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Uplifting benchtop risers

Box on two other boxes
You'll wonder how you ever assembled a project without these simple, versatile shop aids.

Let these rises do the work

Why settle for a chunk of 4x4 to lift projects off your bench when these risers do so much more? Assemble carcases on them to create room for clamp heads [top photo]. They provide blade clearance when cutting pieces with a circular saw or jigsaw [middle photo], and raise workpieces to a comfortable working height when routing an edge. To glue panels face-to-face, use the risers to apply pressure across the full panel [bottom photo]. You can even use them as a step when reaching for items on a just-out-of-reach shelf.

Saw cutting thru flat board on two boxes
To provide clearance for a saw blade or router bit, clamp the workpiece to the risers, and secure the risers to your bench.

Two boxes with lots of clamps
The rigid risers make excellent clamping cauls. We glued up this hardboard-and-plywood lamination with only six clamps.

Cut the top and bottom pieces

We used poplar for the tops and bottoms, and 3/4" Baltic birch plywood for the spacers, but any solid stock or plywood will do.

Start by cutting the parts to size [Drawing 1]. Then, to create the clamp slots, lay out on each top piece the centerpoints for the holes that create the corners of each slot [Drawing 1a].

Note: As shown, the 1"-wide slots accept the head of an
F-style bar clamp. You can make the slots as wide as the distance between the spacers, if you like.

Drawing 1
Drawing 1

Drawing 1a
Drawing 1a

Create the clamp slots

Set up a 1/2" bit in your drill press, and position the fence to align the bit over a centerpoint; then drill out the corners on one side of each slot as shown in photo. Rotate the boards end for end, and drill the remaining corners. To complete the slots, separate the pieces, draw lines connecting the outside edges of the holes, and cut along the lines with a jigsaw. Sand the edges smooth.

Rout 1/8" round-overs around the top and bottom of each slot and along the tops and bottoms where shown. Then plow out the grooves in the tops and bottoms to accept the spacers, and glue and clamp the risers together. Keep the risers near your bench; you'll reach for them time and time again.

Drilling board
Tape the top and bottom together before drilling holes to establish the slot corners. Separate the pieces before cutting the slots.

If you like this project, please check out more than 1,000 shop-proven paper and downloadable woodworking project plans in the WOOD Store.

Box on two other boxes
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