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View MiniMe's profile

Adjustable height (for the top) workbench and support for tools and outfeed table

by MiniMe
posted 12-10-2019 05:40 PM


38 replies so far

View LesB's profile

LesB

2977 posts in 4519 days


#1 posted 12-10-2019 05:55 PM

I made something similar but with a different elevation changing set up. Attached are a couple of Sketchup renditions and a cut away line drawing. It works well and I have used it for 10 years but is a little cumbersome to change the height, requiring me to work around the bench changing the elevation in small increments. If I had a second person it would be easier. I have always thought I should add a scissors jack or some sort of hydraulics. Also while I left the lower part open you could add doors or drawers. I did put shelves in the end between the supports.
I used bolts and threaded star knobs to secure the adjustment stops on the 4 corners.. Also on the elevating supports I marked them with rulers to reverence each corners adjustment and get things level.

-- Les B, Oregon

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

2060 posts in 677 days


#2 posted 12-10-2019 05:57 PM

Looks like a lot of adjustments. I don’t know how much travel you need but you could allow the top to move up on posts and have a milled block to act as a spacer to get to table saw height.

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#3 posted 12-10-2019 06:21 PM



Looks like a lot of adjustments. I don t know how much travel you need but you could allow the top to move up on posts and have a milled block to act as a spacer to get to table saw height.

- controlfreak


I considered that as well but the issue is that I have an uneven floor and the table saw and the workbench might not necessarily land in the same position every time -hence the need to adjust every time. I can use what you said as a quick setup and see if it works, the designs do not exclude that option

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#4 posted 12-10-2019 06:26 PM



I made something similar but with a different elevation changing set up. Attached are a couple of Sketchup renditions and a cut away line drawing. It works well and I have used it for 10 years but is a little cumbersome to change the height, requiring me to work around the bench changing the elevation in small increments. If I had a second person it would be easier. I have always thought I should add a scissors jack or some sort of hydraulics. Also while I left the lower part open you could add doors or drawers. I did put shelves in the end between the supports.

- LesB


Nice design but I want to keep it simple and my router is not in place yet
I think that the all thread rod design is safer but the other design could be used as a bench wise if you take the table top out :-)

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controlfreak

2060 posts in 677 days


#5 posted 12-10-2019 06:40 PM

Wondering if you could use hinges on the tops of the posts to allow full height adjustment on one side and then the other without having to do incremental adjustments going around the table.

View MiniMe's profile

MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#6 posted 12-10-2019 07:17 PM



Wondering if you could use hinges on the tops of the posts to allow full height adjustment on one side and then the other without having to do incremental adjustments going around the table.

- controlfreak


have to be heavy duty
the other thing is that you lose the option to use the vise in the first design

View RDan's profile

RDan

183 posts in 3400 days


#7 posted 12-10-2019 11:15 PM

You might want to look at the plans for a Jack-bench, https://www.jack-bench.com/ he has been around for a while. I am still thinking I might build one, just have not gotten around to it yet. Dan

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#8 posted 12-10-2019 11:36 PM



You might want to look at the plans for a Jack-bench, https://www.jack-bench.com/ he has been around for a while. I am still thinking I might build one, just have not gotten around to it yet. Dan

- RDan


That is definitely a nice idea but it will take from the under the table space.
If I find two cheap auto jacks I could attach them at each side, on the exterior ! Good point, thank you

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LesB

2977 posts in 4519 days


#9 posted 12-11-2019 07:01 PM

So, this discussion spurred me into looking at some sort of jack system and I found scissor jacks from the basic automotive types for around $25 (some had mounting flanges on the top) to motorcycle jacks with larger platforms in the $60+ range. You might even find old car scissor jacks at the wrecking yard even cheaper.

I think I will add one of these to the bench design I posted above. That way I can release the 4 corner clamps adjust the height with the jack and re-clamp it. If the floor was uneven minor adjustments could be made by hand to level the top.

-- Les B, Oregon

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fivecodys

1731 posts in 2712 days


#10 posted 12-11-2019 08:58 PM

I have always liked this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBX-AtmSFJA

-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

View MiniMe's profile

MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#11 posted 12-11-2019 10:09 PM



So, this discussion spurred me into looking at some sort of jack system and I found scissor jacks from the basic automotive types for around $25 (some had mounting flanges on the top) to motorcycle jacks with larger platforms in the $60+ range. You might even find old car scissor jacks at the wrecking yard even cheaper.

I think I will add one of these to the bench design I posted above. That way I can release the 4 corner clamps adjust the height with the jack and re-clamp it. If the floor was uneven minor adjustments could be made by hand to level the top.

- LesB

I recycled a car not very long ago. I do not remember what I did with the jack :-( (I have had a very stressful couple of months this year)

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#12 posted 12-11-2019 10:21 PM

View rcs47's profile

rcs47

225 posts in 4205 days


#13 posted 12-12-2019 01:58 AM

You could start with HD’s adjustable bench frame. It has a 300# capacity:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-46-in-Adjustable-Height-Work-Table-HOLT46XDB12/301809931

You can go for something with more capacity:
https://www.mcmaster.com/adjustable-height-bench-legs

Norden is an option:
http://www.adjustabench.com/about.asp

Good luck,

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

View MiniMe's profile

MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#14 posted 12-12-2019 04:11 AM



You could buy this and the problem is solved

https://www.ikea.com/ca/en/p/linnmon-finnvard-table-white-s09001986/

And here is the crank version

https://www.ikea.com/ca/en/p/skarsta-underframe-sit-stand-f-table-top-white-20288736/

- MiniMe


The HD seems model seems to be a nice option
I need to crunch the numbers to see if I want to buid it myself or buy that one. I am afraid that the size that I need is going to cost more than if I build it from 2×4

BTW, would you advise straightening the 2×4s using the table saw?

View muesli's profile

muesli

510 posts in 2584 days


#15 posted 12-12-2019 08:55 AM

If you don’t need all the different height ranges in between, but just two different heights, I would think about a second top with some spacer blocks in between. That way, you could have the lower needed height with the two tops laying on each other and the second height buy putting the blocks in between.
Easy to build, cheap and easy to adjust.

-- Uwe from Germany.

View MiniMe's profile

MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#16 posted 12-12-2019 12:40 PM



If you don t need all the different height ranges in between, but just two different heights, I would think about a second top with some spacer blocks in between. That way, you could have the lower needed height with the two tops laying on each other and the second height buy putting the blocks in between.
Easy to build, cheap and easy to adjust.

- muesli


I considered some sort of spaces but the floor is uneven and that will result in variable level difference between the the table saw and the workbench top which will be its outfeed table on ocassions

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#17 posted 12-12-2019 01:35 PM

I think I will implement this
I already have one of the jacks and it is going to cost me 25CAD for another identical one.
These are small jacks I might need to improvise to build the vertical boards that push the top upward


So far I have spent around 50CAD on rods floor flanges and hardware to implement this which seems to be a simple solution but I have doubts regarding its stability. The holes made for those rods will wear out in time and the table will start moving. The flange thread does not match the thread in the rod and it locks in just because for that specific size (5/8” flange) the rog goes in just enough to lock itself in there. Due to the fact that the thread is coarse the top side of the flange does not sit in perfect horizontal position and it will need some shims to attach properly to the table or use a chisel to create some sort of foot print that will level the things …all in all -too much improvisation

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#18 posted 12-12-2019 03:20 PM

This also looks interesting but it takes more to build it and more to adjust it to the right height (it must be difficult to find the right setting for all 4 legs but it is much easier to find the right level on an uneven surface

View MiniMe's profile

MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#19 posted 12-12-2019 08:36 PM

The more I research this the more ideas I get
This is a 19CAD RV jack which could be used to implement the above much easier

View zipzit's profile

zipzit

15 posts in 2239 days


#20 posted 12-12-2019 09:35 PM

I’m coming at this from a slightly different direction. I built this bench out of scrap 2x material. I built it to hand plane wood. Its solid as a rock. I can lean all my weight on it in any direction, and it won’t budge even a hair. But I set it low, primarily for planing wood. I moved to a new shop, and I use this bench as an outfeed table.

Turns out I need three heights:
  • Low (for hand planing wood)
  • 1/8” below the table saw height for to catch the saw’s outfeed.
  • EXACTLY the same height as table saw, for working really long material.

I built two of these spacer / leg extensions, one for each end of my bench. They are precise in their height. The spacers and cross boards are glued as a single unit. Its way way easy to lift the end of bench (less the c clamps or course), and adjust the spacer block using my toe in the middle to make location adjustment. I use 1/8” hardboard scrap to adjust the last 1/8” if necessary.

You don’t realize how useful it is to have a rock solid bench until you have tried one. I’d be afraid that the benches above, while great for layout, machine router work, etc. would not be so great if you ever tried to hand plane a board.

Price for this “spacer / jack” = $0, just check your scrap pile…

One other note… If I have to do very precision stuff, where I need to be close to the work (something you might need a tall bench for…) I end up sitting on a stool, with the work on the bench. I’ve found when I need to do precision work, its much easier to obtain quality results when I’m sitting down… So yeah, my bench adjusts to one of three specific heights.

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#21 posted 12-12-2019 09:56 PM


Price for this “spacer / jack” = $0, just check your scrap pile…
- zipzit


Good idea but the price of your table is higher :-) and the table is heavier…that is the price you pay for rock solid

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zipzit

15 posts in 2239 days


#22 posted 12-12-2019 10:09 PM



Good idea but the price of your table is higher :-) and the table is heavier…that is the price you pay for rock solid
- MiniMe

Nope. This table is made from recycled 2x material. Totally free. Add some fasteners and glue and time. The top is hand planed very flat. OOps. You can see here I got lazy on removing the 1/8” spacers for outfeed. Cardboard to the rescue. But you can see where in planing a 10’ board I need accurate height to the table saw. Did I mention that I’m really cheap? Recycle when you can.

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#23 posted 12-12-2019 10:14 PM

Also no casters for your table!

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

2623 posts in 1664 days


#24 posted 12-12-2019 10:30 PM

Being disabled I sometimes grab at things for stability so all of my tools are firmly bolted to their stands. I did this after nearly pulling the drill press over. A tall tool like a drill press can be unstable when rolling around and not bolted down.

It’s not really a good idea to have all tools on the same bench as each other since the tools are different heights. Better to have each tools stand at a height so that the combined tool and stand height is the same. In my shop the work surfaces of each tool (belt sander, planer, lathe, bandsaw, scrollsaw, drill press, mitersaw) match the tablesaw, 34”. Moving work from tool to tool is easy as there is no lifting.

Instead of putting 4 casters on the stands (this can make the tool station squirmy) just put two fixed casters on one end and leave the other end stationary with handles you can use to wheelbarrow the tool around. This makes the tool station very stable in use yet easily movable.

Also, check to see if your drill press will fit under the bench in the fully down position, mine is too tall for an under 30” space. At 62 humping the drill press up and down is no fun. YMMV

M

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#25 posted 12-12-2019 10:47 PM


Being disabled I sometimes grab at things for stability so all of my tools are firmly bolted to their stands. I did this after nearly pulling the drill press over. A tall tool like a drill press can be unstable when rolling around and not bolted down.

It s not really a good idea to have all tools on the same bench as each other since the tools are different heights. Better to have each tools stand at a height so that the combined tool and stand height is the same. In my shop the work surfaces of each tool (belt sander, planer, lathe, bandsaw, scrollsaw, drill press, mitersaw) match the tablesaw, 34”. Moving work from tool to tool is easy as there is no lifting.

Instead of putting 4 casters on the stands (this can make the tool station squirmy) just put two fixed casters on one end and leave the other end stationary with handles you can use to wheelbarrow the tool around. This makes the tool station very stable in use yet easily movable.

Also, check to see if your drill press will fit under the bench in the fully down position, mine is too tall for an under 30” space. At 62 humping the drill press up and down is no fun. YMMV

M

- Madmark2


all very good suggestions. With a vacation coming next week I will barely have the time to put together some of the DC system components. When I get back I will still have a couple of days off and I will probably get started on this project
I will probably post some pictures then. I still have to buy a band saw so on that table I will have a miter saw a drill press and the band saw …either on the table or under the table. You are right these must be secured (at least the band saw and the drill press, they can tip over at any time) I will have to find a solution for that (to keep then stable and removable at any time, on and under the table)

What can I use for that ? Clamps? Add tracks to the top and use bench clamps?

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#26 posted 12-13-2019 03:06 PM

OK I think this is it
The jacks will be bolted to the surface they sit on
The 2×4 on top of them can be attached to the 2×12 that supports the table top
The table will be 2’x8’
When needed I raise the top and I insert those wings which will allow me to put a 4’x8’ on top or add another 1’ (using similar wings) toward the user or toward the back

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

2623 posts in 1664 days


#27 posted 12-13-2019 03:43 PM

Tie the two Jack cranks together so they move in sync or they’ll tend to bind as the top moves up unevenly. Not to mention having to go back and forth while cranking a turn here, a turn there. I’d also be concerned that the whole movable top would want to tip forward/back as it is only supported by two rods in the middle instead of four, one at each corner. Ever see a two legged table? No? Well you’re designing one (preretirement I was a design engineer.)

Your stringers are running the wrong way. The bench will sag in the middle. Move the jacks in 2’ so the unsupported span will only be 4’ instead of 8’. The top of my bench was 2 layers of 3/4” ply glued and screwed for rigidity over a 3’ span. Check the online sagulator website (Google it) for the expected sag before you finalize your design.

The six 2×4 posts should be under the frame and on top of the base instead of screwed to the sides. This will make the wood carry a compression load rather than the screws carrying a shear load. Assuming two screws per joint the entire weight will be carried by 12 screws (six posts) under shear stress with no compression support – not the best design.

My guess is that once you build this monstrosity you’ll use it a few times and then leave it set up and in one place as it will be too big & too heavy for one person to move over an uneven concrete floor. You also can’t have the tools bolted down for stability and have them removable to put underneath the bench.

Build it and let us know how it works for you. There’s a reason there’s not a lot of plans for this on the ‘net …

M

PS sagulator says 100# center load on 2×8 3/4 ply top will sag excessively (1/2”) ...

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#28 posted 12-13-2019 05:03 PM


Tie the two Jack cranks together so they move in sync or they ll tend to bind as the top moves up unevenly. Not to mention having to go back and forth while cranking a turn here, a turn there.

good point
A pair of double hinges at each end, connecting the table top and the push boards will solve the problem of uneven moving and it will add more flexibility to the design!


Your stringers are running the wrong way. The bench will sag in the middle. Move the jacks in 2 so the unsupported span will only be 4 instead of 8 . The top of my bench was 2 layers of 3/4” ply glued and screwed for rigidity over a 3 span. Check the online sagulator website (Google it) for the expected sag before you finalize your design.


When raised it will be just an outfeed table I do not plan to have load on it


My guess is that once you build this monstrosity you ll use it a few times and then leave it set up and in one place as it will be too big & too heavy for one person to move over an uneven concrete floor.

You can t have the tools bolted down for stability and have them removable to put underneath the bench.


Clamps or T nuts or give up on that completely. I don’t ,mind working out and removing tools from that table if I have to


Build it and let us know how it works for you. There s a reason there s not a lot of plans for this on the net …

M

Madmark2, the people who solved impossible problems did not know that they were impossible to solve :-)


View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

2060 posts in 677 days


#29 posted 12-13-2019 05:53 PM

I really liked the Home Depot adjustable table for the money. My outfeed table now is a adjustable roller stand and is a pain to setup. The table would give better outfeed support and a project table. The downside is in my heart of hearts I think the table will turn into a dreaded catch all space with no storage under it. This means I will continue to lurk here.

View MiniMe's profile

MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#30 posted 12-13-2019 06:49 PM



I really liked the Home Depot adjustable table for the money. My outfeed table now is a adjustable roller stand and is a pain to setup. The table would give better outfeed support and a project table. The downside is in my heart of hearts I think the table will turn into a dreaded catch all space with no storage under it. This means I will continue to lurk here.

- controlfreak


This wants to be more than an outfeed table. I have a small garage that forces me to move things around
Besides that it is also fun to build this.. I am a weekend warrior..I live by doing something else

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#31 posted 01-28-2020 02:40 PM

Hi guys

An update and a couple of questions about this project I am working on
First the updates:
-buying warped (a little bit) plywood forced me to reconsider the idea of having the entire top mobile and on scissor jacks. I need to screw the plywood to the frame in order to make it flat. The other thing that led me to this solution was the span of the table (8’x2’) ..the length would have been impractical for the initial design and required underneath support to support the top when raised so I simplified everything as in the picture below

The adjustable outfeed will be supported by two vises one on each side which can be used for other purposes when the outfeed is not installed

And now the questions:
In the picture below
-could the screw #1 split the 2×4 that it goes into in grain ?
-same question for screw #2
-considering the size of my table what screws should I use to attach my casters (4”) ? I am looking at the screw in the picture and to me it looks undersized, especially for my table (2’x8’)

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

2623 posts in 1664 days


#32 posted 01-28-2020 03:04 PM

The casters are under a compression load so the screws just keep it from slipping sideways. Small screws are fine.

If the wood was going to split it would have when the screws were driven. You DO pilot drill your screws, don’t you? That’s the best way to avoid splitting.

For the minimal height difference in your drawing (looks like only 3-4 in) I would build everything fixed at the saw height and buy a taller stool for the bench.

M

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#33 posted 01-28-2020 04:01 PM



The casters are under a compression load so the screws just keep it from slipping sideways. Small screws are fine.

If the wood was going to split it would have when the screws were driven. You DO pilot drill your screws, don t you? That s the best way to avoid splitting.

For the minimal height difference in your drawing (looks like only 3-4 in) I would build everything fixed at the saw height and buy a taller stool for the bench.

M

- Madmark2


Yes I use pilot holes
I do not need a stool, the adjustable side is to compensate the uneven floor so if I build the workbench the same height as the TS (initially) it might end up higher than the TS in some areas which will force me to raise the TS somehow… the bench will be below the TS -it has to be that way also so I can push it to the wall and have the tools sitting on it fit under the shelf you see on the wall

View TheBeej418's profile

TheBeej418

12 posts in 478 days


#34 posted 01-28-2020 04:20 PM

Love the ideas! I was looking at building a custom stand-up corner desk a year or so ago and went down the rabbit hole of linear actuators. You could get 4 actuators, one on each corner, and get real fancy! If you don’t need much lift out of it, you could get 4 short throw actuators at a reasonable price.

A little off topic, are you using SketchUp to model your garage? I want to redo mine and I’m just learning how to plan out my cabinets. Would love to model my garage to scale for layout if you have any tips/videos to provide.

-- Brian, Nashville, TN

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#35 posted 01-28-2020 04:36 PM



Love the ideas! I was looking at building a custom stand-up corner desk a year or so ago and went down the rabbit hole of linear actuators. You could get 4 actuators, one on each corner, and get real fancy! If you don t need much lift out of it, you could get 4 short throw actuators at a reasonable price.

A little off topic, are you using SketchUp to model your garage? I want to redo mine and I m just learning how to plan out my cabinets. Would love to model my garage to scale for layout if you have any tips/videos to provide.

- TheBeej418


Yes I am using Sketchup and I learned it by building a model of my house.
I just learned from their help and videos ..takes a while in the beginning but then when you get used to the way it works it becomes really handy.
See the left side chapters on this web page, read them one by one, gradually as you progress in doing something
Start with something you want to do …don’t just do dry reading ..and google a lot, there is youtobe videos for every single thing you want to do …
there is even focused tutorials https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sketchup+tutorials+for+woodworkers

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#36 posted 01-28-2020 06:37 PM

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AndyJ1s

485 posts in 831 days


#37 posted 01-30-2020 05:44 AM


The casters are under a compression load so the screws just keep it from slipping sideways. Small screws are fine.

If the wood was going to split it would have when the screws were driven. You DO pilot drill your screws, don t you? That s the best way to avoid splitting.

For the minimal height difference in your drawing (looks like only 3-4 in) I would build everything fixed at the saw height and buy a taller stool for the bench.

M

- Madmark2

Umm… if you look a the casters, you can see that axle of the wheel is very close to being beyond the edge of the mounting plate. This would tend to put the opposite side screws in tension (in the orientation shown, the screws into the end grain of the 2×4, more about that later), rather than compression.

Also, when the table is rolled about, and hits small objects on the floor (pebble, screw, nail, sawdust, wood scrap, etc.) the wheel will stop rollling, and the caster will try to lever itself off of its mounting, just as if they were a leg/foot, rather than a caster. This would also tend to split the leg member too.

I would put the biggest diameter screw/bolt that fits in the slotted holes for the caster, and pilot drill the screw hole into the wood appropriately.

Screws are known to hold very poorly in end grain. If it cannot be avoided, use extra long screws into end grain, or a knock-down type of hardware, with a barrel nut, etc.

If the 2×4 frame wrapped around the outside of the 2×4 post/leg, then you would only have one of the four caster mounting screws into end grain. The other three would be into cross grain, where they will hold much better. Note you would have to notch the corners of the bottom shelf to clear the legs, but the casters will stay put much better.

Andy – Arlington TX

-- Andy - Arlington TX

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MiniMe

421 posts in 1127 days


#38 posted 01-30-2020 01:20 PM

Installed the casters like below, using 14×1” wood/metal screws from HD
I used pilot holes of course.
The yellow piece is the vertical post, the purple one is a short 2×4x4 block that I added there screwed to the 2×4 piece that is in between the colored pieces. I could have added a piece of plywood parallel to the plate of the caster but I did not want to raise the table as I had some constrains due to shelving above the table (where it sits when not used for something else) I have power tools sitting on the table that would hit the above shelf it I go 1” up. Also the level of the top was calculated to align with another table I have and I can join them together for a wider work surface if I need

So two screws in grain, the others are not. It was essential for me to have the option to switch the top and the bottom surfaces or if needed to be able to clean the bottom of anything stored there and then either switch the top with the bottom (think it as a spare part) or stack them on top of the table to get a thicker surface if needed. The other option would be to buy better tops and store them on the bottom shelf
I would add braces if I see it is needed…with those in place the bench will be rock solid

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