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I have searched but couldn't find the answer to this. I don't have the luxury of a workshop, just a dining room table. We don't eat on it, it's more of a craft/sewing table with fair natural light. Still, I don't want to cut into it or stick pins in it. I'm wondering what to cover it with. Thoughts that come to mind are plywood, drafting board, cork board or maybe just newspaper. I can't believe I'm the first to face this dilemma. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks. OBTW, my ship is due in Saturday.

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When I was doing plastic model building, I took a 1/4 thick piece of birch plywood cut to about 18" x 24", lined the bottom (table side) with peel and stick felt to protect the dining table, tacked 1/2 sq rails around 3 sides and used that as a work surface. Those self-healing green mats in JoAnn's or Michaels work well also. The nice thing about the plywood work surface was that it was portable.

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I did something very similar to Jack when I first started repairing clocks as a hobby back in the '70's.

 

Mine was a bit bigger, maybe 30" wide by 24" deep, and in addition to the side and back edges about 1" high, I glued and tacked a piece of 1/2" half round on the top surface along the front edge to keep small tools and stuff from rolling off.  Also had a small jewelers vise mounted on it.

 

Used it for years (or decades) and finally tossed it in our last move.  Kept the vise though and it is still in use, mounted on my current bench.

 

Richard

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Chris,

 

I do all of my modeling on a nice desk I don't want damaged.  I use a piece of cardboard cut from a large box and have a smaller piece of cardboard taped on top.  I have a medium size cutting matt above the cardboard.  Off to the left side of the large piece of cardboard, I have a box lid to hold my supplies.  I can set up/remove all this from the desk in under a minute.

 

Erik

 

 

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Try Masonite, The rough side makes a good cutting surface for leather or other materials that you wish to cut through. The slick side is harder and used for many things including work bench tops that last well, is economical and easy to replace. It would protect your table well, it is about 3/8" thick and with slick side up won't be moving around, use the self healing pad on top, do rough cutting and painting on the Masonite.

jud

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Some good ideas here. I have a small cutting mat that I've used for years. It has spots of paint and glue all over it so probably time for a new one. I like the plywood idea and hadn't thought about putting a fiddle around it. That would solve a multitude of problems with my dropsies. The table is not what one would call fine furniture so an old towel will be fine under the board. Drat, that means a Home Depot run oh darn. Well, I need a big file to fair the bulkheads and some tarp clamps anyway. Thanks for all the replies and ideas.

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When, as a teenager, I started more serious modelling, I was given by my parents what was according to them an old baking- or pasta-making board. Essentially it was a pine board which had the end-grain covered with strips of the same wood. At both ends a sort of rim was screwed to it - on one side up and on the other side down; the latter sort of hooked the board against the table on which it was used. This board remained in use until I moved into my own appartment and constructed the work-bench I am still using today. The board was about 60 cm wide and 50 cm deep. If would make it today again, I would probably use some beech, rather than pine.

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Here is a tip I received from a fellow modeler on YouTube (Gary Brinker).

 

He goes to an office supply store and buys out of date calendar desk pads. There is 12 sheets plus a cardboard back. And when a sheet gets dirty (messed up) he just tears the old sheet off and starts anew.

 

The office supply is probably glad to get rid of them.

 

I haven't tried it yet but plan to.

 

RussR

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When, as a teenager, I started more serious modelling, I was given by my parents what was according to them an old baking- or pasta-making board. Essentially it was a pine board which had the end-grain covered with strips of the same wood. At both ends a sort of rim was screwed to it - on one side up and on the other side down; the latter sort of hooked the board against the table on which it was used. This board remained in use until I moved into my own appartment and constructed the work-bench I am still using today. The board was about 60 cm wide and 50 cm deep. If would make it today again, I would probably use some beech, rather than pine.

 

 

What Wefalck is describing is what we would call a "shooting board" although somewhat oversized to what is normally used in a shop. It is an excellent idea for your requirements. In this case it was used to provide a smooth surface to roll out the dough, pasta or pastry. Counter tops were not all perfectly smooth or made of marble , contrary to popular belief, so this was the next option and at this size it would easily cover a sink increasing the counter size even more.

 A good inexpensive solution, and easy to stow away. 

 

It's called a Bench Hook here in the States. I have several of them all of different dimensions. I have one for carving, one to hold the sharpening stone, and several miniature ones.  They come in handy even if you have a standard workbench. An example of one of mine is shown in the last 3 photos of this post in the Woodcarving Group Project.

Edited by Jack12477
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Actually, I have a little plastic one as well. The 'hooks' each are small mitre boxes. The latter I found not precise enough to be very useful, but use it otherwise occassionally for carving or operations where I cannot clamp the work piece.

 

At the time I used to clamp the fret-saw table to my play-/work-table (which wasn't a particularly valuable one - my father made it for me during my early school years from a sort kitchen top with four legs screwed under, but one couldn't pin anything into it and wouldn't want to mess it up with paint). If there is no such option, I would perhaps put a couple of those brass dowels with a thread in them into the 'bench hook' and then fasten the fret-saw table in them with a couple of screws. Such brass dowels could also be used to fix other items, such as lamps or a vice, to the board and would allow to detach them for stowage.

Edited by wefalck
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Talk about sticker shock, Home Depot is extremely proud of their plywood. They should have had a mortgage officer stationed in lumber. OK, here's what I came up with today. A cheap calendar blotter and a new cutting mat. It may be temporary or not depending. I still need a new chair, a good light and a calliper. Anyway, we'll see how this works out for now. Mail man should be here within a couple of hours with the kit. I'll post a couple of picks in the build log when my ship comes in.

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hi Chris,

 

I worked on the dining table for a long time.

 

I made a moveable  space from thin plywood with a matching sheet of foamboard glued onto it.

This made it very rigid and ultra light despite it's large size (100cm x 70cm).

On top of it a cutting mat.

 

By the way...foamboard is handy fun stuff....can use it to stick knives, files and whatever in it.

 

Robin :)

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