Working surface for polymer clay beadmaking.

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Project by Derek Lyons posted 08-19-2008 08:14 PM 2744 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the project that, as I’ll detail in my blog in a bit, has got me (back) into woodworking…

My Lady Wife mentioned that she wanted a better working surface for her polymer clay bead making than the sheets of corrugated cardboard taped together and covered in waxed paper that she had been using. (The clay leaves an oily residue and she didn’t want to crap up her workbench which is also used for other crafts.) She was thinking granite tile or Plexiglas when I recalled that I had stashed a pair of glass fish tank stand doors away. (In my mind the doors are butt ugly, more so than the pumps/tubes/cables exposed by not having doors. This has been a bone of contention between us for some years.)

The original idea was to simply glue the glass to a chunk of wood, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could improve the design. After all, anything worth doing is worth overdoing, right? A couple hundred dollars in tools, parts, and materials (none of which I had to start with) later….

Cue the theme from the Six Million Dollar Man.

Using yellow glue I glued some molding from a Big Box Borg across the front so the work surface slides back across the desk and then stays firmly in place, molding from the same source is glued across the back and sits proud of the glass to prevent beads and tools from rolling off into oblivion. These moldings also serve to stiffen the 1/4” MDF base along the long dimension to help prevent flexing the (thin) glass. As another advantage, the corner molding at the front also serves as a wrist rest and presents a smooth surface to her wrists and forearms while working. To make it even more comfortable I sanded it to 180 grit before staining. The base is sealed with two coats of plain white latex as the glue used to hold the glass in place required a non porous surface and also to prevent any future liquid spills from soaking in.

Ensuring that there were no gaps between the glass and molding was a bit of challenge. I solved this by working front-to-back, gluing on the front molding then the glass, then the back molding.

I’m not really happy with the glue used to hold the glass in place though… After consulting with some woodworking friends and with the ‘associates’ at the Big Box Borg I went with Liquid Nails Mirror Cement as all the glue does is hold the glass from sliding and doesn’t really take any strain. I convinced myself the glue was white and was unpleasantly surprised when it wasn’t, I then compounded the error by applying it somewhat sloppily. If I make a second one, I’ll use a different glue system or at least apply it in a more ‘artistic’ pattern without globs and trails.

There are a couple of more flaws, some of which can be seen in the photographs, but my Lady Wife is absolutely thrilled to have a clean, smooth, and steady working surface for her bead making projects. When the sawdust settles, isn’t that what really matters?

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

4 comments so far

View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 4746 days

#1 posted 08-19-2008 08:53 PM

Looks good. I am sure your wife likes it and you got more tools hard to beat a project like that. Nice job

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 4786 days

#2 posted 08-19-2008 10:07 PM

Great job!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Ampeater's profile


442 posts in 4830 days

#3 posted 08-19-2008 10:35 PM

Even the fish like it. Good job.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

View Maddhatter's profile


127 posts in 4660 days

#4 posted 08-20-2008 03:03 AM


Dreams really do come true.

Nice job,

Thanks for the post.

-- Norm (AKA - The Maddhatter), Middletown DE

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