A level workbench

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Forum topic by LucasWoods posted 10-07-2014 01:00 AM 3100 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View LucasWoods's profile


420 posts in 1330 days

10-07-2014 01:00 AM

So I am sure it is extremely important to have a level workbench especially when doing fine work. My question is how do you all make a level workbench?

I have a cement floor garage where I will have my workbench when I finally build one, now if the cement floor isn’t level how would you go about making sure your bench is level when placed and stay level through all the moving and planing and finishing?

-- Colorado Springs, CO - USAF

21 replies so far

View richardwootton's profile


1699 posts in 1952 days

#1 posted 10-07-2014 01:43 AM

I think flat is more important than level, but I’ll let the experts chime in on this one.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View Pezking7p's profile


3217 posts in 1648 days

#2 posted 10-07-2014 01:59 AM

Level? I’ve never checked. Flat, yes. I rely on my hand planes to make mine flat, and verify with a straight edge. My floor isn’t flat or level, either. When I placed my bench I had to shim one leg. I had forgotten I did so until just now so it obviously is not affecting bench performance.

-- -Dan

View swirt's profile


2736 posts in 2969 days

#3 posted 10-07-2014 02:15 AM

Agreed. Level is not that important. My garage shop floor slopes. More important the the top is flat and more important than that is wobble free.

-- Galootish log blog,

View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 1417 days

#4 posted 10-07-2014 02:15 AM

what’s level? My shop is a retired beauty shop. The owner set a 30’ x 20’ trailer on a foundation, and it was somewhat leveled then. Since that time, it has had several careless renters in it as beauticians, and a water cooler in the roof, frozen water lines, on & on. There is not a level place in the floor in my shop!! My RAS bench has two legs shimmed, my drill press is shimmed, I believe nearly ever tool I have is shimmed, I even have to shim one leg of my scroll saw! I use a sled and a router to flatten my bench. Flat is better than level most of the time.

-- Sawdust703

View LucasWoods's profile


420 posts in 1330 days

#5 posted 10-07-2014 02:15 AM

Ok awesome thank you for the info and shimming like you said hasn’t affected stability?

-- Colorado Springs, CO - USAF

View realcowtown_eric's profile


608 posts in 1934 days

#6 posted 10-07-2014 03:08 AM

Workbench not so important (at least to me) to be level. Assembly table absolutely


-- Real_cowtown_eric

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


8190 posts in 2574 days

#7 posted 10-07-2014 03:13 AM

View Woodknack's profile


11619 posts in 2377 days

#8 posted 10-07-2014 04:37 AM

Flat is more important, level is a luxury. But I usually try to get work surfaces reasonably level.

-- Rick M,

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2366 days

#9 posted 10-08-2014 12:12 PM

Like others mentioned, I’d take flat over level. I work in a 2 car garage, which is substantially less than 2 cars after all the junk we have stored in there. I built a set of cabinets with 3/4” oak ply from HD, all pocket-screwed together, so it went together fast. I layered up some MDF for a top, with a piece of hardboard on top of the MDF. It is flat. The cabinets have leveling feet from Rockler. I would love a traditional workbench but the time and money is not there. This suits my needs and provides storage as well. Woodsmith has free plans for a good workbench of similar construction.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3168 posts in 3228 days

#10 posted 10-08-2014 01:51 PM

Here is how I did it. Works great. My floor is very uneven.
Good luck.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View bondogaposis's profile


4727 posts in 2348 days

#11 posted 10-08-2014 02:14 PM

Level is not near as important as flat.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View REO's profile


928 posts in 2071 days

#12 posted 10-09-2014 01:48 AM

If its level and you tip over a pop it will cover the whole top of the bench. If it is not level then it will flow only one direction. If it is not flat the pop will puddle in the low spots. If it is flat then the spill will not be able to maintain any kind of depth. So in conclusion: flat is most important! level can be a secondary consideration.

View realcowtown_eric's profile


608 posts in 1934 days

#13 posted 10-11-2014 06:01 AM

Rick said…..”Flat is more important, level is a luxury”

Not so when you get down to brass tacks…

The two indeed go hand in hand.

Today I had two antique tables in the shop for repair, one tripod, one quadripod,

and not only did I need a flat surface to prove them out from top to bottom, but it had to be level as well, so I could rotate them and ensure that the top was level in relation to the bottom. To boot, the columns need to be plumb too! (not necessarily easy with antiques) .

Flat to be sure. a number of this type of tables to be repaired are being sent to me because they are NOT level, and I’m having to break apart some other repairers joints and some original joints just to make them LEVEL

Bottom line, if yer gonna make yer assembly table flat, make it level too…At some time you will realize the benefit of it.I cannot promise when that day wiil come, but I will promise it will.


-- Real_cowtown_eric

View REO's profile


928 posts in 2071 days

#14 posted 10-11-2014 05:32 PM

I was being a little sarcastic the last post and probly wax a little sarcastic here too. what is the deal with level? How many use a level to check their dining room table? Just a hypothetical situation here: lets say the required height for the top of an item is 30” its a big surface and I place the peice of furniture on one side of the room. I throw the trusty level on it and its off! I carefully mark the legs on the high side do the calculations and flip the table over. Whipping out the sander I take off the required amount to get the table level. Back on its feet the level now reads perfectly! the customer comes in and looks it over and pays you for the job. the next day he calls and says that the table isn’t level! You beat it back over there greet the customer and tell them that you have to get your level out of the truck. they tell you they have it covered and you follow them in. the customer pulls out a tape measure and measures from the floor to the top edge. 30 1/4” WOW how did that get missed in assembly well at least you have to take off instead of putting it on. the customer goes to the other end and measures 29 3/4” Horror of horrors, the customer is right! Now you say you will be right back and run out to get the level. you put it on the table and it is way off! checking the legs you find that the one you marked is at the other end of the table from where it was he day before. You ask the customer to give you a hand as you turn the table back, then check with the level again smack on the money! “see its fine” you say. the customer walks to the end of the table and measures 30 1/4” and at the other end it measures 29 3/4”. Dont blame the floor for being out of level! you were the one shooting for level instead of FLAT.The customer would have been satisfied with flat more than level lol. So you spend days making your work table level maybe even call someone in to level it professionally and certify its “levelness” lol then next week you decide to move the bench to a different part of the floor and go through it all again? Put a couple adjustable feet on it and when you move it check it from corner to corner with a Straight edge to make sure its FLAT and get back to having fun building things! Don’t fuss over things that don’t matter.

View realcowtown_eric's profile


608 posts in 1934 days

#15 posted 10-12-2014 03:58 AM

Hey for me, it’s all about avoiding “call backs”

Most of the level and plumb issues arise out of antique repairs….done through a middleman.

Not so bad dealing directly with client, as I’m there and see that it is installed plumb square and level. I got the lasers and all that other stuff to ensure that and as I;m there I can correct any deviations. Piece of cake.

Like yu I can explain it to the client. and deal with it directly.

Not so dealing through a middleman, you got no idea if the piece is gonna sit on a floor that slopes, how OCD the client is, so you do yer repairs, deliver piece to middleman. he delivers it to client, client says it’s not level, piece comes back, middleman is PO’d, you pick it up and take it back to shop, try and assess problem …and guess what….you now gotta have a level surface….Now why in the hell didn’t you have that in the first place , ie practicing risk management, cause u are gonna need it now eh?

Maybe you blundered, maybe you didn;t, but the whole fuss costs you money and time to resolve, and possibly time to rework, and not only disrupt and disappoints s the final client, but puts a poor light on your ability with your middleman, and affects your relationship with him. Not a nice situation.Even if my work is correct and proper, as I try to make i to the best of my abillity, avoiding conflict in business relationships is just cost effective

OTOH, a level surface, at least for me, allows me to do my repairs, and prove them out with squares/laser and bubble stick levels, so that when that Tripod table that has been repaired two or three times over leaves my shop with the levelest surface that can be provided. Any phone calls about it being out of level can be addressed telephonically.

in most cases this results in no pick ups, no reworks, no deliveries…ie not additonal fussing, and no lost time and money over what may be a tempest in a tea-pot..

And that, my friend, is why I need a level surface. It just naturally goes along with my proven square squares, the accurate scales and rules, straightedges, proven levels (laser and optical, bubblesticks etc)

And ltoo have a severely sloped garage floor.

Hope that explains my need for a level surface.

maybe I’m just one of those OCD fellas that folks laugh at, but my clients don’t think so…they keep calling me for new projects!


-- Real_cowtown_eric

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