I am wanting to build a workbench, but am unsure how to handle the
slope/unevenness in my garage. Do I make one leg longer than another?
Doing this would make it unlevel if I ever move. The legs/body is
going to be from hard maple and design is based off the how-to bench
from DIY network's show woodworking.
Any thoughts or ideas?
Thanks in advance
I have a slope in the floor of my garage. I placed the
table perpendicular to the the slope, and used shims to
get everything level. Given the table is a couple of
hundred pounds, everything is solid and level. If you
have serious unevenness, this solution may not work.
I did consider building a raised floor for the shop tools
that I would make level. Did that once with the back
porch when we converted it to a sun room. Compound slopes
in two directions. It was tough to level out.
Well, my afternoon project is addressing this problem on my workbench. I'm
using these leveling feet available at Rockler http://tinyurl.com/9ao8v .
I'll let you know how it works out. If you really want to go beefy, see
charlie b's website at
http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/MT/CBbench20.html . Mine cost $2.50
each. I think Charlies are $15.00 each. Guess which one is bigger and more
I found levelers on other websites similar to mine that quoted load bearing
of 300 lb each. That should be sufficient. My biggest concern is whether
they will cause the bench to slide around or not. I'll let you know.
BTW, my workbench is solid maple with 2 1/4" thick maple top, but its small
(28" x 54"). With its heavy bench vise and a drawer full of planes I am
guessing it weighs about 120 lb.
The DIY bench calls for mounting the vise directly to the edge of the bench.
I recommend you mortise the rear jaw into the bench and below the surface.
That allows you to have one continuous surface on top and the rear jaw of
the vise is part of a continuous surface with your bench apron. I put a 4'"
x 3/4" apron on my bench and extended it across the rear vise jaw. Its makes
for a much friendlier clamping situation.
If I were faced with that problem, I'd build the bench with all legs the
Then cut 4 extra pieces of leg material, say 12"-18" long.
Put the bench in place and then using a small hydraulic jack and some
shim packs made from say 1/4" plywood, (The shim pack can be say 2"x6"),
level the bench.
When you have the bench totally level. then clamp a 12"-18" piece to
each leg so that it touches the floor and clamp in place with some C-Clamps.
Wait about 2 weeks, recheck bench for level. If level, bolt leg and
piece together with some 3/8 bolts and large fender washers, then remove
SFWIW, ever wonder how they level out a 20 ton boat when they put it in
a cradle or a house when they move it?
What I describe above comes under the heading of BFU (Butt F**K Ugly)
Use only the shim packs.
If you make them 3x6 the you can turn successive layer 90 degrees.
Another approach is to drill a hole in the bottom of the leg, then
install a 1/2-13 S/S Tee nut, then screw in a 1/2-13 x 3"-4" S/S
carriage bolt with a lock nut.
If you are on a concrete floor this works, a wood floor, stay with the
I would think that 1/4" is way too thick to make fine adjustments on bench
level. As little as a 1/16" inch can make the difference between rock solid
and wobble (depends on how far apart the legs are but not much).
Couple of things to consider re: leg levelers
for your bench
1. you want some friction at the contact
area where the leveler meats the floor.
The ones I used are 3 " in diameter
2. you want the foot to swivel so it'll
sit flat on the floor
3. the easier they are to adjust the more
apt you are to relevel as things settle.
The ones I used are adjustable from
the top using an allen wrench - much
easier than trying to get two wrenches
under a leg/base
I don't know what the bench you're doing
look likes. The leve levelers I used work
great on a sled base - won't work on four
leg bench though. I also don't know if
this is the first of several benches you
intend to make. Most folks start out with
a quick and dirty bench which later becomes
an assembly bench and then build a
better, more useful one later. Some go
through several "ideal benches" before
settling on their "final bench".
Before I built Das Bench I went through
Scott Landis and Allen's workbench books
along with all the magazine articles I
could find on benches and bench building.
Asked questions here and from a few
woodworkers I know.
As strongly recomended, I bought the
hardware (vises) before working out
the first of many iterations of scaled
Enjoy building your bench, you'll learn
I installed them and they worked like a champ. I am using in a garage on
bare concrete. I move the bench around on a wheeled carriage frequently so
i have a need to re-adjust the feet often. I did not detect in slippage on
the concrete floor. I found the ability to use screw adjustment as opposed
to shims to be superior and more easy to get right quickly. Prior to this,
I was using wood shim wedges under the legs. The screw adjustment is much
more precise and allows me to get it perfect which adds to the stability.
I'd go for Footmaster leveling foot castors, a combined castor and screw
down/jacking foot, put a set on a 6'x6'x16' steel frame we needed to be
able to move at work, it carries a 1000lb plus weight split furnace, no
problems with movement or stability.
The way I leveled my router table was to get four 3/4" bolts and
matching nuts from the hardware store, and use them as heavy-duty
levelers. Basically, I just drilled a 3/4" hole in the bottom of each
leg as deep as the bolt could go, then a slightly larger hole for the
nut to fit into. Six taps with the chisel turned that larger hole
into a nice hex-shaped mortise, and then the legs could be leveled
with a wrench no matter where I put it.
You can buy levelers as well, but this approach seemed more sturdy.
FWIW, I wouldn't make the legs different sizes. At worst, you're
better off just shimming them.
that's how I have my big bench set up. the loegs are 4x6, with 1/2"
lags in from the botom, prolly close to a foot of thread engaging
wood. it lets me "tune" the height and level as things around it
Funny thing is, I went to the store to get levelers, but all they had
were skimpy ones, so I went with that. Works nice, and I'm sure
you'll be making more tables, benches, etc. at some point, so I'm sure
you can try it out some other time!
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