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Blog entry by SteveCo posted 01-02-2010 03:46 AM 798 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am in the process of redoing my shops counter tops, (been using formica) but I am looking for a change. Formica is brittle at best… so, I guess I need something durable, Any great ideas out there?

-- My "Bench Dog"... her name is Sugie.

10 comments so far

View Roz's profile


1693 posts in 3208 days

#1 posted 01-02-2010 05:39 AM

I saw Norm Abrams build a counter top for his shop using 3/4 inch CDX covered with hard board. I did it and it worked very well. It takes the pounding and the hard board is held down with screws allowing it to be replaced easily if required. All these materials are inexpensive and durable. I treated the hard board with Johnston’s Paste Wax and it resist water, paint and glue comes off easily. It looks good too.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2999 days

#2 posted 01-02-2010 05:48 AM

I’ve done the same thing except I use 1/4” melamine

-- Custom furniture

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 2947 days

#3 posted 01-02-2010 06:10 AM

I use 1/4 hardboard on a few of my tables, and melamine on the others. I wax both surfaces and it works very well. It’s also cheap so when it gets old and beat up I just replace it.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View SteveCo's profile


14 posts in 2489 days

#4 posted 01-02-2010 06:40 AM

The CDX with hardboard is good, with paste wax on the surface might be the right combo. I think I’ll build a test panel and put it through a few tests. I would hate to redo all the tops and not be happy. I do like the idea.

Melamine… at least the stuff I have used is flashy for my humble adobe, I bet it looks great in ya’ll fancy shops.

-- My "Bench Dog"... her name is Sugie.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2730 days

#5 posted 01-02-2010 07:10 AM

I use 1/4” UHMW on my worktable. I never worry about glue sticking to it and it is durable.

View SteveCo's profile


14 posts in 2489 days

#6 posted 01-02-2010 03:55 PM

OK i’ll bite…. what is UHMW, I’m not up on some of the lingo.

-- My "Bench Dog"... her name is Sugie.

View NH_Hermit's profile


394 posts in 2518 days

#7 posted 01-02-2010 04:11 PM

Would you believe I met Norm Abrams once? We were in a sporting goods store in Ayer, MA buying fly tying stuff. A really nice fellow! I had to chuckle when I learned he never reveals the location of his workshop, but then think of all the folks that would show up there.

O.K. Enough lallygagging. We’ve a storm coming and I need to get in some more firewood and make sure the generator will start for me.

-- John from Hampstead

View SteveCo's profile


14 posts in 2489 days

#8 posted 01-02-2010 09:45 PM

I do understand the “UHMW” (Ultra-High Molecular Weight) Polyethylene… I been using it on my tablesaw fence for the last year or so. I just didn’t know what it’s meaning was.

-- My "Bench Dog"... her name is Sugie.

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3113 days

#9 posted 01-02-2010 09:50 PM

Ok Steve inlighten us to what UHMW is cos i have always had trouble understanding the lingo on here LOL..

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View SteveCo's profile


14 posts in 2489 days

#10 posted 01-03-2010 01:06 AM

Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene – UHMWPE.
Where did this come from? Must have been some research I did on the internet.

For some reason the industry has shorten the acronym from UHMW-PE to “UHMW”

Anyway this product has outstanding toughness against cut, wear resistance along with excellent chemical resistance and good low temperature impact resistance. It has an excellent low friction rate, this just might be a good reason why it works so well for saw fences and anyplace that gets a ton of wear and tear. Plus it is easily machined, giving us the ability to run our saw blade up against it if need without ruining an expensive blade.

There are glues that will work with UHMW, all though I like the double sided sticky tape, the type that is just tape (not foam). They say it will dull your blades, I’ve not cut enough to know for sure. I have used a router to round edges and rasp to clean up any rough spots.

It comes in many shapes, thickness and sizes. I have used tape (sticky on one side) and small thin sheets, but nothing bigger then 4” wide. It is relatively expensive, but it does a great job of saving your saw fence and does well when shoving large sheets of material through your table saw. I have only used white (color) but there are more than just that color available.

-- My "Bench Dog"... her name is Sugie.

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