workbench top finish plastic vs laminate vs composites

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Forum topic by Louiefallriver posted 10-17-2016 11:03 AM 1836 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 615 days

10-17-2016 11:03 AM

Topic tags/keywords: assembly table work bench jig finishing tip question clamp

Ok guys I am drawing up a assembly table in C.A.D. and i decided to do a t track style top with some features that you would find on a Roubo vise dog holes ext. i was browsing around trying to find cheap laminate p.l. melamine,colorcoar,Formica and i found a site that deals with a.b.s. p.v.c. and that high impact h.d.awhat ever my question is im thinking the a.b.s is more durable than laminate and glue over squeeze would scrape right off the abs the top board of my torsion box would be mdf has anyone experimented with the plastics with tops????? it wouldnt cost much more for 1/8 thick A.B.S sheet than 1/64 laminate should i go with the a.b.s? or outher plastic vs the P.L.?

8 replies so far

View Kirk650's profile


525 posts in 776 days

#1 posted 10-17-2016 01:41 PM

My workbench is Ash, with the vises and such. I have a similar sized assembly table close by, and it’s topped by two layers of laminated MDF. The MDF helped me get the flat top I wanted, and the laminate has held up very well. I just scrape off the glue, paint, and whatever else that gets on it. And when I want to freshen it a bit, after scraping it I take the ROS to it. And, replacing the MDF is pretty easy.

View Planeman40's profile


1179 posts in 2788 days

#2 posted 10-17-2016 09:51 PM

Worth a try. Screw it down. Then if you are not happy after a while you can remove it and try something else. If it works like you want, please report back here and let the rest of us know.

Me, I use 1/4” tempered hardboard with a few coats of polyurethane and it works for me.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Louiefallriver's profile


2 posts in 615 days

#3 posted 10-24-2016 04:00 PM

im just going to go with with hardboard the more i thought about the plastic the more it wouldn’t work well glue might come off and stain wipe off but its going to gouge easy and its going to look like a toy might just even build a roubo thanks for the tips!!!

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


4876 posts in 2436 days

#4 posted 10-25-2016 02:08 AM

I have a small section of white corian I used rather than have laying around. It is okay, it cleans well but I still have a lrage amount of Formica left from a haul and it is something that works well, maybe not the best but I have yet to need to replace any of the 6 benchtops I have used it on.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View jbay's profile


2346 posts in 927 days

#5 posted 10-25-2016 02:29 AM

I would use the laminate. It will easily outlast 10 or more sheets of hardboard.
If your thinking about using a top layer of 1/8” hardboard, you might as well at least use a pc of 1/4” melamine.
I’ve had melamine workbenches for twenty years.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2138 days

#6 posted 10-25-2016 11:04 AM

If you plan to use hand tools, slippery surfaces aren’t good. A little traction helps the work stay in place.

Holdfasts, planing stops, bench hooks, etc… all work better on a raw or nearly raw wood surface.

The fewer clamps and levers you need to turn each time you move the work, the faster your work goes. A draggy surface can be the different between needing one holdfast or several, or needing to add clamps to a stop.

View rwe2156's profile


2967 posts in 1508 days

#7 posted 10-25-2016 03:04 PM

Laminate is fine, but MDF coated with BLO works fine too.
Just a refresher coat every so often/glue won’t stick.

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

View Woodknack's profile (online now)


11818 posts in 2408 days

#8 posted 10-25-2016 06:33 PM

PVC will have better impact resistance but laminate will resist heat and solvents better, will have better abrasion resistance, and better durability. Wood glue will not stick to either but laminate will be easier to clean, just run a putty knife across the top and pop off any glue.

-- Rick M,

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