Work-table Top


Grumbler in Training
Feb 18, 2004
Wondering if my work table top would be better off with carpeting tacked to it or should I leave it smooth and flat? I'm thinking along the lines of assembly and handling of glass.
I don't like carpeting on my worktables. Little shards of glass tend to get into it then scratch up the face of the frame. It also adds lint to chase around inside the frame. Nope...don't do it. Smooth and flat is the way to go.
It all comes down to preference, there are advantages for either way. But, I do not care for carpeted surfaces when framing. Just as Frank mentioned above there is lint and glass slivers to contend with. Even things like staples and points can are hard to detect in carpeting and can cause damage to the frame you are working on. Plus, it is bouncy, I don't think pictures should bounce when you hammer on them......

Give me good old craft paper and a smooth surface any day. If by chance I need padding I use a piece of bubble wrap.
I have 6mm Coroplast on my work tables. It's slightly cushioning, cheap and easy to clean. I still put clean kraft over it on the fitting table.

I agree that carpeting is the pits, though I don't think you should be hammering on your frames on the work bench.
I use carpet. Why? I don't really know. Dad always had it. Now I have it. I did get the indoor/outdoor kind. It has a very low pile and vacuums easy. I keep a piece of cardboard handy to put a frame on in the chance I have to putty a corner. This is the only disadvantage I have noticed.

“Even things like staples and points can are hard to detect in carpeting….”

Emi, are you using that 3” shag from the 60’s? I don’t think that would be my choice either?
I get used sheets at tag sales and staple them to my worktables. When they get dirty, I take them off, wash them, and re-use them. When I can no longer re-use them, I leave them and place the new sheet on top.
We use a coreplast sheet on top of our table for dirty work and we have a piece of low pile foam backed carpet which we cut to match our table top size and had the edges bound. When ever we do clean assembly we place the carpet on the table. It's always clean, makes a great layout area and hides the sometimes messy coreplast. It works great and looks great as well.
Originally posted by Ron Eggers:
I have 6mm Coroplast on my work tables.
Me too, Ron. Except I prefer 4mm. And white, because it reflects light and makes the whole shop brighter, and it shows dirt & debris better than black or any other color.

Aside from being a smooth, flat, durable, cheap, disposable, non-abrasive surface, it also makes a good cutting board.

Paper or cardboard coverings are abrasive, and will scuff some things, like fine frame finishes & clear film.
My table is a 4x8 sheet of plywood with a hardwood rim around the edge raised about 1/8". I drop a 4x8 white tile board into the top.
Tile board is smooth and cheap to replace. It's a Masonite-like product used for cheap paneling. Like some of the others I use Kraft paper and/or the 1/8" foam packing when padding is necessary.

Our tables are carpeted.

Grit and debris tends to sink to the bottom of the pile and, IMHO, offers less opportunity for the frame to get scratched than with a hard, smooth surface.

Of course, vacuuming the surface frequently with a Dust Buster® and occasionally with the Shop Vac is essential.
My workbenches are all wood topped benches. When I built them 16 years ago I chose to carpet the fitting table and have not regretted it at all.

The carpet is a neutral beige indoor/outdoor short nap carpeting and is very easy to keep clean. I am very careful not to spill anything on that carpet that would stain or otherwise mar the surface of anything that is placed on top of it. I clean glass on a black kraft paper wrapped package of double strength cardboard and I don't have a bit of trouble with lint or "hidden" points or pins.

As someone else mentioned, it is all in what works for each of us.

Our work table top has three sections. For the glass work section I use cheap dark matboard. The dark color allows me to make quick, thorough work of cleaning the glass because the dirt shows against the dark color mat. The middle section I use cheap white matboard. On this I do the mounting/hinging/matting work. It's easy and inexpensive to change out the mats.

And the third section is for a router pad. This is the best thing ever! I put the frame face down on the pad for fitting and finishing work. The soft rubber material keeps the frame from slipping or being damaged. They can be ordered from wood working supply stores (or online) and come in different sizes. Mine are 24" x 35" x 1/8". This light rubber-type material folds into quarters so that I can easily set them aside if I need more workspace for other things. I have three of them and put them side by side for larger projects (I intend to get a fourth one).
"And the third section is for a router pad"
You might also look at the no slip pads for under oriental carpets when used on wood floors.