Chris Schwarz's Blog

Flatten a Workbench’s Top in 5 Minutes

Woodworkers are always looking for a better way to flatten the top of their workbench after they finish building it, or when the top has gone out of truth for some reason.

I like using a handplane to flatten benchtops, which takes about 45 minutes on average. Other people build a special router jig that attaches temporarily to the bench.

During the workbench-building class last week at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking, I joked with student Andre Strzembosz that it was a shame we couldn’t just run the assembled bench (all 350 pounds of it) over a jointer and be done with it.

Then Andre got a funny look in his eyes.

Andre has a friend with a Martin jointer that is about 20” wide, which is perfect for these benches, which came out at just under 20” wide.

Here’s what happened when Andre returned home with his bench in his truck.

“I backed my truck to the door of the shop, slid the bench onto a hydraulic lift cart and then moved the bench on to my friend’s jointer,” Andre wrote in an e-mail. “We made two passes, at 2 mm each, and the top is as flat as I could wish it. We pushed the bench back to the door, and slid it down into the bed of my truck, and headed back home.”

He sent these photos. All I can say is: dang.

— Christopher Schwarz

Read the other stories in this series:
French Workbench – Monday
• French Workbench – Tuesday
• French Workbench – Wednesday
• French Workbench – Thursday
• French Workbench – Friday
• French Workbench – Saturday

P.S. Oh, and if you like this workbench, the complete plans for it are in my latest book, The “Workbench Design Book,” which is available for $34.99 in our store with free domestic shipping.

And here’s a link to a PDF, “Flatten a Workbench’s Top,” click here.

25 thoughts on “Flatten a Workbench’s Top in 5 Minutes

  1. gauchowoodworking

    I am a machine snob and that shop with all Martin machines makes me very jealous … I wish that one day I will be able to do it.

  2. mtnjak

    Sweet! For just 20 grand I can flatten my new bench top. Just as soon as the Bentley’s out of the shop, I’ll pick up a Martin! LOL Cool idea though.

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