Building a bench, need advice on covering

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by McQ1, Feb 24, 2020.

  1. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    721E5CBB-3967-4B8C-B7EE-39D1F84307CF.jpeg A messy workbench sucks tone.
    A poorly chosen rug will leave you cold.
    You need to buy the finest tonecarpet and clean it every day.
     
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  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    8AE4C01D-BAB4-4A35-A7DC-A5EA7610DC5B.jpeg 10E3E0C9-4103-43B3-922E-246C00A5CD2A.jpeg Parts storage is critical and remember to never let pickup magnets contact other pickup magnets.
     
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  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yes a dropped screw can destroy a finish in half a second.
    When removing screws form an instrument I always stick them to a handy magnet which is usually located in the middle of the guitar top.
    If the guitar is coming all apart I have an old HB magnet on the bench to stick screws to or if the removed pickups are going back in later then I stick the screws to that pickup.

    Oddly I find little dishes of parts on the bench tend to turn themselves upside down, no clue why.
     
  4. Peegoo

    Peegoo Tele-Afflicted

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    "Oddly I find little dishes of parts on the bench tend to turn themselves upside down, no clue why."

    You can buy little stainless steel parts bowls that are magnetized in the bottom. They hold small parts securely, and are available in a bunch of sizes. They's cheep!

    https://www.harborfreight.com/4-inch-magnetic-parts-tray-90566.html
     
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  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I've seen those at various retailers but can't bring myself to even pay $1 for a magnet glued to a dish when I have magnets all over and around the bench!
     
  6. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Meister

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    carpet
     
  7. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    When I built my workshop I was still in the work force ( long time ago now) and behind the hearing centre where I worked there is a Carpet/ Floor-covering shop who has a large skip bin for rubbish disposal which I used to go through and take home anything that was useful at the time. About the same time as I was building my w/shop benches they disposed of a large quantity of floor covering samples of vinyl and linoleum samples which were set up like large books. Apparently they had been superseded and the samples dumped. Each sheet of the samples were about 2' x 2' with a slightly curved top fitted into a large book thing. They were just the correct size for the bench top when I cut off the curves and they fit together very neatly and I am able to cut paper or cardboard shapes for making pin router templates. I use the universal hobby knives or if something of high accuracy is needed I use scalpels. Cutting into the vinyl covered MDF bench tops is not a problem as the vinyl is quite thick but firm enough to do all the other things required of a great bench top.

    Sadly my stash of dumpster bench top supplies is almost depleted. Must go for a drive and rat through the skip bin again.

    To the OP ............I don't think carpet would be solid and stable enough for a lot of things you would want to do on the bench top where vinyl is quite firm and resilient.

    DC
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  8. Peegoo

    Peegoo Tele-Afflicted

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    "I don't think carpet would be solid and stable enough for a lot of things you would want to do on the bench top"

    You can buy a small rug like a welcome mat and use that. Place it atop the bench when you need a padded surface. If you get a small rug with a hard rubber backing, you can flip the thing upside down when working on messy stuff because the hard rubber backing wipes clean. That's what I do when cleaning firearms.

    Yet another option is carpet tiles; these are available as large as 24" x 24" and have no edge tape because they don't need it to keep from unraveling. Carpet tile, especially the industrial stuff, is olefin fiber and extremely tough and long-wearing. Not that expensive at Lowe's, Homeless Despot, etc.
     
  9. Boubou

    Boubou Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    I use a router mat to protect and prevent from sliding off whatever I put on like guitars (same as rubber liner for drawers)
    Parchenin paper for protecting the bench when I glue, stain and varnish.
    The bench top itself is glued 2x4’s, since they were too soft I plunked a wooden IKEA counter on top. One day I will replace it with maple
    etabli3.jpg

    Router mat
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
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  10. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Exactly what I do.
     
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  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    OMG are there first world TDPRI members so poor they can't afford one bench for milling, a second bench for finish application, and a third bench for assembly and setups?

    Hahahahahahaha sorry I'm totally broke but I gotta shop that's dusty and a shop that's even more dusty with a dust collector but I never do finishing or setup in those shops!
    Even my garage where the table saw and dusc=t collector reside has a tarp wall between the saws area and the drill press area.
    The only sawdust making operations allowed in the drill press side are drilling wood which makes little dust, and that bench is used for as much metal work as wood so dust free is the goal.
    The bench for setups has no dust making ever, and the bench for finish application also never gets any milling operations though sometimes I rout pickguards there followed by deep regret.

    But seriously, if you guys are milling and routing on your finishing bench, set up a gofundme acct and I'll donate a dollar after my next paycheck! Hell if you don't have the space at home I'm sure there's a lonesome old codger in the 'hood who would love to have a younger friend come by to use a workbench in the corner of his garage now and then!

    I mean being on a low low budget none of my workbenches are as nice as some I see pics of here, but for my efforts I'll take three cheap scrap lumber benches over one really nice one from Sweden any day.

    I've used some very nice old world 4" thick cabinetmaker benches and they are great for certain things, but building guitars from lumber is IMO not a single bench endeavor.

    Realistically though, for those poor souls who can only afford a single workbench (or whose wives limit their workbench allowance), I agree that an interchangeable top cover system is the solution.
    I also seldom do anything on a bench top that removes stock from that work surface, instead throwing a scrap of plywood or whatever is handy on the bench if drilling or through routing etc. Can't stand bench top ruts and plenty of benches have those curses.
    Guys who cut into bench tops should have their man cards revoked.
    Same with bench top bumps like gobs of glue etc.
    Never never never!
    @Boubou I'm not familiar with parchenin paper?
    Wax paper, plastic sheeting, plastic bags etc are handy.
    I've used that red paper that comes on a roll and goes under hardwood flooring for glue drip mess catching, good heavens never let glue drip on a bench top! Even a dedicated gluing bench shouldn't be covered with glue!
     
  12. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    I used a towel over the fibre board top.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yep (more or less :rolleyes:)

    I have a woodshop in the garage, with milling / bandsaw on one end, 400 lb European style bench at the other end (plus the drill press). There's also a rolling router table, and a secondary bench just used for glue and rough work. And to put crap on, it seems...

    Thing is, it's meant as a general purpose wood shop, for furniture and stuff. While I do find it useful for guitars, if I didn't have it, I'd buy jointed body blanks (I do anyway), and all I'd need to make necks and bodies would be bandsaw, drill press, router table, and any old bench, on which to use the router handheld. Using a rubber mat to keep the work from sliding around (since 'any old' bench won't have much in the way of workholding).

    I spray in the driveway, and hang stuff in the barn to dry, dust-free.

    Then, inside the house is the light bench, knocked together from scraps, upon which I do guitar and amp tech work. Assembly, setup, fretwork, wiring, etc. Off to one side of that is my dedicated sharpening bench, with waterstones, surface plate, etc.

    The things I wish I had: full spray booth, with safety features; and a dedicated assembly table (for furniture). And another 400 sf of shop space, and proper dust collection. And...
     
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  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah this is realistic and I think useful info for anyone considering "a new workbench".

    If for example your entire workbench budget was the cost of that 400lb Euro bench which is a very nice bench to have, would you choose a single super nice bench? Or four cheaper benches for different operations?

    I've never routed any serious stock removal on a router mat, and there are ways to secure a body without dogs & built in end vice etc.
    I actually use my router just sitting upside down on the bench as a router table sometimes though, and as long as I hang on to it when switching it on so it doesn't lurch off the bench, it doesn't really need secure hold down.

    Some of the workbenches pictured are really clean room guitar setup and wiring stations.
    If those are the jobs then all you need is one bench.
    No way it makes sense for you to make necks, spray parts, and solder/ assemble/ setup on the same bench.
    Could be done though with the various removable tops as mentioned in this thread.

    Funny my solder/ setup bench and parts room is a no longer used B&W darkroom.
    In bygone years folks set up a darkroom in their bathroom...
     
  15. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Neither.

    First, whether it's a classic masterpiece of a bench, or a beam on horses, I recommend that everyone make their own work surfaces. This way you get what you want. And what better woodworking project for a woodworker?

    Second, there's a distinction to be made: workbench vs 'strong table'. A workbench, IMO, by definition, is oriented toward workholding. While this distinction may seem arbitrary, it's THE area where most 'cheap' so-called benches fail miserably.

    I don't think more than one proper workbench, however rudimentary, is necessary in any shop (unless there are multiple workers). The others (of your example 'four') can be 'strong tables', which can sometimes be as simple as a ledger bolted to the wall, and two legs, plywood top. Or a pair of horses, and an old door.

    A workbench worthy of the name needn't cost a lot, though it may challenge your thinking in terms of use. Consider the viseless Nicholson. If that's too much, then perhaps something like this idea from Josh Finn (FWW article, not sure it's freely available). It's just a couple of stiff, torsion box beams topped with MDF, set on a pair of sturdy horses. Again, no vises, and you can break it down and stand the beams against the wall in less than a minute.

    Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 01.40.07 PM.png


    One of my points here is that no matter how simple, how budget-minded, you will need one actual workbench, and not just a bunch of tables. If, that is, you're going to be making furniture (which is why I have the big bench in the first place).

    OK, fair enough. I don't use router mats, either. I have a nice workbench with gobs of workholding methods. :) But there are methods that enable one to handheld rout without a workbench. Carpet tape. Cleats screwed to your table top. Etc.

    The guy who just does setups and fretwork can use the dining room table.

    The partscaster builder / assembler needs a strong table, not a bench, and not even that strong. Just something so you're not working on the floor. A drill press, ideally, or hand drill if not. Partly depends how the body comes. String-thru holes really demand a press... And depending what is being purchased, there may be painting involved, and then you need clean, aerated space for dry time.

    If building from blanks, you need bandsaw and drill press, and router (table).

    If from rough lumber, now you need table saw, jointer, planer. Probably get by without a table saw.
     
  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Oh yeah I wasn't even thinking of buying a workbench in the several purpose built benches rather than a single really nice cabinetmakers bench with built in vices etc plan.

    But building our own versions of workbench, strong table, or in between those two, still costs a bunch of money and includes buying vices which need to be in the workbench budget. Lumber got expensive!
    Space is expensive too but i bring home good size scrap lumber to avoid buying new.
    My bicycle "workbench" has a permanent mount Park stand to hold bikes in various positions without marring the paint, plus a smallish steel vice, so it's more than a strong table.
    Other tools are separate from workbench budget but some of us might have $1000 for an entire workshop including all tools.

    That's where I'm coming from I guess in terms of what do we really need to spend on our "workbench" setup(s).
    Need vs enjoy is a debate point too.

    I've built fine cabinetry, furniture, boats and houses professionally.
    The portion of the 30-40 years I spent doing those jobs I could count the use of a traditional cabinet makers bench in months.
    There's literally nothing a cabinet makers bench does that I can't do with a fabbed up jig of on hand scrap lumber.

    I'm trying to think of any operation that I really need one for?
    The joy of making curls with a jointer plane is certainly enhanced!
    What I need next is one of the many router sled things that are getting hip lately.
    The methods for stock removal are changing and I less often reach for my antique hand tools that I still love.
    If I can wrangle my way to an air BnB retirement income I might be making more fun stuff in the shop.
    Now I've got 26 4' planters I'm building and making wood brackets for, and I end up cutting and drilling the plywood bottoms in the garage shop, making the pine sides and ends in the second floor shop, building them at a basement workbench (strong table) and finally painting them in a big work site guest room lined with plastic for winter.
     
  17. coreytree

    coreytree Tele-Meister

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    I use a yoga mat for padding, which is covered with a thick terry cloth towel I can easily change or shake out to clean off bits of wood or fret filings, etc.. As I understand and as others have mentioned, things like a neoprene mat can do damage to a finish, so the guitars never touch it with the towel there.
     
  18. Boubou

    Boubou Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    Wow, some people
    P.S: you people should learn to read.
    I use the router mat to protect the guitar when I put it on my bench and prevent it from sliding.
    I even use it on the kitchen table when I decide to change the strings where there is some daylight.
    I have 2 benches and use one 90% of the time. I do not need or want 4 benches, all operations can be done on one
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
  19. Ignatius

    Ignatius Tele-Afflicted

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    Yoga mat was the perfect solution for me. I had to cut it down slightly to fit the bench. When I'm done working on a guitar and I want to do something else "workbenchy" that doesn't require padding, I can roll up the yoga mat and store it on a shelf.
     
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  20. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I agree with this.

    And folks need to think about how they individually will be using the work surface including the woodworking techniques they use so that the surface can be designed to best serve the need. "Heavy hand tool users" have bench requirements that are different than folks who primarily work with electric tools and use their benches primarily for support and assembly. I'm in the middle of getting ready to replace the top of my main bench since it's become unusable for anything that must be "flat". It was a commercial lamination purchased nearly 20 years ago and is both coming apart, twisting and has a bow across the depth...i can no longer continue to flatten it. Over that period of time, I've learned a lot about what works best for me in a bench and the new top will reflect those lessons learned as well as the techniques I use "today" for work holding vs what was more common a long time ago. I already did a "test" of the theory with the small, dedicated guitar bench I built a while back which confirmed I'm on the right track.

    Building a work surface is nice for both customization as well as skill building, so yes...aside from circumstances where time truly forces purchasing a surface, building our own is absolutely what I'd recommend. That includes both modest designs as well as more involved ones, too. Make it your own.

    BTW, interchangeable surfaces are very much a valid approach, especially when someone is space constrained or wants to be able to easily refresh a work surface. I plan that for an auxiliary bench I have to accommodate both down-draft sanding as well as additional assembly space for small projects so I can keep my main bench available for client work.
     
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