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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After a brief flirtation with the Harbor Freight workbench, I've decided to build my own. The plan that I like calls for a top made from 3/4" plywood. But I wondered about using a kitchen butcherblock countertop for the top. There's a salvage place near me, and if I found a butcherblock top that would work, would that be worth considering? Or are kitchen countertops made in such a way that it wouldn't really be sufficient?

Thanks,
Harry
 

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Depending on what you want to do with the bench and what kind of wood the block is made from, it could be a very viable option. I have the Harbor Freight bench, and it's adequate for holding stuff, but any serious bench work can get dicey. I was planing some short stock in the tail vice, and it failed just enough for the stock to roll, pinning my hand and breaking my finger at nearly a 90 degree angle. Nasty business. Luckily, it was my "off" hand, and hasn't been too much of a hindrance. I'm building a new bench dedicated to planing, carving, etc. I'm using some old white oak I salvaged from a tear-out in my neighborhood.

I think a butchers block made of a hard wood, like hard maple or something analogous would be capable of most anything you throw at it. A picture of the block in question would definitely help. Either way, good luck!

WCT
 

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When I moved most of my tools from the garage to the basement last fall I slapped together a workbench using a solid core slab door as the top. Sturdy, heavy, flat, cheap and not terribly ugly. Something to consider perhaps...
 

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I've also heard of people using Ikea wood countertop as a workbench top, so I think it'd work. The primary concern would be if it was as thick as you'd want, otherwise any support issues should be able to be taken into consideration when you build the base.
 

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Ikea sells butcher block tops that are relatively cheap.. I helped my sister install one in her kitchen last year and thought it would make a nice bench top. I think hers was solid beech and they have birch too. They are quite a bit cheaper than the tops sold by woodcraft.. Although they are only 1 1/2" thick vs 1 3/4".

I currently have a low end Sjobergs bench and am also looking to upgrade. One thing I'm looking for is a thicker top - although the top on the bench looks beefy the area around the bench dog holes is only 3/4" deep. I've wanted to get a holdfast and some other accessories that use dog holes and most require a 1 1/2" to 1 3/4" top to work - so if you stick to your original plan of using plywood I'd suggest using at least 2 sheets thick for the top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This design has an underlying piece of 3/4" plywood, can calls for a second 3/4" piece on top. I'm thinking of replacing the top piece of plywood with the butcherblock. Assuming I could find one.

Harry
 

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This design has an underlying piece of 3/4" plywood, can calls for a second 3/4" piece on top. I'm thinking of replacing the top piece of plywood with the butcherblock. Assuming I could find one.
The design is likely based on the top piece of plywood being the wearable layer, which will take the bashes, dings, cuts, etc and then be replaced at a future point in time.

If you find the butcherblock it will likely be thick enough by itself. You can then decide if you want to use this as-is, or to add a top wearable layer. In this case, the top layer could be just 1/4in thick.
 

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A kitchen counter top should be just fine. Check it carefully to be sure all the glue joints are tight.

A final thought. If it's not at least 1 1/2" thick, it may not make a good workbench top.
 

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I made my last table using salvage house solid core door 1.75 inch thick over 2X4 framework.
First one was double 3/4 inch thick plytwood over 2X4 framework.

Ray
 

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how much do you want to spend, and do you have the tools to be able to flatten a top yourself? it is pretty straightforward to make your own top by gluing either 2x4 type planks together (SPF or whatever hardwood you choose), but you need either a hand plane or a thickness planing machine to flatten it.
 

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Another option is the American Cherry butcherblock countertops from Lumber Liquidators. Made in Vermont to order in 8, 10 and 12' lengths (if I remember right), about 4 weeks for free delivery to local store (or pay for home shipment). They are 1.5" thick, I think...thicker than ikea. Caveat: only one side is finished/filled...shouldn't matter for workbench.

I was happy with what I got for about $800 (a 12' and an 8'), the "scraps" from sink/cooktop holes made backsplash and a kitchen island, still have pieces laying around for odd uses.

Just another pre-made BB countertop idea.
 

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Cabinetstogo.com sells 8 ft x 2 ft x1.5 in birch butcher block countertops for $200. 12 foot lengths are $279. If your budget allows that it might be a really good option.
 

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+1 on the solid core door, just the right size for my shop and it will hold up. I have had mine for 10 years, and 2 years ago I redid the top left over laminated flooring I had left over from my dining room floor redo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My current workbench has a solid core door as a top, and it's held up well, but I'm going to repurpose the workbench, so I'm building a new bench. I'm starting to lean towards using plywood like the plans call for, but another solid core door is a possibility. I don't think I want to spring for a butcher block top right now, I've got other priorities for spending my workshop stash.

Harry
 

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I have always built my bench tops with a double layer of 3/4 birch plywood and have been very happy it. They are very rigid and very flat.

I often wondered about a single 3/4 layer of MDF and a 3/4 inch layer of ply glued together. Any one here ever do it?
 
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