Woodworking Tip - Workbench Protection
Simple Trick to Protect Your Work and Bench
For today's blog post, a simple trick that I started using many years ago...a rug/carpet anti-slip mat on your workbench. I actually started doing this because I was doing a project where I needed to use a router on some pieces. They sell "special" router mats for this, but then I thought about these anti-slip rug mats, which are basically the same thing, but a lot cheaper. I bought one that practically covers my entire bench and it pretty much stays on my bench all the time. Here are a few of the benefits.
First, the mat serves as an anti-slip surface that is great for routing parts, as was my original intent, but it is also great for when you are sanding parts. It keeps the parts from sliding around, but it also provides a protective surface that prevents your parts getting scratched or dented. Which leads to the second major benefit.
Second, these mats provide protection, not only for your project parts, but also for your bench top. Now, I'm not one to baby my workbench, but if I can protect it and extend its life, that is a plus. The bigger benefit here is protecting the project parts. Have you ever carefully brushed off your bench, set a part on the bench only to later discover that your piece was scratched or dented because of something that was on the bench, such as sawdust or a wood chip? These mats are great because they are perforated so all the sawdust and debris goes through the holes and doesn't settle on the mat. Further, the mat is padding for the parts so they are less prone to being scratched and dented.
Look at the photo below; this is all of the debris that was settled below my mat and on my bench. But I don't have to really worry about it because the mat provides that protective layer for my parts. It may not seem like much, but it really is piece of mind when you're in that home stretch of a project. The mat is also a tool of sorts as it is anti-slip so it is great for serving as a routing and sanding mat to keep your parts still.
So, there you have it. A simple, inexpensive, trick that provides protection to your project parts, your bench, but also serves a purpose when routing and sanding parts. Just go to a home store and look for a rug anti-slip rug mat and put one on your bench!