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Would this make a good work bench top?

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Forum topic by DavidTTU posted 10-05-2015 11:23 PM 900 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DavidTTU

136 posts in 1301 days


10-05-2015 11:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: work bench top

I would like to build a real work bench for my shop. I am just in the beginning phases of planing and I am starting to look at materials. I have access to several old 8’ x 10’ solid core doors. They are about 1.5 ” thick of what looks to be pine with red oak on the outer most edges. I was thinking I could slice them in 2” wide slices and turn them 90 degrees to glue up for a bench top.

I have attached some pictures of the wood. If you could give me some advice I would appreciate it.

1. what kind of wood do you think it is.
2. Would you use it?
3. Would it make a flat solid bench top surface?
4. How thick would you make it?

I plan on using this bench for hand tools and furniture building.

Cheers,


14 replies so far

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DavidTTU

136 posts in 1301 days


#1 posted 10-05-2015 11:27 PM

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01ntrain

170 posts in 736 days


#2 posted 10-06-2015 12:10 AM

I think you’ve already answered all of the pertinent questions, yourself. That is indeed a pine/red-oak door-rail. The only thing missing is the face-veneer.

I don’t see why you couldn’t do what you’re talking about, I think it would make a fine workbench top.

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bondogaposis

4283 posts in 2017 days


#3 posted 10-06-2015 01:29 AM

Yeah, that would work if you have enough of them. I made my bench 3 1/2” thick and I feel that is more than adequate.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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DavidTTU

136 posts in 1301 days


#4 posted 10-06-2015 01:42 PM

I think I will try 2” thick. Not sure if I can come up with enough doors to go three 1/2 thick.

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JayT

5318 posts in 1877 days


#5 posted 10-06-2015 02:45 PM

Why not just laminate two or three doors on top of each other instead going through all the extra work of ripping them, turning 90 degrees and re-gluing? I don’t think you would see any difference in strength or rigidity and it would save a lot of time and effort. You’d still need to flatten the faces to get good glue surface, but should come out ahead on time overall.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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rwe2156

2542 posts in 1147 days


#6 posted 10-06-2015 03:15 PM

I think you’re right about the pine (or spruce?).

I also agree with the poster re: just laminate 2 doors to make a 3” thick top.

Edge band with some oak.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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DavidTTU

136 posts in 1301 days


#7 posted 10-06-2015 03:47 PM

My thought was to rip them in strips so that I can use my planer to take off the 1/4” oak veener. Then I could flatten the face on my jointer. It does seem like a lot of work. I like the idea of laminating the doors together but I unsure of how to take care of the veener. Is it time to invest in a Jack plane?

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JayT

5318 posts in 1877 days


#8 posted 10-06-2015 04:11 PM

You are either going to have to find some way to remove/flatten the veneer or flatten the top after gluing all the strips together. Either way, it requires taking material off of and flattening a large surface.

I’d do it with a hand plane, others may use a router sled or wide belt sander. Just depends on what you have at your disposal.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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BasementShop

69 posts in 966 days


#9 posted 10-06-2015 05:29 PM

Color me curious…

Why not laminate two doors and then add a top-face layer? Are there serious concerns about the veneer layer de-laminating later while in use?

Thanks for helping me understand.

BasementShop

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HokieKen

2907 posts in 804 days


#10 posted 10-06-2015 07:43 PM



My thought was to rip them in strips so that I can use my planer to take off the 1/4” oak veener. Then I could flatten the face on my jointer. It does seem like a lot of work. I like the idea of laminating the doors together but I unsure of how to take care of the veener. Is it time to invest in a Jack plane?

- DavidTTU

How wide are the doors? If it were me, I think I’d rip them in half (or thirds) so I could get them through my planer then joint the ripped edges and glue them right back together. Then laminate as suggested.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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RobS888

2171 posts in 1511 days


#11 posted 10-06-2015 08:15 PM

My bench is 2 layers of 3/4 inch plywood sides with 3/4 inch MDF inside all glued together. So that is about 2 1/4 thick and the center is sagging a little. I made a stool that rocked a little on the floor but was steady on the bench, duh! At least now I know not to trust it.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

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paratrooper34

913 posts in 2618 days


#12 posted 10-06-2015 10:35 PM

Just my opinion: I would not use pine for a bench top intended for hand tool use. Too soft and it will ding up in a hurry. Why is that a problem? Holes and dents which cause a localized area at the point of impact to rise above the surface. This in turn makes it hard to register pieces flat with the top for the times you want to do that. If this is a problem for you (it is for me), you will have to get them smoothed out.

I have a red beech top on my Ulmia bench and it has seen some abuse and a few dings and bruises. I am sure those would be greatly enhanced if I were using a pine top. I try to be as a careful as I can with the top, but sometimes, shit happens. A couple of those dings came from errant hammer strikes while removing holdfasts. The point is, and again, this is my opinion, the bench top needs to be made of a tough, durable wood species that can withstand some punishment that comes with hand tools work. Almost every video, magazine article, or book that I watched or read about benches advocates for exactly the same.

-- Mike

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 2035 days


#13 posted 10-06-2015 11:01 PM

I think 2” pine will work fine for you. That’s how thick mine is (although mine is DF), and I have no problems with holdfasts in it, or using hand tools with it. Yeah, it will ding…it’s a workbench, you need to decide how long you expect this to last you, and how much you care how it looks. Somewhere along the line, you may decide to make a new top out of maple, beech, etc. I don’t expect my 2” thick DF top to be my forever bench top, but it certainly will hold up to some abuse, and look a little worse for wear. I have mine supported underneath by an 8ft cabinet base I made for it, and that provides several support points along the length (no sagging).

As for the doors, that veneer looks pretty thick. I would probably cut them into strips, then set the bandsaw fence and resaw the veneer off. Then, jointer/planer as needed.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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fuigb

425 posts in 2624 days


#14 posted 10-06-2015 11:57 PM

My rolling workbench tops are laminated comprised of 2” strips cut from fir 2×4s. Damn things take a beating and I have no regrets. Softer pine won’t hold up, though, if you’re all about hand work. Still, if the doors are free and time isn’t money then I say go for it.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

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