Workbench top attachment - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-04-2015, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Workbench top attachment

Hey all. I'm fairly new to woodworking. I would like to build a nice workbench. I was looking over some plans and got some cool ideas. I know with table tops the most correct method of attachment is via s clips or some other method that allows for wood expansion. Does this same principle apply with workbench tops? Also, it using boards for the top, do you guys glue them together, attach them side by side with screws or just screw them down individually to the frame or under sheathing?
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-04-2015, 08:57 PM
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Depends on what you are building. My work bench is also an outfeed table/assembly table/glueing station and general beat-on-it table!

It is made from a solid core door and covered with Formica. Definitely not the traditional "woodworkers" bench.

With all that said, it has worked great for me for whatever project I may be working on from kitchen cabinets (three full kitchens) to liquor cabinet to any and everything else. Every piece of every project makes at least one pass across the table.

Good luck with your bench. Keep it simple and have fun.
Mike
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-06-2015, 12:06 AM
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Welcome Optimusprime!

There are 3 key ingredients for a good workbench. It needs to be FLAT! It needs top be SOLID! It needs to be FUNCTIONAL! If you feel that your workbench also needs to look good, that's fine... make it look good but that doesn't make it a better workbench.

Flat means true flat like a solid core door or a few layers of plywood. You can use solid wood to make your bench look good, but solid wood is not stable... it will move etc. unlike plywood and solid core doors (which can be bought cheap from any Habitat For Humanity stores or for free at construction sites [ ask for permission]). Consider a few layers of plywood glued together. By using a solid core door or plywood, you will not need worry about special clips etc... These man made materials are very stable. Last but not least... these man made materials will not move like solid wood. They will remain FLAT!

The SOLID ingredient is found in the base. For my bench, I used a 4X4 frame secured to the floor and I also have my bench secured to the wall. Just make sure you can't move your bench by pushing it from all 4 directions or by lifting it

Functional is a bit more tricky as MT pointed out... what do you want to make on your bench? But one thing to consider is "DO NOT GLUE THE TOP SURFACE. MT has Formica as his work surface which is an excellent choice because glue will not stick to it. I have a 1/4 inch hardboard which can be replaced for under $10. I countersinked the screws to keep my surface flat.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-06-2015, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BernieL View Post
Welcome Optimusprime!

There are 3 key ingredients for a good workbench. It needs to be FLAT! It needs top be SOLID! It needs to be FUNCTIONAL! If you feel that your workbench also needs to look good, that's fine... make it look good but that doesn't make it a better workbench.

Flat means true flat like a solid core door or a few layers of plywood. You can use solid wood to make your bench look good, but solid wood is not stable... it will move etc. unlike plywood and solid core doors (which can be bought cheap from any Habitat For Humanity stores or for free at construction sites [ ask for permission]). Consider a few layers of plywood glued together. By using a solid core door or plywood, you will not need worry about special clips etc... These man made materials are very stable. Last but not least... these man made materials will not move like solid wood. They will remain FLAT!

The SOLID ingredient is found in the base. For my bench, I used a 4X4 frame secured to the floor and I also have my bench secured to the wall. Just make sure you can't move your bench by pushing it from all 4 directions or by lifting it

Functional is a bit more tricky as MT pointed out... what do you want to make on your bench? But one thing to consider is "DO NOT GLUE THE TOP SURFACE. MT has Formica as his work surface which is an excellent choice because glue will not stick to it. I have a 1/4 inch hardboard which can be replaced for under $10. I countersinked the screws to keep my surface flat.
Thanks for all the tips, I think I will go with your suggestions and get a solid core door.

I looked today at my habitat store and they had some for $40 for a 30". Should the end with the hole cut through it for door handle be cut off or just leave it?
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-07-2015, 12:07 AM
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Leave the hole but install the bench so it is on the back side. If you're fortunate enough to be setting up a walk around bench - leave it be. The idea is to screw a top layer to the door so if you damage the top, unscrew it, remove it and replace it with a new top. My top layer is a 1/4 inch hardboard at a cost of $10.

Here are a few pictures of my bench... #1 is layers (solid core door with 1/2 inch hardboard and T-tracks screwed onto the door. The last layer is 1/4 inch hardboard which brings my surface above the T-tracks and can also be replaced for under $10.

2nd picture shows off my T-tracks which have served me very well - better then any fancy European bench with dog holes. It doesn't look as pretty but is more functional...

Picture #3 shows the versatility of my bench to do edge work (bench offers a few other options to do the same task).

Picture #4... I have a couple of miniature saw horses I can secure onto my bench so I can cut or drill work pieces without damaging my bench - I secure or remove these in less then 1 minute.

Picture #5 shows my dovetail jig secured onto my bench and it took less then a minute. I mounted the jig onto a piece of ply. I also have a few other tools and a swivel vise mounted on their own pieces of ply... all secured in less then a minute...
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Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.

Last edited by BernieL; 11-07-2015 at 12:23 AM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-07-2015, 12:22 AM
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So I didn't have room for picture #5 - here it is...

Let me show the versatility of my bench. With a simple piece of bamboo flooring which can act as a fence (the fence being 1?2 inch thick which allows me to hand plane boards without bumping the fence). I can pinch my work piece onto me bench for a secure hold...

Doing accurate dadoes is easy for me. I have different spacer blocks for different routers and bits. With simple reference lines pre-drawn on my work piece, I simply place my spacer block on the line, pinch my board with the pinch on other side of spacer and run my router against the fence for my easy perfect cut.

Last picture is the final perfect result...
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Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-07-2015, 02:16 AM
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@BernieL - I remember seeing your bench a while back, and the wooden hand screw clamp mods caught my eye. I have modified several to use on my work bench and they work great. You just can't beat a third (or fourth) hand when you are working by yourself!
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-23-2015, 05:32 PM
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I got a solid door for top of bench I'm making. What do you guys do about the edges especially the door hinge cut outs since that side will be the side that's going to have a front vice?
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-23-2015, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevortdogR View Post
I got a solid door for top of bench I'm making. What do you guys do about the edges especially the door hinge cut outs since that side will be the side that's going to have a front vice?
I cut my door to fit the top. So the edges were trimmed off. Then I attached some 3/4 x 2 inch strips on the edges.

Hope this helps.
Mike
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-23-2015, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MT Stringer View Post
I cut my door to fit the top. So the edges were trimmed off. Then I attached some 3/4 x 2 inch strips on the edges.

Hope this helps.
Mike
Did you use hardwood or what material did you use for it?
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post #11 of 11 Old 11-23-2015, 09:05 PM
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Did you use hardwood or what material did you use for it?
Oak. Because that is what I had on hand.
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