The trouble with a two dollar work bench is some times you get what you pay for! Now I know I really didn’t waste the two dollar I spent on the work bench top I bough from the auction, because of the wooden screw vice that was with it, but as far as the top goes it will never be the work bench of my dreams either.
First of all it looked like some one had a nail driving contest in the top, I have invest several hours in to the removal of ever kind of nail from tacks to ten penny commons and didn’t seem to put a dent in them.
Second the top is a little on the short side coming in at 53 “ after I cut off the jog from the tail vice that was missing when I got the top.
All this didn’t dissuade from resurrecting the top into a usable workbench, it will just be one I use for power tools more that hand tools. The condition of the top did give me some problems but I decide to flip it over and use the underside as the work surface. This surface was quite uneven from when they originally glued up the top, they planed the top side, but left the bottom willy-nilly, with some joints being as much as a ¼ inch difference in height. This would have been a lot to hand plane and I don’t own a scrub plane so I needed to come up with a way to dress it down this using my Delta 13” lunchbox planer. The top is 18 “wide so the first thing I did was to cut it in one of the glue joint giving me two sections that would fit though the planer. Then I made a sled for it because the top wasn’t in the best shape from all the nails and so I could shim it if I needed it to take out any twist, surprisingly the top was flat. I took several shallow cuts with the planer because the maple was very hard and after I had a uniform surface I glued the sections together again. I left the extra length from the tail vice on it because my plane tends to snipe a bit. I will cut them off after I square up the ends, and I plan making some breadboard ends that I will be attach using a free floating ½ spine and a couple of lag bolts. I will also build a tool tray and install a nice vice I got at the same auction for $5 dollars. The base will be made from some yellow pine I got at Home Depot in their cull bin I pick up 11, 2 x 8 x 4’ for $1 a pieces so when its all said and done this bench should cost me about $25 dollars. Now maybe this bench isn’t my dream workbench, but it’s already starting to feel like an old friend and while everyone and their brother has try to give be some other purpose for this old top I think it’s a lot like me and still has a few more years of working with wood left in its bones before it becomes a chopping block.