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brucet999 03-08-2019 09:13 PM

best material for workbench top
 
I need to replace the splintery top of my workbench; 81" x 30". What is the best material to use?

Is there any reason not to use plywood with formica laminate?

Thanks

woodnthings 03-08-2019 10:50 PM

Yes, that's too slippery ......
 
You want a smooth surface that's not too slippery because everything you use pressure against will move away from you too easily. I use 3/4" countertop particle board with 2 or 3 coats of shellac. It's stlll easy to pop off the glue drops, but not so slick I'm chasing my projects around on it. I also needed it 30" x 120" long, so it was a perfect fit. It's also been flipped over one time to refresh the surface, although it wasn't really all that buggered up....

GuitarPhotographer 03-08-2019 11:53 PM

I put 3/16" tempered Masonite (hardboard) on my workbench top. That way when it gets too buggered to use, I just remove the screwed-down top layer and replace only that.


My $0.02 worth

Chris Curl 03-09-2019 01:09 AM

I built my workbench using construction lumber 2x6s. It is very heavy, but also very soft, and dings easily. I covered mine with hardboard (masonite). that helps alot.

FrankC 03-09-2019 01:26 AM

I use leftover laminate flooring, it just lays on top of the bench.

Steve Neul 03-09-2019 08:47 AM

I normally use 3/4" birch plywood for a bench top with the exception of a carving bench where I hammer on it often which has a 2" thick ash top. It needs to be more solid.

justdraftn 03-09-2019 09:20 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I built a new bench top w/const grade 2x4. Jointed w/3/8" dowels.
It is really heavy and stands up to most any kind of pounding.
Put a piece of T track in the middle and made some hold downs.
Works very well.
If the top get too gnarled I'll just put a piece of Masonite on it.

Attachment 372799

GeorgeC 03-09-2019 11:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GuitarPhotographer (Post 2043177)
I put 3/16" tempered Masonite (hardboard) on my workbench top. That way when it gets too buggered to use, I just remove the screwed-down top layer and replace only that.


My $0.02 worth


I do the same.



George

Tony B 03-09-2019 11:48 AM

I have always used 3/4" plywood on my workbench, with no finish, no nothing. I dont ever use a finishing product on it and I certainly don't want any oil on it. In addition to the normal power tools for woodworking, there are thse times that I need to use my workbench for whatever. when I need to hold things in place I dont think twice about using a brad nailer to nail stuff down. "

I also always had assembly tables and they were always covered with laminate. With laminate, I could make a quick sketch or notes with a marker or a dry erase marker. Glue, epoxy, stain, and just about everything else will quickly come off of plastic laminate with the help of a little lacquer thinner on a rag.

Larry42 03-09-2019 02:16 PM

The ideas of using a replaceable material seem valid. Particle board, MDF are cheap and readily available. I personally wouldn't use plywood, voids, splinters. A lot depends on how you use your bench. I have a German made cabinet makers bench that has a lot of advantages for work holding. The top is laminated beech. I got it used and it was pretty beat up. I did some repairs and it works well. It has the traditional waist and end vices plus bench dogs.

Brian T 03-09-2019 03:25 PM

I drew a grid of black felt marker lines on the lid of my white deep freezer. That's my assembly bench.
My 96" "work" bench is just construction 2x6, unfinished. Lots of dings and cuts and bolt holes.
I made a ladder frame of 2x4 and screwed the 2x6 to that. Expedient? Exactly.

pots43 03-09-2019 04:33 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I have a very heavy steel roll around that I glued some southern pine 2x4 together to fit on top.
Tom

bhud35 03-09-2019 05:01 PM

Mine is 1/4" particle board on top of 3/4" plywood. Works great and has handled all the abuse I've thrown at it.

Brian

For Step-by-Step Designs, I use Ted's Woodworking: http://bhud35.tedsplans.hop.**************?tid=tracking

Jay C. White Cloud 03-09-2019 11:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brucet999 (Post 2043161)
I need to replace the splintery top of my workbench; 81" x 30". What is the best material to use?

Is there any reason not to use plywood with formica laminate?

Thanks

Hi Bruce,

I do not see why you couldn't use a plywood material. I don't (for the most part) think there is a "wrong material" for a bench top. Choose what works for what you want it to do. Formica is really smooth, but it can work well for some types of work, yet may not hold up as well to scratching and digging as other materials, so may only be applicable to certain types of liter (less abusive?) projects...

I like traditional bench types the most...and as such...I just "resruface" tops when they actually need it.

Does your bench have enough thickness to yield a new top surface if you take away 3mm to 6mm from it?

brucet999 03-10-2019 01:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jay C. White Cloud (Post 2043399)
Hi Bruce,

Does your bench have enough thickness to yield a new top surface if you take away 3mm to 6mm from it?

I'd say so. It is made in about 1940, of 2x10 doug fir nailed with 10d commons. Might be a little difficult to plane smooth with those big nail heads, but certainly substantial enough to support something like hardboard or MDF to make a smooth, non-splintery surface.

Jay C. White Cloud 03-10-2019 03:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brucet999 (Post 2043427)
I'd say so. It is made in about 1940, of 2x10 doug fir nailed with 10d commons. Might be a little difficult to plane smooth with those big nail heads, but certainly substantial enough to support something like hardboard or MDF to make a smooth, non-splintery surface.

Go for it Bruce...that sounds like a bench with "great bones" and will last several generations if a new top is added when necessary. You will know soon enough if you choice was a wise one (for you) and there is not reason the additions of a new top can't be reversible in the future, should you chose to do so.

Pictures of the "before and after" would be fun to see...:grin:

jld123 03-10-2019 10:41 PM

bench top
 
I got an industrial door from a hospital. 1 3/4 thick, very heavy duty formica surface that so far no chemical hurts it. easy to clean,had it for 30 years.

Onefreetexan 03-11-2019 09:49 PM

Probably not much help,,, However my work bench is 2 1/2í thick of what kind of wood, I donít know....maybe walnut, maybe beech,,, It is a workbench removed from a WWII factory.....so over 60 yrs olde, I give it a rough sand every few years, holds up great for me.

_Ogre 03-12-2019 02:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Curl (Post 2043183)
I built my workbench using construction lumber 2x6s. It is very heavy, but also very soft, and dings easily. I covered mine with hardboard (masonite). that helps alot.

i did this too*, my workbench is 2x6 t&g, though i don't cover mine with hardboard.
i screw, nail and drill into my all the time without thinking about it.
need a stop? screw one down

*actually my father made this workbench 40 yrs ago, same top in use

Cornstalk Wood 03-14-2019 07:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brucet999 (Post 2043161)
I need to replace the splintery top of my workbench; 81" x 30". What is the best material to use?

Is there any reason not to use plywood with formica laminate?

Thanks

I’ll take the other perspective. In my small basement shop I re-used a large island countertop (laminate) as an outfeed table and workbench. I find that it is adequately slippery enough as an outfeed, while being durable enough for a work surface. When glue or other “stuff” gets on it, it’s easy to scrape, it stands up to most solvents to clean paints, and other coatings off. I like it!


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