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Workbench top - 1.5" wood over 1.75" solid core door

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Forum topic by curliejones posted 08-30-2016 07:46 PM 480 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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curliejones

154 posts in 1727 days


08-30-2016 07:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench bench top solid core door

I’ve been seeing the growing popularity (and practicality) of folks using SYP for a bench top. What I have not seen, however, is using a layer of construction lumber over a solid core door to get a 3”+ thick top. I’ve read about “dead flat” tops made of 3-4 layers of mdf and I just do not want an mdf surface. I have a nice utility bench built from construction lumber that has a door on top with a layer of hardboard for the finish surface. What I want to build next is a bench with a front vise and a tail vise where I can drill some dog holes to make the best use of the two vises.
Anyone out there try this combination of 2x lumber over a solid core door? My shop is somewhat climate controlled in the sticky SE Louisiana humidity. I turn the a/c on a little while 4-6 times a week to keep the shop humidity low. I’ve not had a sweaty tool since moving in! (knock on wood). I have a door with some dense particle board core and I feel it will hold screws for the vise hardware readily. I think the SYP top will support dog holes better than mdf, plywood, or the particle board core.
Anyone seen this combination in the vast array of bench tops? Thanks.

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"


9 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2190 posts in 941 days


#1 posted 09-01-2016 04:16 PM

I would not use solid dimension lumber glued to plywood in your climate.

A better alternative would be sandwich the door between 2 layers of 3/4 hardwood ply or MDF.
I would use through bolts on the vises.

If using bench hooks, you can insert a strip of solid wood.
I would also apply a solid wood edge of good, dense wood like oak, hard maple or beech.

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

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5764 posts in 946 days


#2 posted 09-01-2016 04:40 PM

I think a solid core door is particle board with veneers. I wouldn’t laminate it to true wood.

What part of South LA?

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3018 posts in 1258 days


#3 posted 09-01-2016 04:54 PM

What is the advantage over a laminated SYP benchtop? They’re pretty simple and cheap to make. I ripped floor joists to about 3.5” and glued them together. Planing the top was a bit of a pain, but a good workout.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View curliejones's profile

curliejones

154 posts in 1727 days


#4 posted 09-04-2016 04:16 PM

@TheFridge I’m just a little N of Hammond, LA near Fluker, LA.

@rwe2156 the door is particle board cored with a smooth veneer and not plywood. Yes I do intend to wrap the top’s perimeter with 1 or 2” solid wood. The bench hooks that I’ve seen simply sit on top of the bench and catch the edge banding to stay in place. Do you perhaps mean Holdfasts? .......If so, insert solid wood strips between what other material? layers of MDF?

@CharlesA I’m not sure if there’s any advantage or disadvantage other than having a 1-3/4 layer (the solid core door) that is already flat. It seems that I might have an easier time laminating 1-1/2” of SYP on top of a known flat surface? Something to glue to and the 1-1/2” solid SYP might be easier to manipulate than say 3-1/4”of SYP. I’ll go to your projects next to see if you posted your workbench build and if not, would you be so kind as to respond and let me know if you followed someone else’s build that you found (that I might also access???). Might it be even easier to seal up against humidity (and movement) on an already well-sealed door? If I had a time machine, I could glue up a sample and fast forward 10 years, LOL!

I see many testimonials where guys built a bench top from mdf or a layer of mdf sitting atop a solid core door and even to their surprise, the top is holding up well many years later. I thought the solid wood top over a solid core door would be better than the mdf/door combo.

Many thanks to you all for responding to my inquiry.

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7143 posts in 2374 days


#5 posted 09-04-2016 04:40 PM

I’m with CharlesA, on laminating solid wood of your choice, standing vertically on edge, together for your top. By doing so carefully, you can control the inner stresses and end up with a stronger and flat benchtop. Remember to alternate frowns and smiles when setting your lamination up. My top ended up at ~2-7/8” thick (perfect for using bench-dogs).

FWIW, here is my very first major WW project, the 21st Century Workbench:

Complete photo filled webpage:
http://horizontalheavens.com/21st_century_workbench_project.htm

My condensed LJs post:
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/45812

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View curliejones's profile

curliejones

154 posts in 1727 days


#6 posted 09-04-2016 04:59 PM

Thanks Mike. I’ll look at your 21st cent wb project again. I know I looked some time ago, but this bench idea is “heating up” as the weather is due to cool down (and I can stop cutting all this freaking grass). I’m not getting notified by email when there are responses /comments to my posts. I did a little search to no avail. Do you happen to know how to turn on Lumberjocks “notifier”?

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3018 posts in 1258 days


#7 posted 09-04-2016 05:28 PM

I never posted my workbench since it is purely utilitarian and is nothing to look at. I’m not criticizing your idea.

My workbench build was from Christopher Schwarz’s Workbenches: From Design and Theory to Construction and Use adapted to my particular needs.

I bought 2×12 SYP floor joists from HD. I ripped them into 2×4’s, more or less. I laminated them vertically. You can do all that in one day, let it dry overnight, and you’re on to flattening. It’s easy, durable, useful, and cheap.

I’d do it the same way again, with one difference. I’d cut out mortises in the top for through tenons from the legs something like this:

But if you do it with a core, post pics.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View derrickparks57's profile

derrickparks57

128 posts in 1331 days


#8 posted 09-04-2016 09:38 PM

I built my bench using a solid core door about 2 years ago and it’s held up nicely. Earlier this year I cleaned it up and reapplied several coats of poly on it again just to keep a protective coating on it. Granted I take precautions and don’t purposely try to damage it, such as I still use a piece of scrap as a backer when drilling a hole in a project. I still need to add storage drawers underneath it and that will help with the weight of the bench, currently it moves around some when I’m hand planing.

This was after I built it.

-- Derrick, Florida, DP Woodwerks

View curliejones's profile

curliejones

154 posts in 1727 days


#9 posted 09-04-2016 10:37 PM

Thanks LJs for the input. Nice looking bench there Derick. The idea for Mine is to add 1.5’ SOLID WOOD ATOP THE DOOR, oops caps lock, and have a weighty 3.25” thick top. But, it may not be much more trouble to do the 3” out of all SYP. Folks that have done it seem happy with the result and I agree with many who say they are not afrai to actually work on a bench of SYP, comes nicks cuts bruises to the bench.

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

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