I’ve built several laminated wood tops for my workshop over the years, and every time I complete one I think the same thing: I’m never doing that again. They’re not difficult to build, just tedious. The cycles of milling, gluing, and flattening seem to drag on and on and I’m always glad when I finish. A solid wood top makes a phenomenal work surface, though, so I keep making them.
I wrapped up the construction of the wood top for my sharpening bench recently, and it turned out surprisingly well considering it’s made from random 2x4 and 2x6 scraps. The finished top is 27” wide, 25” long, and 2.25” thick. It will be mounted onto the right-hand side of my base cabinet.
After completing the final glue-up, I cut the top to size on the table saw and flattened both sides with my jointer plane. I smoothed the top side with my #4. I didn’t bother smoothing the bottom side since no one will ever see it anyway. I used a router to chamfer all of the edges. My original plan was to leave the wood unfinished, but I’m wavering a bit. This top is going to take a beating, so I might apply a couple of coats of Tried and True Original Wood Finish, which is a mixture of polymerized linseed oil and beeswax. I think it strikes a perfect balance between protection and repairability for a work surface; I used the same finish on my workbench and it’s held up well.
The final step on this project is the tool tray that will mount in the five inch gap between the laminate top on the left and the wood top on the right. My next post in this series will focus on it’s construction.