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I've been told I can no longer clean my firearms on the kitchen table anymore. I'm going to build a work bench in the basement...easy enough. But what I would like to know is what have all of you covered the top with as not to scratch your firearms? I always just laid down a large bath towel (told I could no do any more either). Not sure what to use that would stand up to all of the solvents and oil.
 

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I would buy one of the firearms mats that have already been suggested. I have that, but in a smaller form since I only work on handguns and small stuff. One thing I wanted to add is what I've done with all of my reloading/work benches: No matter the base (my current one is part of a steel shelving unit) my tops have usually ended up being some sort of lamination of wood. My current one is made of two solid wood doors, glued and screwed together. After I get the final top dementions, I go to my local air conditioning shop and have them make me a heavy sheet metal top that bends over the sides by one inch on all sides. That is then glued and pop rivited to the side edges that were previously screwed into the sides using perforated steel. You end up with a rock solid work bench with a metal top.

So the solvent problem mentioned earlier does not also soak into your wood bench. And if I change my mind about what equipment I had bolted to the top: I simply tape the bottom hole, sink a couple of finishing nails inside the hole and mix up some silver colored Acraglas to pour into the hole. After curing I level the Acraglas with my Dremel tool and then can mount/remount any tool I wish. Smithy.
 

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Ironhat
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Just use short-napped carpet scraps. They usually sell for a couple of bucks at the carpet stores when a line is retired from the sample book. Indoor/ outdoor carpet should be ideal.
 

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I've been told I can no longer clean my firearms on the kitchen table anymore. I'm going to build a work bench in the basement...easy enough. But what I would like to know is what have all of you covered the top with as not to scratch your firearms? I always just laid down a large bath towel (told I could no do any more either). Not sure what to use that would stand up to all of the solvents and oil.
Hey you're Red Green - just cover the top with duct tape!
 

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I recommend a large wooden 'chopping block' with a small juice cut around the outside edge...fit works great for fine work when I don't want to have pins or screws rolling off the table!
 

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Assuming you're using wood to build your new bench, you can always get some cheap rubber automotive floor mats to use for scratch protection, the "runner length" ones work perfect for rifles. You can also get a cheap sheet of linoleum flooring to cover the entire bench top if you'd like. (That's what I did!) Either way you'll be saving the your dining room table from the rigors of gun maintenence and possibly saving your relationship as well! Be sure to have good lighting in your new bench's area too.
 

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Wood is good. And I use a piece of, or sometime a couple of layers of, cloth painters drop cloth. It is soft and a light weight canvas and can be washed and re-used before it gets too crummy. Not a slippery surface either.
 

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Ausmerican.
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I've been told I can no longer clean my firearms on the kitchen table anymore. I'm going to build a work bench in the basement...easy enough.
They've no sense of humour..... :D
 

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I usually come back with the innocent "Oh, is that a good towel?", "I thought that that was one of the one's that had a hole in it?" (even though it was probably me that put the hole in it). As long as I bucket wash the towel in question using hot water, bleach, and laundry detergent, she'll take that fully rung out piece and launder it in the machine. (By itself mind you) And give it back to me. I think that this is in order not to steal another towel of possibly better quality? Smithy.
 

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Saw a video of a smith working on Ruger and his bench top looked to be what was called at one time "butcher paper". Since most butchers seem to put everything in plastic I have no idea where you could buy such material. Perhaps poster paper held down with double stick tape from an arts store would work and just change it out when needed.
 

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You can get sheets of Neoprene online and sometimes by the roll at hardware stores. I'd just get some of that and cover the top of your bench with it. Use some good, heavy duty staples and staple it down. You can cut out areas to put small containers containers so they won't slide around and get knocked over.
 

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I should have further stated to,that while I use plywood on top I also got a large section of a rubber tool box mat and laid that down on top. You can use the ribbed portion or turn it over and have the smooth portion on top. I've found that, that works very well so your guns don't get scratched.
 

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I have a couple of those workbench mats that are anti-skid on one side and a soft felt type of material on the other. Got a longer black one at Walmart and a smaller pistol sized green one at a local Dunhams. Solvents and lubes don't soak through.

I do most of my gun work and cleaning on my wooden bench out in the garage, but in the winter I have another bench (mostly for electronic work) in the basement so I just move my stuff down there until it warms up.

If I am tearing into a gun, I always do the work over or in a plastic storage container or it's lid so as not to lose small parts.
 

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I screw a sheet of Masonite to the top of my workbenches. It's a sacrificial top that can be easily replaced. On top of that, I use a piece of indoor-outdoor carpeting to protect guns or guitars.
 

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I took this picture this afternoon of my bench that is out in the garage. I had done the VQ trigger upgrade to my MKIII and decided I didn't like the larger bolt release that came with it and it wouldn't allow the pistol to fit in an optics holster, so I re-installed the original. Just got finished when this pic was taken.

Notice the black and green gun mats - they are nice and soft, don't wrinkle up or slide around like towels, but they are lint magnets. These are the mats I mentioned in an earlier post.

They are soft enough that I can pound the MKIII receiver or barrel on them to disassemble the pistol with no damage.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for the replies. I've got my plans drawn and will build in the next few weeks...after I clear a spot in the basement. I was going to build shelves into the back of the bench, but since I'll be in the basement, I'll just hang 2x2's from the floor joists and shelve them. I'll have to look at the mats, but for now I talked the boss in letting me have a few old towels.
 

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Thanks for the replies. I've got my plans drawn and will build in the next few weeks...after I clear a spot in the basement. I was going to build shelves into the back of the bench, but since I'll be in the basement, I'll just hang 2x2's from the floor joists and shelve them. I'll have to look at the mats, but for now I talked the boss in letting me have a few old towels.
It's a trap!

Check the linen closet in a few days. I guarantee you'll see an entire set of new towels, hand towels, wash cloths and decorative hanging towels. Probably with monograms. Never take "old towels" because they have to be replaced with "new towels" and it's not a 1:1 replacement ratio. It's more like a 3:1. You have been warned.
 
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