shavings.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3183 days

#7 posted 05-25-2012 11:15 PM

At this time I don’t have a traditional hardwood bench or know that I want one. My current bench has a masonite top on that can be replaced if need. I did this cause my bench serves many purposes in the shop. I have done glue ups without any protection other than wiping up glue with a damp rag, if I should miss a glue drop it generally comes off quite easy with a scraper or chisel.

If I had a traditional hardwood bench that I were going to use as an assembly table I think I would want to keep a piece of masonite to put on top of the bench.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2401 days

#8 posted 05-25-2012 11:27 PM

I used to, then I came across a couple of the cabinets they use for plan storage, made one of them into a rolling assembly table with a 2 inch hard maple top. I wished I done it sooner, if you want to see it I will post a few pics of it. The top is like 30×40 which is better suited for glue ups and assembly. I keep my other bench for everything else but glue ups.

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3952 days

#9 posted 05-25-2012 11:47 PM

My woodworking bench was built on a job site by my helpers during a 1 hour lunch break. They did a pretty sweet job considering that it was from scraps. I have no plans to replace it any time soon.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3847 days

#10 posted 05-25-2012 11:48 PM


Glue can be popped off an oiled hardwood bench with a chisel
but if doing a messy glue up or something large I set
up an assembly table.

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2505 days

#11 posted 05-26-2012 01:55 AM

I cant use a nice hardwood bench, I would be too concerned about screwing it up. Some of the beutiful workbenches I see on here, I would sooner put in my living room or dining room before I did any work on it.

My workbench is Pine and when I destry the top I just replace it, plus since the pine is soft theer is a better change of that taking the beating then the hardwood I am working with.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3151 days

#12 posted 05-26-2012 01:59 AM

For heavy glue ups I have a roll of leftover tar paper that I use to cover the bench. I’m not too concerned about glue spots here or there, but It’d be a lot of clean up work there’s a lot of squeeze-out.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View woodworker59's profile


560 posts in 2401 days

#13 posted 05-26-2012 02:00 AM

My shop is small so I don’t have room for a bench and an assembly table so yes I use my bench. My top is made of two sheets of 3/4” OSB sandwiched between two sheets of 1” MDF so its pretty easy to keep clean.. if I do drop glue on it, it wipes right off. I would agree, if I had one of those fancy hardwood benches I may be more concerned and careful..

-- Papa...

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3301 days

#14 posted 05-26-2012 06:00 AM

A lot of the fancy hardwood bench’s you see on this site look more like they belong in the living room. I guess you need to only use hand tools on them. My two work benches look used and abused from glue, paint, stain and things I can remember. I use an orbital sander on them periodically but …...................

-- mike...............

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15694 posts in 2818 days

#15 posted 05-26-2012 06:04 AM

^ What Loren said, not tough to pop it off. (I do glue ups on my bench)

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

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