Workbench with swappable top - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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Post Workbench with swappable top

Hello

I am currently in the process of designing a workbench.

My main feature would be that one side of the workbench has some soldering/electric/cutting mats stuck on it for my most common requirements, and the other side of the top is left perfectly flat wood for when i need it for general purpose / need something large and flat on it. Hence i'd like that the top can somehow come off, get put upside down and reattached. To keep the flat side completely flat however i'd need to make sure there is no protruding part coming out of it to attach it to the frame/apron of the workbench (and ideally not requiring powertools to just swap the top)

to note. this is a somewhat large bench so one full slab is being used for the top, (and would avoid having to have two interjoined somehow as that would increase the weight significantly)

Is there anything of the sort that can be done?
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 07:52 AM
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welcome to the forum
it would help a lot if you provide some information on what kind
of projects you like to do most of the time.
what kind of "cutting mat" do you need. like a kitchen plastic cutting board?
or thin sheet plastic like on a drafting table or signmakers table.
as well as what part of the world do you live in.
and maybe some photos of your workspace.
we all have different perspectives of size: what size do you consider "large" ??
when you use the word "slab" we think of one huge piece of tree wood.
I think you mean one sheet of plywood for the work surface that one person
can easily flip over alone without help ?

.

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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 11-11-2019 at 08:55 AM.
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 08:47 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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My work surface/assembly table .....

I need a dead flat and strong assembly table which also acts as the outfeed table dfor a triple table saw that's 10 ft wide. I decided to make a torsion box, flat and very stiff. I got 30" X 10' counter top particle board for the top and bottom and then got a 3rd piece to act as a replaceable and flipable top surface.



Here's how I did mine:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/t...sizing-104889/



The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 10:53 AM
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Why not buy some 1/8 inch hardboard and make workbench tops from it? A 4x8 foot sheet of hardboard sells for $8 at the big box store. Look for "Hardboard Tempered Panel."

I made a simple protective top for my spouse's workbench from hardboard. I drilled two "dog holes" in the hardboard to match the dog holes on the outer corners of the workbench, and use short dog "pegs" to hold it in place. I can easily remove the dogs if they get in the way, and the entire top is lightweight and easily removed for traditional woodworking.

You can easily make multiple hardboard tops, one for electric/soldering, one for glue-ups, etc. etc. etc. They are cheap, light, thin, and easily replaced when they get yucky.

KISS.
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 12:44 PM
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Swapable top sounds like a great idea, however I get this image in my mind of me spending half an hour just to clear the top so I can flip it.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #6 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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by large i mean 1.7x1.5m so not an entire slab as in a tree trunk.
The side of the cutting mat etc i'm fine on setting up. The only thing i'm not sure on how to do is securely place both sides of the worktop on the frame when i need them, so they aren't loose and no bolts/attachment in the way when it's the other way round.
The idea is that when i want to swap over what i'm doing i merely take off the top, turn it over and place it the other way round.
Ideally it's one bench with two sides that are revresable rather than two worktops to avoid having to store entire worktops apart from the main one.
As for location i'm in Malta (Europe)
I'd like this to be odne mostly of hardwood. At that size of a surface i would be able to lift it while gaining the benefits of hardwood's durability.

woodnthings, not entirely sure from what i'm seeing how the countertop is replacable?
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 01:48 PM
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so basically the top will be about 67 inches by 59 inches which could be
considerable weight and size to flip alone if it is made from dense hardwood.
if you build a really sturdy frame with lots of support for the top, the top does
not have to be overly thick to do its job.
I am thinking that just the weight alone will hold the top in place
on the frame without any movement issues. for a little insurance,
you could put a couple of short dowels on the ends to match holes in the top.
that way there are no protruding metal parts sticking out of the top.
now I fully understand your project.
I would avoid particle board and MDF as the edges will get
chipped while handling and it is very heavy.
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 02:43 PM
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Do you have to flip the entire top, it would be a lot lighter if you only flipped one half of it and a lot more convenient at times, benches naturally collect stuff even to those of us with the best of intentions.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #9 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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hmm i like the idea of the dowels might try that.

I had an idea in the mean time. Would it be possibel to have the frame of the table double with the outer layer longer, and the table top fit inside it? Not sure how much of a pain removing it would be however since it would be fitting inside a box. Benefit would be that hte top wouldn't have holes at all, but i imagine it's harder to setup in genreal.
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 04:08 PM
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sure - leave a way to get your arm under it and push it up.
I made a coffee table for a friend with the same concept.
the 1/4" glass sat inside of the frame with photos under the glass.
I drilled a hole in the bottom of the frame so a pencil could be used
to push the glass up to be removed.

.

.

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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 11-11-2019 at 04:20 PM.
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post #11 of 11 Old 11-12-2019, 03:27 PM
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i've had the same 3'x6' workbench for almost 40 years, it was my dad's workbench before that
it's had a lot of projects on top of it: wood (obviously), metal, electrical, paint, fiberglass, automotive, etc...
top is 2&6 T&G cedar. i screw jigs/fixtures/stops to it, probably 1000+ screw holes over the years
it's no worse for wear than when i got it, i keep cardboard handy for when it needs protection from gooey stuff

unless this workbench is in your living room, i think your making more work than needed
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