Jeweler's Bench 2: The Top - Details

OK, I lied. This installment isn’t about the building of the bench legs. I had a few more details to add to the bench top and didn’t think they would make for their own entry but now I think they can stand on their own, so here we go.

The bench my wife picked out has a small steel plate attached to the top of the bench for hammering on and whatnot. I had already purchased her a 4”x4” steel block for this purpose so I decided to simply make a matching recess in the top to hold this block.

Router guide

Since I had already attached the sides and the back to the bench top I had to get a little creative with setting up some guides for my router to follow. I ended up finding a few scrap pieces that fit the space well and just stacked them up high enough so that the sides of the bench would not interfere with my clamps. After routing out the recess I just had to chisel out the corners to square them up. Surprisingly I got the fit just right on the first try. (Good thing I was erring on making the recess too small.)

Finishing up the recess.

A nice fit.

I intentionally made the recess about half as deep as the steel block is thick. One, because this allows you to pull the block out easily if you need to and two, because I needed to leave some material between the bottom of the recess and the top of the next addition.

The next addition is another recess for what is called a bench pin. I don’t really know how to describe what a bench pin is but if you’re interested just Google for it and you’ll get the idea. Anyway, I needed to create this recess in the center of the face of the bench top and I wanted to make it 2” deep. For this I turned to my new corded drill, a 3/4” forstner bit, and my handy drill guide. (I wish I had both the drill guide and the corded drill when I was drilling the bench dogs in my workbench. Some lessons you just learn the hard way.)

Bench pin recess.

After drilling out the majority of the recess I had to smooth out the inside. I’m not very good with a chisel but I figured since no one is ever going to really see this space it would be a good place to practice. I did an OK job with the chisel but decided to go one step further and used a small sanding attachment on my wife’s Dremel to get things a bit smoother. I think these were the best tools for this job (that I own) but if anyone has a better suggestion let me know and I’ll file it away for the future. :-)

Once the recess for the bench pin was done I just needed to add a small threaded insert from the underside of the bench top that would accept a threaded rod with a wing nut so the bench pin can be held in place.

Bench pin holder

Bench pin holder

Now I think I can move on to those leg assemblies but I’m not making any promises this time. ;-)

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