Mdf as workbench top - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 Old 12-23-2013, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Mdf as workbench top

I am replacing the top on my workbench and I am considering doing 3 sheets of 3/4 mdf glued together as the top. My old top was a single sheet of 3/4 plywood with 1/4 hardy bard over top. My only cons urn is will the mdf be strong enough because I will have to mount my vise to it.

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post #2 of 18 Old 12-23-2013, 10:44 PM
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I'd use two 3/4 inch sheets of plywood....glued together....and then bolt the last sheet of MDF to the top so you can replace it in a few years when it gets beat up....
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post #3 of 18 Old 12-23-2013, 11:22 PM
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Make a torsion box with 1/2" ply. Block out the areas you want to mount the vice to. Light, strong and rigid.

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post #4 of 18 Old 12-24-2013, 12:13 AM
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If you have sufficient framing on your work bench unless you are rebuilding car motors on it a single sheet of MDF should work. You might band around the edges with some hardwood to protect the edges and build up the thickness where the vice goes so you will have something to screw it to. The biggest problem you will have is getting it wet. MDF gets pretty fuzzy quick after you get it wet.
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post #5 of 18 Old 12-24-2013, 01:12 AM
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My solid-core door is still holding up after several years of use. I haven't priced mdf lately, but the door cost about $60.
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post #6 of 18 Old 12-24-2013, 01:31 AM
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Three layers of mdf will be pretty heavy duty. I wouldn't worry about the vise mounting.

Post some pics when you are done, I'm fishing for ideas to rebuild mine this year. I liked Bernie's bench with the bamboo top, he has a thread here somewhere.

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post #7 of 18 Old 12-24-2013, 09:44 AM
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These plans use an MDF top http://www.woodsmithshop.com/downloa...-workbench.pdf I used plywood as my top layer, which is when I discovered how chincy plywood from Home Depot was. I put the oak edging 1/4" proud and I layer hardboard, so I can change it out when I trash it. I plan on moving it to a miter saw branch and putting a better one on my work bench. 2x hardwood, on edge, glued face to face. Do a search for bench tops. There are some great ideas. I think it was Bernie that has one (I'm sure he will chime in) written up in Shop Notes and won him a router.



Mdf as workbench top-image-1335354025.jpg
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post #8 of 18 Old 12-24-2013, 10:04 AM
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Mine is a torsion box design. Very strong and very rigid. I cant remember if I used 1/2" or 3/4" ply but I have no regrets.

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post #9 of 18 Old 12-24-2013, 10:10 AM
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I am with PaperJam. Ten years ago I put my workbench together and used a solid core door. Very heavy. It has withstood the times. I recently covered it with laminated flooring I had left over from my dining room floor redo. I got the door at a salvage yard for $30.

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post #10 of 18 Old 12-24-2013, 10:34 AM
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I just built this workbench with 2 layers of MDF glued together. I used a 1/2" spacer for the vices. So far I'm VERY happy with this workbench except for 1 thing: it's a little low. I followed some directions, but should have made it about 6 inches taller. Would have been a little easier to work at with a stool and it could double as an indeed table for my TS. Live & learn I guess. I've already gotten lots of use out of it.

Also, whenever I am doing anything that I think might damage the workbench, I throw. Piece of hardboard on it. Seems to protect very we'll when necessary.
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post #11 of 18 Old 12-24-2013, 05:51 PM
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I have 3/4 MDF top screwed to solid core dore, then 3/4 ply on bottom. Sealed top with Danish Oil. Very strong and flat. dado'ed the top and sunk T-Track down the length of table. Mounting a face and end vice was easy. Check out my photo album for pic.
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post #12 of 18 Old 12-24-2013, 06:07 PM
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My guess is your going to have close to the same cost in the benches described as you would if you glued up maple hardwood and built one to last a life time. Much better for bench vises and dogs too.

I have a setup bench made from 1/2" MDF in a torsion box method it's flat and strong but would never due for a strong sturdy work bench.

Al

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post #13 of 18 Old 12-26-2013, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Think I am going to go with 2 sheets for the top

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post #14 of 18 Old 12-27-2013, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodworkingkid
Thanks. Think I am going to go with 2 sheets for the top
The thickness you get from four gives you better opportunity to mount things, and you do it from only two sheets of the MDF. Better to clamp to the thicker top too.
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post #15 of 18 Old 12-27-2013, 10:52 AM
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i don't have much luck with MDF and I would use plywood, although I'll probably build a torsion box the next time around.

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post #16 of 18 Old 12-27-2013, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper
i don't have much luck with MDF and I would use plywood, although I'll probably build a torsion box the next time around.
As I mentioned earlier, I used the plans I posted, but went with a plywood top. I was quite disappointed with how chincy the wood was (Home Depot). And when you go multiple layers of either, it's hard to fix the damage that will inevitably occur.
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post #17 of 18 Old 12-27-2013, 12:34 PM
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I used MDF

I have a separate top sheet on a torsion box that I can flip over when it gets too ratty. After 2+ years so far so good:

Torsion box work table/bench/outfeed tableI made this one from 2 pieces of 3/4 particle board 10 ft x 30" for counter tops. It's also got another 3/4" piece on top for a replaceable work surface. So far I haven't needed to flip it over. I sealed it with shellac which make for a really smooth slippery surface.... not always good when trying to hold something down with a clamp.

It's very strong, heavy, level, flat and stable. I flattened out the first 10 ft sheet and then glued the sides on using a 10 ft long 2" x 2" aluminum tube for straightness, one side at a time. I then added the center long strip and then filled in between with short ones, all 3/4" stock ripped to the same dimension, about 2 3/4". When everything had set up I coated all the exposed edges and then plopped the top on and used everything I had to weigh it down as well as clamps along the edges:
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post #18 of 18 Old 12-27-2013, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings
I have a separate top sheet on a torsion box that I can flip over when it gets too ratty. After 2+ years so far so good: Torsion box work table/bench/outfeed tableI made this one from 2 pieces of 3/4 particle board 10 ft x 30" for counter tops. It's also got another 3/4" piece on top for a replaceable work surface. So far I haven't needed to flip it over. I sealed it with shellac which make for a really smooth slippery surface.... not always good when trying to hold something down with a clamp. It's very strong, heavy, level, flat and stable. I flattened out the first 10 ft sheet and then glued the sides on using a 10 ft long 2" x 2" aluminum tube for straightness, one side at a time. I then added the center long strip and then filled in between with short ones, all 3/4" stock ripped to the same dimension, about 2 3/4". When everything had set up I coated all the exposed edges and then plopped the top on and used everything I had to weigh it down as well as clamps along the edges: Attached Thumbnails
Wow that is one of the longest torsion tops I have ever seen I have a 800 sq ft stand alone shop I wish I could build one but I'm running out of room as it is
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