I purchased my bench used two years ago for a steal, but never really tested it carefully for flatness. My new 24″ rule quickly revealed that the top had a slight dip in the middle…right in front of where I normally work. I suppose I knew this, but ignored it for the longest time. I do not know what overcame me yesterday, but I broke out my No.7 and started to level the Beech top.
The planing went smoothly, but planing at different angles often proved awkward. Only required two iron sharpening sessions and probably a dozen or so passes. Now my bench looks deceptively clean, and my slightly sagging tail vise chop is flush again. I now have to chamfer the edges and figure out if and what to refinish the top with.
Here are some progress pics.
The dip is revealed.
One more pass left.
Flat as new.
-Scott Los Angeles
Hey Scott, nice job! I did that to my bench a few years ago (2008) and really enjoyed the flatness until recently. The Veritas twin screw vise on the end since 2009 has caused a slight ( 1/32″ ) sag over the 18″ of that end. That’ll take a lot of elbow grease to remove that much to bring it back to dead flat …. easy to procrastinate and use the other 70% of the bench.
Scott, that looks really nice! I’m just putting the finishing touches on a wagon vice before I attach my top and have the same chore ahead of me. Who am I kidding?!?! I’ve been looking forward to it!
@don2laughs, I’m being told I don’t have access to the Google+ album you posted.
You can expect to see a new thread asking for suggestions for bench flattening project soon.
Nathan Wertman (Grand Junction, CO, USA, 81507)
“But ‘it will do’ is a very bad maxim, especially for a person learning a business; the right principle is to ask oneself, ‘is it as good as it can be made?’ or, at least, ‘is it as good as I can make it?’” - The Joiner and Cabinet Maker
I’ve been reading up on finishes for bench tops. Seems like everything from nothing to BLO, Danish Oil, or a mixture of Beeswax/Paraffin+Turpentine+BLO was recommended. Right now my top has a nice grippy feel, and I wouldn’t want to make it slick. I do not really care to much about stains, but having a finish that allows glue drips to be removed easily sounds appealing. Time for me to pick one and move on.
Don- I cannot see the images either (I am not a google member), but the 70% of your bench top sounds like an ample amount of working space. The dip in my top was probably between 1/64th and 1/32nd. Took me about an hour total – would have been much less if I was more aggressive with the depth on my passes – I was trying to avoid tearout/spelching. The company that made the bench did a good job lining up the grain direction of the boards, unlike my sharpening bench where I forgot that important detail. 😉
-Scott Los Angeles
Sorry folks! I should have used Photobucket …. Try this:
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