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Table saw Top material choice (which one and why?)

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Forum topic by rbrjr1 posted 01-04-2018 02:38 PM 928 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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rbrjr1

170 posts in 233 days


01-04-2018 02:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw workstation table saw base hdf plastic laminate plam mdf

I’m finalizing design on a table saw base/cabinet with Triton router insert.

What are the best materials to use for the top surface?
What are the pros and cons of what you’ve selected for your build?

Right now, I’m designing a multi box plywood construction layout with a table top that’s either:

2 sheets of MDF with a plastic laminate top surface and either laminate or solid hardwood edge banding

OR

Plywood and MDF with HDF as the top surface and solid hardwood edge banding.

I can make either of them meet my aesthetic goals, but which one will last over the long haul of being used in my semi climate controlled garage workshop?

I have LOTS of access to Plastic laminate but don’t want to use it if the HDF will work/hold up better over time.

This is for a caster mounted workstation that will measure approximately 40” X 60” at the top surface.
(it’ll probably never move more than 10’ in it’s lifetime)

-- only an idiot dismisses an intelligent statement because they dont know anything about the person delivering it.


7 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2967 posts in 1508 days


#1 posted 01-04-2018 03:37 PM


2 sheets of MDF with a plastic laminate top surface and either laminate or solid hardwood edge banding
2 sides of laminate IMO is the strongest, flattest surface you can produce for the $$.

Beware of MDF. Storing can be an issue. The last I bought at HD was bowed. I didn’t realize it till it was home. Check to see if it is sagging in the rack I suggest get if from a distributor instead.

& I find it best to cut it immediately when you get it home unless you can store it flat. (And were that respirator!!)

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

View Siv's profile

Siv

61 posts in 597 days


#2 posted 01-04-2018 03:47 PM

I’d say melamine/plastic laminate. I used MDF on the work table I built 10 years ago and have a few spots where I spilled various liquids and the MDF has swollen leaving an uneven surface. You won’t have this problem with a plastic top.

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Sark

74 posts in 388 days


#3 posted 01-04-2018 03:55 PM

In my old shop we used formica tops on the workbenches. That stuff lasts forever. Melamine probably be second choice, especially if its white. I have a strong preference for using white in the shop wherever possible.

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a1Jim

117126 posts in 3604 days


#4 posted 01-04-2018 03:56 PM

I use 3/4” Melamine looks good it comes in different colors, I like white and is nice and stable IMO doubling it is not necessary as long as you have it supported frequantly underneath if you want to cut out for say a router plate you can double it where the cut out is. As rwe says to make sure it was stored properly when you buy it.

-- https://www.artisticwoodstudio.com/videos wood crafting & woodworking classes

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Redoak49

3287 posts in 2016 days


#5 posted 01-04-2018 04:04 PM

I have two layers of MDF, Formica q, and oak edging. It has held up really well.

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bondogaposis

4769 posts in 2379 days


#6 posted 01-04-2018 04:09 PM

Nothing beats plastic laminate for durability and longevity and if you slobber glue on it, it pops right off. Look for damaged sheets at the big box stores as they go much cheaper.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View rbrjr1's profile

rbrjr1

170 posts in 233 days


#7 posted 01-04-2018 06:27 PM

ok..

I love the look of the HDF/edge banded bench tops..

BUT,
I want this thing to last.
PLAM is essentially free for me, so I’ll go that route with some oak or maple edge banding.. (was leaning that way anyway)

I’ll leave the plywood carcass (assembled with biscuits) raw and possibly use more of the plam on the drawer fronts.

thanks, yall..

-- only an idiot dismisses an intelligent statement because they dont know anything about the person delivering it.

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