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Thread: School workbench tops, anyone modify them?

  1. #1
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    School workbench tops, anyone modify them?

    A few years back, when a school closed down, a couple of friends bought several items, including the benchtops from the woodworking shop. (think the locker bases were scrapped) I was given one of these and have been wondering about putting dog holes into it or if I should build another bench at the same time. Anyone use something similar, which has been finished and has cutting holes into it caused any problems? (not sure what the finish is, but don't want to cause it to change because of moisture issues)

  2. #2
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    What kind of tops are they and how thick are they? 2" butcher block comes to mind and if that's the case I wouldn't hesitate to drill dog holes. First I would add some thickness to the bottom where the holes will go, maybe in the form of an 8/4 piece of whatever the top is made of. I'd make a hole drilling jig referenced off the edge and with enough height to ensure a perpendicular hole and have at it. Seal the holes with the finish of your choice to preclude moisture issues.

  3. #3
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    When I was in school about 50 years ago we had very high quality maple benches, Not sure what they have now, how a couple pictures so we can see what you have.
    Jesus was a Woodworker

  4. #4
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    Yes, probably maple. I'm surpries no one has dog holed it by now.
    It's kind of fun to do the impossible

  5. #5
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    I am sure they are maple. It has just been a long time (life got in the way), and I remembered there were a couple of different finishes. The top I have is 24"x60"x2 1/4" thick and fortunately not what I remembered it being covered in (some seemed to have an epoxy coating). I think it is just tung oil, so my drilling into it fear is lessened.
    Need to pull back out my workbench book and for now, I will probably put it on some metal legs I found at a garage/estate sale for a couple bucks. Help me decide what height I like it at before going to the work of making legs and incorporating a leg vice I picked up parts from Ebay for.

  6. #6
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    I had my students measure from their elbow to the floor (need someone else to measure!). Subtract 4" and go from there. Depends on what you are doing. Lots of hand work is different than machine work. Also depends on your back. My bench is high for someone my height but I can't tolerate leaning even a little bit. Lower back pain sets in and lands me in the chiropractor's office for weeks on end!

    Do some experimenting. Jack it up or down with temporary supports until your back feels good. My measuring activity is scraping with a card scraper. If I can do that either push or pull without my back complaining, I have a good height for me.
    Last edited by Carol Reed; 11-20-2014 at 05:10 AM. Reason: Spelling! Sheesh!
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Reed View Post
    Do some experimenting. Jack it up or down with temporary supports until your back feels good. My measuring activity is scraping with a car scraper. If I can do that either push or pull without my back complaining, I have a good height for me.
    Your back must be fine if your out scrapping cars (automobiles), or the way I first read that.
    The legs are adjustable and so far, my back only gives me intermittant issues (tore something years back in my shoulder), but that is exactly why I want to use the metal legs (figure out what works best).
    Two other options I am considering is one of the many bench designs that use scissor jacks to lift them, or going to one of a couple local surplus places, and watching for a commercial bench lift.
    Been using benches that were my grandfathers, where the tops were make from funeral coffin shipping boxes, years ago.

  8. #8
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    Guess I just proved I am not the best proof reader!
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

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