Introduction: Table Top Jewelers Bench From Folding Wooden Snack Table
A few weeks ago, I decided to make myself a tabletop jeweler’s bench. I don’t have a proper jewelry bench and needed one that fit into a crowded work space. I had a few more requirements: I wanted to set up the bench directly across from my soldering station. I wanted the bench to hold my bench pin at the right height for comfortable sawing. I also wanted to have a bit of storage underneath the bench. Most importantly, I needed a portable bench so I could move it out of the way if I needed to use the work station for something else.
My last requirement was that I wanted to make the bench using tools and materials I already had on hand. I possessed an old hand-held power jigsaw, a couple of miter box saws, (inherited from my father-in-law), a drill, and a cordless screwdriver. My materials consisted of a wood snack tray (which seemed to be the perfect size for the top of the bench,) some boards and wood scraps picked up from dumpster diving, and an assortment of screws collected over the years. I didn’t want to buy anything else if I could help it. And every time I was ready to break down and buy something, I discovered that I already owned something that would do the trick. I didn’t have to buy a thing!
Step 1: Materials
1. For the bench top, I used a folding wood snack table that my neighbors left when they moved. The top is a thick, sturdy piece of wood you can bang on when you make your jewelry. The legs of the folding tray, also made of the same sturdy wood, can be sawed up to make the other components of the bench.
2. For the sides of the bench, I used a discarded Ekby Hemnes bookshelf from Ikea which is : 31 1/8 “ wide and
7 1/2 “ deep. Any board with similar dimensions will work.
3. You will need a board for the pull out shelf, I used an mdf board from another discarded piece of Ikea furniture. My board was about 24” wide and I cut it to 20” to fit inside the bench.
4. A wood slat 2” X 21” and ¼” thick for pliers rack. (I used a wood paint stirrer I already had.
5. Wood screws in various sizes. I used 2 ½” and 1 ½”
6. Feet to raise the bench if desired. I was going to fashion something out of screw-in cabinet knobs before I discovered that I had a set of screw-in furniture levelers I saved from an old metal shelf. They are less expensive than buying legs or knobs. You can get a set similar to what I used, on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Furniture-Adjustable-Levelers-Leveling-Super-Deals-Shop/dp/B07L2FTGWD/ref=sr_1_23?dchild=1&k9keywords=adjustable%2Bfurniture%2Bglides&qid=1589660737&sr=8-23&th=1
Step 2: Tools Needed
1. A portable electric jig saw is handy for cutting out the top. You can get by without one since there are only straight cuts, but it is easier with the power tool. You can also use it for all your cutting. I used hand saws the rest of the bench because I felt I had more control over them.
2. C Clamps to hold the wood as you saw.
3. Straight saw or hack saw
4. Drill and various sized drill bits to assemble the bench and attach the feet
5. Cordless screwdriver
6. Ruler, retractable tape measure, pencil and permanent marker to measure and mark. I am horrible at measuring. Take your time with this. As a matter of fact, take your time with all of it.
7. Mallet and nail pry bar (to help disassemble the wooden tray)
8. Beeswax or soap to lubricate your saws and drill bits. You will not believe how much easier this will make the job
9. Safety glasses and dust mask. (Unless you like breathing in sawdust and getting it in your eyes.)
Step 3: Making the Bench
1. Disassemble the snack table and remove all hardware.
2. Use measure opening and use jigsaw to cut it out. This will be the top of your bench.
3. I sawed my bookshelf board in half, and attached it to the bench top with screws. I positioned them so there would be a lip to keep things from falling off the top of the bench. Then I sawed two lengths of wood from the snack tray table legs and screwed them to the back of the bench to form the pliers rack.
4. cut two more lengths from the table legs and screw them to the inside of the bench to accommodate the shelf. I cut the shelf to fit and added a lip at the back to prevent things from falling out. The pliers rack on the rear of the bench keeps the shelf from falling out the back.
5. I added a strip of wood from the snack tray leg to the back of the bench top to make a lip to keep things from falling off the back of the bench. Then I cut the paint stirrer and screwed it to the back for the pliers rack.
Step 4: Last Step
Last, I drilled pilot holes into the side boards and screwed in some adjustable feet which let me level the bench and adjust the height.
Step 5: The Finished Bench
And here is the finished bench! It’s sturdy and can take a lot of hammering. I decided to clamp my bench pin onto it rather than trying to fashion a slot. Remember, I am no wood worker. If you want some rudimentary diagrams and measurements, go to https://ornamento.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/tabletop-jewelry-bench.pdf
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