Benchtop/Router Table Top advice needed, please

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Forum topic by sikrap posted 11-30-2009 03:04 AM 1114 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1121 posts in 2780 days

11-30-2009 03:04 AM

I’m going to try to build a bench and a router table this week and I’m confused about the tops. I have seen posts suggesting 2 layers of 3/4” MDF (glued together and laminated), 1 layer of MDF over a layer of 3/4” plywood, and 2 layers of plywood. I’ve read about 30 issues (each) of FWW, AW, and Woodsmith and I’ve seen all of these types used.The cost difference isn’t an issue, as I would much rather spend an extra $10 for the plywood than get frustrated with MDF that won’t be flat/rigid enough. Would 2 layers of plywood be less likely to sag on the router table? Will 2 layers of MDF be flatter? Can I use laminate with kittens on it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

5 replies so far

View End_Grain's profile


95 posts in 2558 days

#1 posted 11-30-2009 04:55 AM

Take a look at my workbench in my projects. It is made of 3/4” plywood. It is stout enough for sure. Weighs a ton also. It’s not a laminate hardwood top but then again I needed something now and at a reasonable cost. Materials were under 180.00 and would be 150 if I didn’t use cabinet grade plywood. I can’t imagine another layer of plywood anywhere on it. That would be a waste of money. As far as flatness of the bench, like one member said, ‘When I want something I know is flat, I go back to my table saw as the reference.’ Can’t help on the router table as I use a shaper. If you want the plans to the bench, PM me with your e-mail address

-- My greatest fear is that when I die, my wife will sell all my stuff for what I told her I bought it for.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#2 posted 11-30-2009 05:01 AM

Hey Dave
This is what setting up shop is about ,you did your home work now pick one you think is best, If not upgrade to one of the other plans after giving your first plan a try for some time.

-- Custom furniture

View Keith Shipp's profile

Keith Shipp

96 posts in 2754 days

#3 posted 11-30-2009 05:23 AM

I used some Laminated Particle board for a top and the same material for the sides. I biscuit-ed the sides to the underside of the top for strength and sealed any exposed board with poly. This is bolted to the right side of my Rigid table saw and it works great. I have had no sag as it is secured on 3 sides. The sides support the strength similarly to a torsion box.

-- Keith, Bolingbrook, Illinois. The way I figure it I only have the rest of my life to get good at this...

View BlankMan's profile


1488 posts in 2774 days

#4 posted 11-30-2009 05:23 AM

Someone recently asked a similar question in this thread and there’s a link showing the process of how I made mine. I used 3/4” particle board and laminated pieces onto it as ribbing for added stiffness. Then laminated Formica to the top sides and bottom around the edges. I chose particle board over MDF mostly because I felt it will hold up better in the long run and not sag. It’s straight and flat, had no problem there. The original table that this one replaced, 3/4” single layer MDF sagged and was why I replaced it. I also sealed the exposed areas with 3 coats of poly to keep the humidity out since it is in my basement.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 2780 days

#5 posted 11-30-2009 05:28 AM

Thanks!! I’m going to use the plans for the “Plywood Bench” from FWW. Its certainly not my dream bench, but it will give me something that I can use for the short term and then I can build a better one and give this one to my son. I guess my question had more to do with the top for the router table. Then again, I could always replace the top fairly inexpensively if the first attempt doesn’t work out.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

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