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How to Attach the Top of a Work Bench

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    LESLIE: Joe in Maine is working on a piece of furniture. How can we help you with that project?

    JOE: Ah, yes, ma’am. Actually, what I’m looking to do is put a new top on a workbench. It’s actually an old desk with filing cabinet drawers. I’m not sure how to go about attaching it on. It’s kind of – the drawers make it difficult to bolt anything down to it. So, my first idea was using a Liquid Nail. I figured I’d see if there are any other options out there.

    TOM: Well, can you take the drawers out of the desk and then screw from the bottom of what would be the top of the desk up?

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, to get under there. The top.

    JOE: The only problem is you can take the bottom drawers out but there’s a little table, like a shelf, on the top of those and that doesn’t seem to come out.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. OK. And you can’t pull that out?

    JOE: No, it doesn’t come out.

    TOM: So there’s no way you can get underneath what is now the top of the desk that you want to cover. Is that what you’re saying?

    JOE: Right. Only in the middle; the middle drawer comes out of it but not on the sides where I need it the most.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. Mm-hmm. Alright. And what’s on the top? What kind of top do you have on this now?

    JOE: It has a covering over the metal. I think it’s metal.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Alright. Well, why don’t you do this? Why don’t you simply drill through the workbench top down into the desk and bolt it on that way or use sheet metal screws to attach it?

    JOE: OK.

    TOM: What you could do is you could drill down through the top. What are you making this out of? Like plywood surface or something of that nature?

    JOE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, the top I just have 3/4-inch plywood.

    TOM: Alright. So all you’ve got to do is drill down until you reach the surface. You can use – if it’s a sheet metal top desk, use sheet metal screws; they have a very, very thick thread to them. We want to clearance drill the wood top and then pilot drill the original top for the desk underneath and then screw it down that way. If you want, you can plug the holes or you could just recess them below the surface. Since it’s a workbench, that’s probably all you need to do.

    LESLIE: Or you could even do a second layer of plywood on top of the first and attach it to the first piece with finish nails – through a pneumatic nailer or something – and then do like a nice edge piece. This way your top piece is nice and clean. And then you could do like a one-by as the side to cover up both pieces.

    JOE: Right. OK. That sounds good. I do appreciate that. I’ll give that a shot then.

    TOM: You’re very welcome, Joe. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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