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3 bench upgrades

Few shop items hold as much raw potential as your workbench. Here's how to tap into its full usefulness with a trio of improvements.

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  • Trio of improvements

    Few shop items hold as much raw potential as your workbench. Here's how to tap into its full usefulness with a trio of improvements.

  • Plug into convenience

    When you add a heavy-duty power center to your workbench, you eliminate the inconvenience and danger of tripping over multiple extension cords.

    Select a power strip with a cord long enough to reach a wall outlet in the least-traveled area near the bench and with surge-blocking ability to protect the electronics in battery chargers. Numerous outlets accommodate multiple tools and a charger or two.

    Most power strips have mounting holes in the back panel. Carefully route the cord under the bench to avoid any drawers or possible damage caused while you work at the bench.

  • Vise advice

    A good-quality bench vise will handle most of your work-holding demands. The under-bench-mount vise shown left keeps your bench space free. (Some vises mount to the top of the workbench.)

    This model has an additional benefit: a quick release that disengages the screw for speedy adjustment. Engage the lever, slide the jaw in or out, and complete the tightening operation by turning the vise handle clockwise.

  • Add benchtop protection

    Protect your benchtop during dirty jobs by adding the 30"-wide paper-roll holder to the underside of your overhanging benchtop, as shown in first slide.

    The only part you need to make is a block to mount the metal roll holder to the bench. We cut ours from a 2x8 as shown in the drawing. Center the roll holder on the mounting block, drill countersunk pilot holes, and attach it using #8x114 " panhead screws. Center and attach the mounting block to the bench. Then insert the paper roll as directed in the manufacturer's instructions.

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