Why Every Workshop Needs a Workbench Mat

A workbench mat prevents glue from sticking to our bench top, protects our wood DIY projects from damage, and makes cleaning our workshop easier.

A workbench mat prevents glue from sticking to our bench top, protects our projects from damage, and makes cleaning our workshop easier.

A workbench utility mat is an easy way to prevent messy glue spills from damaging our workbench. A workbench mat also protects our projects from being dented or scratched during assembly. Plus it saves time when cleaning up our workshops.

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Why have I waited so long to tell you about an amazing discovery I made when I attended a Woodworking Shows event? The Woodworking Shows is a great place to watch some demonstrations and learn new woodworking techniques. Classes range from tips for buying a table saw to using finishes like shellac and more.

The Woodworking Shows is also a great place to check out new products and tools. It’s where I first learned about and fell in love with my Kreg Jig. Since then I’ve even created an entire directory dedicated to the Kreg Jig. The directory is loaded with problem-solving pocket hole tips and tricks.

First I found the Kreg Jig at The Woodworking Shows and then I found the Sili Mat bench top protector. Have you heard about this thing? I’m so glad I didn’t leave the woodworking show without buying one! And don’t worry, you don’t have to go to a show to get one. You can also buy a workbench mat here.

Before we talk about a workbench mat, be sure to click the subscribe button at the bottom of this page to sign up for my FREE weekly newsletter loaded with helpful pocket hole tricks, space-saving workshop ideas, clever DIY tips and more!

What is a Workbench Mat?

Have you ever seen or used one of those silicone mats used for baking cookies? The Sili Mat protects our workbench just like that silicone baking mat. It’s an 1/8” silicone rubber mat specifically designed to protect our workbench.

Similar to the way the baking mat prevents cookies from sticking to the cookie sheet the workbench mat prevents glue spills from sticking to our workbench, countertop or workstation. But it also solves a few other problems.

3 Reasons to Use a Workbench Mat

A workbench mat protects our bench top, protects our projects and saves time when cleaning up our workshop. And the Sili Mat is so easy to use. All we have to do is unroll it out of the box and lay it on our workbench. And it can be customized too. The mat can be cut to fit our workbench.

The workbench mat is a little long for my Flip-Top Workbench Cart but I decided not to cut it so that I can also use it on my Ultimate Workbench. I’ve even moved the mat to the floor when gluing up large or heavy projects.

A Workbench Mat Protects Our Investment

Glue squeezes out nearly every time I assemble a project and drips on the top of my workbench. Removing these glue spills once they’re dried isn’t easy. It usually requires scraping and digging which leaves my workbench scratched. And if we don’t remove those dried glue blobs they can scratch and dent the wood as we’re assembling our project.

A workbench mat is cheap insurance for protecting the top of our workbench. Just like cookies won’t stick to the silicone baking mat glue won’t stick to the workbench mat. We can either wipe up any spilled glue with warm water or let the glue dry and peel it off.

A workbench mat prevents glue from sticking to a bench top.

I think the quickest way to remove glue from the mat is to let it dry and peel it off. Plus there’s something gratifying about pulling off those dried glue blobs!

No more dried glue on the top of our workbenches. No more ruined workbenches. No more replacing the top of our workbench. It’s a win-win-win.

A Workbench Mat Protects Our Projects

What kind of wood do you use to build your projects? I typically use pine. If you’ve ever used pine you know how soft it is and how easily it can be dented.

The good news is if we’re working with softwoods or hardwoods a workbench mat protects the surfaces of our DIY projects. The Sili Mat is 1/8” thick silicone, so there is less of a chance of denting our projects during assembly. And there won’t be any dried glue blobs on our workbench to scratch our project either!

A workbench mat prevents damage to wood DIY projects

A Workbench Mat Saves Time

As I mentioned it’s much easier to clean the glue off of a workbench mat than off of our workbench. I let the glue dry on the workbench mat and then just peel it off. It’s a real time-saver compared to scraping dried glue off our workbench.

There’s another time-saving cleanup benefit when we use a workbench mat. Let’s say we drilled a bunch of pocket holes or holes for shelf pins. Our workbench will be covered with wood chips from drilling. Cleanup with a workbench mat is easy. We can roll up the mat, bring it over to our garbage can and dump it. No need to get out a bench broom or Shop-Vac.

Workbench Mat and Router Pad Combo

In the 11 Secrets for Sanding Wood Projects Like a Pro post, I shared with you that I use a non-slip router pad when I sand my projects. The rubber router pad grips to the workbench and to the parts. This helps to reduce chasing pieces around our workbench as we sand. Sure, the parts still move a bit, but nothing like they do without a non-slip router pad.

In the past, I would put the router pad directly on my workbench, but lately, I’ve been putting the router pad on top of my workbench mat. The router pad grips really well to the workbench mat and further reduces movement while sanding. Sanding is the worst and I’ll do just about anything to make this awful task easier!

Why Don’t You Use Wax Paper?

Since I originally published this post I’ve received a few suggestions that it would be more cost effective to use paper or wax paper to protect my workbench.

I’ve tried both paper and wax paper before I had a workbench mat and I can tell you I prefer using a workbench mat. First, I like that the mat can be used over and over. I’ve had my Sili Mat for several years and it’s still going strong.

Second, the workbench mat is heavy. It reminds me of those heavy aprons they use when you’re getting dental x rays. The weight of the mat helps it stay in position when I place it on my workbench.

Wax paper is light. It can tear easily and it constantly needs to be readjusted back into position as projects are assembled.

Third, the wax paper provides no protection for my project from being dented or scratch.

For those reasons, I’m going with a workbench mat.

Workbench Ideas

While we’re chatting about protecting your workbench, do you need a workbench or are you thinking about replacing your workbench? I’ve rounded up 5 workbench ideas that are perfect for a small workshop.

A workbench, like my DIY Folding Workbench, is easy to set up when you’re ready to work and folds down when you’re done. It can be used as your main workbench, an extra work surface to assemble a furniture project or to finish your project with a coat of paint or stain. It’s also great for when you hit the road for a DIY project.

This easy to build DIY Flip-Top Workbench Cart is a real workshop space saver. A tool, like a miter saw, can be mounted on one side, then flip the top and the other side reveals a sturdy workbench. It’s perfect for those of us with small workshops.

My Ultimate Workbench is perfect for small workshops. It rolls to where you need it, has storage space and folds when you need more space in your shop.

Final Thoughts

A workbench mat protects our bench top from glue spills, protects our projects from dents and saves time when cleaning up our shops.

Thank you for stopping by to check out how you can save your workbench. If you found this information helpful, would you please pin it to Pinterest? I’d really appreciate it! Thank you – Scott

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