Please help, my new workbench is not flat

Hello,
I just put the last coat of tung oil on my new workbench. The bench is all hand-planed maple. My forearms are buff now (: )) I used the Veritas Deluxe Kit, with a 2" thick laminated maple slab, but had to reflatten the top when I gouged out the outside edges when planing the skirts flush. The rest of the bench is rock maple.
Here are my concerns, mainly to do with flatness. I am a newcomer, so please tell me if I am being unnecessarily retentive. The amount of work (not to mention $$) I have put into this has me really, really uneasy. I guess I am hoping for someone to tell me its okay, but I want the truth so I can learn from my mistakes. I tried to get the top perfectly flat, but I just seemed to be "planing in place", as it were-- the lows stayed low and the highs stayed high-- I just made a lot of shavings.
The following is a list of the inacuracies. I did not have an accurate straightedge larger than my 12" starrett, so that may have been part of the problem. I would really appreciate any comments from veterans here! Thanks a lot. I have learned quite a bit from this group.
TOP TEN PROBLEMS WITH MY BENCH (a partial list)
1. .013" off down 1/2 of center (the tool well is in the middle of the bench) 2. R corner of front slab off by .013" 3. Most pieces are out of square and/or off length very slightly (not too concerned) 4. Slight variations along top by as much as .013" 5. Back right corner of skirt is off by .02" 6. 50% of screw holes holding the tool well bottom on are stripped, so the tool well is just a little loose. 7. Base is out of square by at least 3 degrees. 8. Because of planing the top so much, the rear slab up to 1/8" off in thickness in some areas (not a 1/8" depression-- just measuring the thickness) 9.Skirts are out of square to the top, leaving a .02" gap in many places when holding a a square to it. 10. It's not perfect, damnit!
Comments?
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I wouldn't worry too much about it being off by 1/64" or less. One way to level a surface is to scribble on the high spots with a pencil and plane that scribbled area, taking translucent shavings. I would probably be using a #7 plane. A #7 will bridge the low spots and shave the high spots. Practice on a piece of scrap wood until you get your technique developed.
When I am faced with something like you have, I will let it rest a while and then re-visit it with a fresh attitude. :-)
Do a project and see if the unevenness creates problems. If it does, then address it again.
If you point the end of a dowel, creating a little cone, you can glue the cone in the stripped screw holes, cut the cone flush, and put the screw back in. One of those little plastic pencil sharpeners they sell to point carpenter's pencils will do a good job of pointing a 1/4" dowel.

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This is probably the best advice of all. As Lowell says in the part I snipped below, work on it a bit and see if you have any problems with it. If not, then no worries, mate.
In the meantime, if you keep going at it and getting no-where, you might end up turning your lovely benchtop into a kitchen table. Just ask Paddy.
Perfection is a noble goal, but as someone way smarter than me once said, we're working with wood and wood is inherently unstable. Your benchtop is likely to move more between seasons than the amount you're talking about.
Chuck Vance
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Bob,
Everyone wants to be a perfectionist - first time out.... and as you've learned, not gonna happen!
I think you're being a bit anal retentive and going to drive yourself crazy worrying about a few thousandths here and there. You have learned more than what the mistakes costs - so you're well ahead of the game. You're not the first and far from being the last to learn a humbling lesson.
While it's nice to have a showpiece for a workbench at some point it's gonna get dinged. It's a workbench.... it'll be gouged, hammered, cut, abraded and otherwise mistreated over the years so learn to live with it. You want a really flat work surface, go get a large block of granite, otherwise I think your first creation will work just fine and serve you well.
The other Bob (Bob S.)

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snipped-for-privacy@operamail.com (Bob) wrote:
How do you know that your 12" Starrett is straight? I would certainly want something longer than 12" so that I knew where the real high points were. If you have three reasonably straight edges you can test them against each other. Test A to B, B to C, and C to A. You may have some good surfaces around the shop. How about a framing square, a level, etc?
Dick

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In rec.woodworking snipped-for-privacy@operamail.com (Bob) wrote:

So take it to someone with a large drum sander and make it perfect.
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You will gouge. You will spill paint. You will saw right through something you shouldn't have, the wife and the kids will spill liquids of unknown origin. My work bench is not a thing of artistic beauty but it is flat.
It is made of regular old lumber yard pine BUT it is covered with 1/4" masonite stuck down with contact cement that I can replace every few years. I learned this from my first house, where the workbench when I left was a horror but I convinced the buyer he was getting something special.
Boib Moody
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Yeah, use the hell out of it, and get back to us in twenty years! If you use this bench properly all its short comings will be well hiden by the scars of use in no time! Greg
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