Your thoughts on a workbench top - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-07-2013, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Your thoughts on a workbench top

I built a workbench from plans in a magazine. They called for an MDF top, edged by 2x4 stock. I thought I'd go with an oak plywood as the top layer. I've not put the edge on yet, as I'm thinking of a change. My question is, would you just put the edge on, or raise it be 1/4" and drop in a sheet of hardboard for the work surface? Obviously the benefit would be the ability to change it out when the inevitable happens.
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-07-2013, 10:28 AM
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1/4" hardboard for renewal purposes is a good idea.

there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-07-2013, 10:43 AM
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Or 5 coats of poly on the oak..... Sure would be pretty....
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-07-2013, 11:01 AM
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MDF is used because it's cheaper of course but there's more to it then just that. It is heavier and it stays flat. Plywood can warp with weather change and make everything out of whack. I see no reason to wast money on the oak plywood but it you do use it on the top layer. I would glue and screw/nail the sheets together.

As for the 1/4" hardboard it wouldn't be a bad idea. Only question is will it just float on the top or will you secure it somehow? If it just floats on top dirt/dust and other things will find there way under it and the top may become uneven or unstable.
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-07-2013, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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I used the oak on top, thinking it would be tougher. I didn't realize warping would be a problem. I did glue and screw it to the MDF. Is there anything else I can do to avoid that problem?
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-07-2013, 02:26 PM
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May depend on where you live.... I'm in Georgia, and used a good grade of ordinary plywood...
I screwed it to the frame countersinking the screws, filled the holes, and put many coats of poly on it..
3 years and haven't had any issues.....
It's 14 feet long and even to seam has stayed together....

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post #7 of 13 Old 05-07-2013, 02:28 PM
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The oak on oak plywood is almost microscopic in thickness--it's just cosmetic and won't standup to any rough use at all.

For just a little more, you can do it yourself.

Last edited by ed_h; 05-07-2013 at 02:32 PM.
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-07-2013, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed_h
The oak on oak plywood is almost microscopic in thickness--it's just cosmetic and won't standup to any rough use at all.
So your vote would be hardboard on top? I did notice the plywood was much easier to drill through than the MDF.
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-07-2013, 02:39 PM
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A sheet of hardboard is a good idea. Some hardboard have shiny finish and I'll bet you can glue projects, stain or paint and nothing will stick to it. I covered my original bench with bamboo flooring and it's worked out nicely. The bamboo flooring is 1/2" thick and the box was $55. I used half of it to cover my bench which is 30" X 80". Check it out. Of course I added lots of ideas to it.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/ve...-unique-40361/

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post #10 of 13 Old 05-07-2013, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BernieL
A sheet of hardboard is a good idea. Some hardboard have shiny finish and I'll bet you can glue projects, stain or paint and nothing will stick to it. I covered my original bench with bamboo flooring and it's worked out nicely. The bamboo flooring is 1/2" thick and the box was $55. I used half of it to cover my bench which is 30" X 80". Check it out. Of course I added lots of ideas to it.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/ve...-unique-40361/
The box of bamboo was $55? Sounds like a steal.
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post #11 of 13 Old 05-07-2013, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bastien View Post
So your vote would be hardboard on top? I did notice the plywood was much easier to drill through than the MDF.
The Oak veneer plywood will work as well as anything, it's just that the thin oak isn't very durable and will get messed up. A sacrificial layer of MDF or hardboard is easy to replace, and you won't mind gouging it.

For just a little more, you can do it yourself.
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post #12 of 13 Old 05-07-2013, 10:00 PM
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I wouldn't use any plywood for a work bench. Build it from MDF and make it a torsion box. That will stay flat and be heavy enough to build on. Get a box of bamboo and top it off with that. Bamboo is not wood its a grass. The way they cut it and laminate it makes it hard as a rock, looks good and has a finish that most spills will wipe off.

Short of that I would glue up some maple and make it for a life time.

Al

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This is an assembly bench. Made low to do assembly. Its flat, hard and cheap to build.

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post #13 of 13 Old 05-08-2013, 12:09 AM
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I used european beech on mine, I wanted one to pass down to my son. The beech cost about $135., had a guy in Eugene, OR. (redwood table maker) cut it and glue it up for $100., as I was still commuting weekly from St. Louis, MO to Salem, OR. Then when I retired I was ready to hit the saw. The purpleheart cost $25. All in all I love it and was able to enjoy carving the front door on it. I am attaching a pic.
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