Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Instant Bench Top Extension

Dan's Shop Rule #7: No matter how large your workbench is, it will always need to be just a little larger.

So the other day I'm working on the Rolltop desk; it was sitting up on the bench, and I needed to take the top off and work on that as well - ah, rule #7. What to do? The desk was heavy, awkward and, especially at that stage of repair, weak. I really couldn't take it down.

As I was turning this problem over in my mind, I started to focus on the plywood bench cover I was using under the desk to protect from glue drips etc. Then I remembered Rule #9.

Dan's Shop Rule #9: All tools have at least three uses.

Well, I'd originally built the plywood and 2x4 cover for protecting the bench from the mess of cleaning rusty tools - sort of a more permanent version of cardboard. It slips over the bench top and into the vise. Hmm. What would happen if I slid it partially off the end and tightened the vise? Whoa! Cool! Instant larger bench! Take that Rule #7!

The pictures below illustrate this simple, yet slow to be discovered, second use:

There is of course a limit to how much weight can be placed on the extension before it starts to sag. With the desk on top, I added a clamp opposite the vise to help hold everything tight.

So, now I've started to wonder about the third use of the plywood cover...


  1. It wouldn't be that hard to create a simple free standing support to go under that extension. Which would also be useful for supporting long boards on your bench top without the extension.

  2. Have you thought of publishing your Rules #1 to the end? I know #7 & #9 now. I would like to know the rest.

    1. Well, I have thought about it, but then there is Rule #10: All rule numbers are arbitrary and subject to change.

      This tends to confuse things a bit...

  3. I'm thinking it could have some interesting uses when configured vertically...I just don't know what.

    1. Or maybe in a semi-reclining position for a more comfortable night's sleep...The Craftmatic Automatic Adjustable Bench!


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