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Workbench Top

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Workbench Top

Unread postAuthor: Velocity » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:35 pm

Alright, I recently moved, and almost finished construction on a beautiful workbench. It is a great height, very stable and the perfect size. However, I speak only of the support; the actual table sucks. I used (6) 2x6's (Yeah, I could have used other sizes, but I did this) to make the top of the table, and it is very uneven. The wood started off fine, but has warped a lot, and this makes me VERY angry, as I am a perfectionist. I took off one of the top boards, and I intend to do that to the others as well. For the upgraded top, I first will lay down a piece of plywood to make aligning things easier and to possibly give it a little more strength.

I certainly cannot have a piece of plywood as the top of the bench; it will be too weak and flimsy, especially considering my bench grinder and 6" vice will be mounted on either side of the part of the bench that is sticking out, unsupported.

I need to get a good material to use as the actual bench top. Does anyone have any ideas. I thought that a metal, like aluminum, would be ideal, but I think it might be expensive to get such a large piece (it would be like 72" x 33"). However, aluminum is stronger than wood in some respects, meaning it probably would not have to be 1.5" thick like the wood.

Another idea would be to buy some type of counter top material from the Home Depot or something. I don't really know a lot about this idea.

Can anyone suggest something that would work well? I really don't want to use 2x6's or 2x12's, or any wood plank, because I really hate the warping. If you know any good websites that have some information, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Unread postAuthor: ShowNoMercy » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:37 pm

Build it like a deck, have a pattern of boards checker board under a top layer of plywood?
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Unread postAuthor: Velocity » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:39 pm

Do you have a picture or something? I haven't built a deck before, so I am not really sure what you mean.

Would MDF be a good option? I have heard good things about it...
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Re: Workbench Top

Unread postAuthor: BigGrib » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:48 pm

rmich732 wrote:
I certainly cannot have a piece of plywood as the top of the bench; it will be too weak and flimsy, especially considering my bench grinder and 6" vice will be mounted on either side of the part of the bench that is sticking out, unsupported.


My workbench is 3/4" plywood with a nice laquer finish with 4x4's for legs and 2x6's to support the legs and 2x4's to support the top and my workbench is never been sturdier and i have a bench grinder 8" vise and a drill press, so don't tell me plywood isn't sturdy for a workbench top
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Unread postAuthor: Velocity » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:54 pm

Grib, I got a similar setup. My workbench legs are 4x4's, and there are 2x6's to support the legs and the top.

I guess if I used thick plywood (3/4" and up), it might be able to function as a good workbench top.

EDIT: I was doing some research, and I think I might have found the best material for workbench tops: Maple wood. Its strong and everyone who knows something about workbenches (or those on the internet who know something... or do they :roll: :? :wink: ) recommend it. Its expensive.... REALLY expensive from what I see, compared to the cheap-o wood you can buy at Home Depot. I saw a piece, 72" x 36" x 1.75" that would be PERFECT. Its already treated and everything. However, $300 with shipping :shock: :shock: :shock: :!: :violent1: :sign6: !!!1!!!one!!!eleven!!! And yes, that price DID deserve all that :lol: .

I don't know... its REALLY tempting... but its WAY out of my price range... and possibly overkill as well.
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Last edited by Velocity on Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postAuthor: BigGrib » Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:42 pm

oh dude it's awesome this whole thing doesn't move and inch, once i get my cracked concrete floor fixed, i'm gonna redhead the whole thing down so it doesn't move side to side at all, it's fairly sturdy right now but there is just a little bit of movement that i'd like to take out of it. my dad has the same bench just a bit bigger and he has his bolted to the wall of his shop but i want mine bolted to the floor, i'm just lazy and don't want to jack hammer out the old floor and repour it
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Unread postAuthor: pyrogeek » Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:07 am

My work bench is in need of some new legs and supports. But it has like 1inch thick plywood. That doesn't do much good when it wobbles side to side and buckles though.
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Unread postAuthor: octane89 » Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:10 am

Couldn't you use a piece of lumber underneath to support the plywood? Just like supports but parallel with the ground.
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Unread postAuthor: CS » Thu Dec 06, 2007 4:29 am

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Glue lam headers make great bench tops. Ones on my bench are about 1 1/2" thick, and 18" wide. Then since my bench is 2' deep, I just have these 2' lengths running side-by-side. Then I topped it with a piece of Masonite I ripped in half. The glue lams by them selfs are fairly straight, however the joints would get pretty damn annoying.

I got both my lathe, and mill on the mentioned bench. That's about ~500 lbs. for the 2'x8' bench. Very sturdy, of course I used 4x4's for the legs, but given a solid base the glue lams are very sturdy. They are designed to hold a lot of weight, and warp a minimal amount.

Retail the glue lams are several bucks a foot, however since they come in long continuous lengths they will have 1'-3' cut-offs laying around at a lumber yard. I think I only spent about ~10-15 bucks on all the glue lams I needed. (Mind you I actually have two of these 2'x8' benches)
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Unread postAuthor: rna_duelers » Thu Dec 06, 2007 4:42 am

Mine is a hardwood frame with some flooring chip board as the top and it's hasn't failed yet,strong sturdy and was cheapish.Although hardwood is cheap and as avaliable as pine wood is to you.


I would advise against MDF,it doesn't take wear and tear after long periods of time to well and if it gets wet then it will fall apart very easily.
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Unread postAuthor: jrrdw » Thu Dec 06, 2007 5:53 am

3/4" plywood with sheet metal top. Most shops call this type bench, a break down bench. Installed at a tiny grade with a hole over a bucket or small drum of some kind to catch fluids from what ever your working on. Normaly found in transmissions shops, small engine shops. Easy to make, kinda cost effective. Could probly build the hole thing for under that $300.00 mention above.
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Unread postAuthor: Maniac » Thu Dec 06, 2007 4:28 pm

as pimp man mentioned masonite is a good top to a work bench you can buy a large sheet of it for pretty low
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Unread postAuthor: sjog » Thu Dec 06, 2007 6:48 pm

Bench frame should be made out of ply wood rips, will not warp or twist.
Rip ply to width, 3ft has good depth. Rip the 1ft left over to 2 1/2- 3".
Lap joint narrow pieces to get total length, and 1 1/2 thickness Pre-drill screw top and bottom together.
Use 3/4 CDX for bottom 3/4 MDO for top. MDO has smoth, water proof ,
paper like finish. Very durable, I wax mine in the work area to seal.
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Unread postAuthor: mark.f » Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:37 am

My work surface is made from "cheapo" plywood gotten from Home Depot, and it is great.

Here's what I did and what you'll need to make this kind of bench-top:

One sheet of 4x8' 3/4" Oak plywood. This is the good stuff that costs around 40 dollars a sheet. :( It makes a great work surface when you seal it with some polyurethane. But here's the trick, I wanted a sturdy work surface, and I didn't want to waste all that extra wood if I just cut it to size and used one layer.

So, I cut it into two equal 2x8' lengths. Then, I coated the top of one with wood glue, (you can use liquid nails or similar, but I just used wood glue because the surface area was tremendous 8) ), and stacked them together. My entire weight set distributed evenly over the construction along with 24 hours and It was ready. Just cut it to length and sealed it, and voila.

I've got a picture on my camera. I'm booting up the living room computer as I type, (no flash card reader on this one). I've got my computer in the center ATM, and I've got a good area on either left or right of that to work on.
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Unread postAuthor: WOW!! » Fri Dec 07, 2007 5:47 pm

Best thing to do is take some 3/4'' hardwood, structural plywood(Its rated for things like walls and floors in building codes) then get some 1/8'' plate and put it underneath of the wood were you are going to mount your tools, this way it will act as a big washer for your bolts. IMO, that is the best price workbench top, I had mine like that for 5 years now and it has been perfect.

And I think that the glue lam headers are a bit much. Because glue lam means there are 2 2x's glued and nailed together, ths giving you a 3'' top, if you are going that route get some center section I beam, its 1/2-3/'4 thick and it is rated.

Ill make a drawing of it for you to show ya, and were did you move to?
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