Treat your workbench like it’s scrap

Workbenches. Left out of the information out there for hobbyists is this: the workbench should be disposable. Not because it will be disposed of often. I haven’t had to replace mine yet; but the more I work, the more I have learned to treat mine like it’s scrap wood.

Just showing up here, out of the blue after a long absence, with some brief advice.

Often the best way to hold a piece where I want it on the benchtop is to screw some piece of scrap to the bench, to hold it down. No mussing about with doe’s foot, or re-smacking the holdfast down tight again. I use my holdfasts all the time. They’re wonderful. If I’m puzzled about how to secure something where it’s easiest to work on, I don’t waste time puzzling out hole placement or hunting the right width of board. I grab a 2 inch crew and my impact driver. Problem solved.

If I’m chopping a mortise, the last thing I want is another sacrifice board underneath my piece. That extra board subtracts from the force I’m applying with the chisel. I wouldn’t worry if it did, but despite this abuse, my workbench doesn’t have a lot of chop marks in it. There aren’t many times that I’m not chopping from both sides of a board to avoid mistakes.

I think one of the more important considerations woodworkers should consider when deciding on a bench design, is how willing they will be to treat it harshly.

The workbench is a tool. Make a tool, not a piece of furniture.

I’ve been thinking about revisiting some of the topics in my earlier posts to give my perspective today. For example, there are a lot of what were called “essential” tools that I’ve never had a use for. We’ll see what happens. Life keeps me busy, and deciding to use my time sharing my musings, which are no more value than what else is already out there, often doesn’t feel necessary.

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2 Responses to Treat your workbench like it’s scrap

  1. wb8nbs says:

    I sunk several 1/4-20 brass threaded inserts in my bench just so I could do what you’re doing.

    Liked by 1 person

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