One surface to resist glue, One surface to deny it
One surface to protect the rest and save your machines besides
In the Land of the Shed, where the glue resides
The Wood River Silicone Bench Mat from Professional Woodworkers Supplies is the solution to a problem you forgot you had. I know – seems strange, why solve a problem you didn’t remember?
The fact is, there are a number of activities in the shed that would cause problems if not dealt with, and we normally resort to a variety of make-shift solutions, that this simple 18″x24″ silicone bench mat solves.
First one – glue-ups. You have a workbench that is used for a myriad of activities, including glueups, but the one thing you don’t want to do is drip glue all over it. And more importantly, you don’t want to inadvertently glue your project to it!
In steps the silicone bench mat. Problem solved.
Glue will not stick to the surface. Any glue that dries on the surface peels straight off. Cleanup is simple, and the project will not become a permanent fixture either. You can still use your good workbench (or your tablesaw!) for glueups, without risking the glue wrecking things, or sticking objects to one another that were not meant to be joined.
The silicone mat is also good as a non-slip surface, waterproof and oilproof, and with a couple of mm thickness, makes it a good surface to sand or plane on, or sharpen on as a couple of examples.
If you want to protect a larger area, a couple of overlapping mats works well, as the overlapping area doesn’t slip (easily).
Back to gluing for a second (and it doesn’t just have to be gluing). Do you use a machine for some operations where glue, or a finish is easily dripped or flung off? For example, using CA glue on the lathe (such as when pen turning), or applying oil to a moving surface. The silicone mat can be used to protect the surface of the machine (or floor).
Here the mat is protecting the bed of the lathe, as a CA glueup is completed. It is also very useful when doing the polishing step, as the micro mesh acrylic sanders drip a lot of water onto the cast iron lathe bed – not a good idea.
I think Wood River could take the whole concept further, developing a small range of products from the material, including a shop apron particularly suited to very messy operations.
It is not only messy operations where the mat excels. As a soft, forgiving surface it is ideal for machine maintenance, such as changing blades. Items put on the mat tend not to roll around or slip off, and the amount of give in the surface protects tools dropped on it. Here, a blade change is operation is enhanced – the table top is protected from scratches, while the tungsten carbide teeth are protected from being chipped and damaged on the hard CI surface.
I’m seriously starting to think that just one of these mats is not enough. 2, even 3 would not go astray in a workshop for all the different roles they can perform.
I don’t think the mats are listed on PWS’ website yet – contact Grahame for their availability – sure it won’t take long, especially if there is a bit of interest shown!