Workshop Countertop out of Flooring ? What do you think ?

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Forum topic by David Grimes posted 04-08-2011 06:20 AM 3051 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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David Grimes

2078 posts in 2841 days

04-08-2011 06:20 AM

I will soon be building the fixed work bench along a 10’9” end of the workshop room. I have one cabinet base with drawer and 2 doors that I will use in the middle of the span, then cleat support at the ends where it meets the walls.

I had post formed laminate countertop before, but it was kitchen height (36”). I want to go 40” this time, so I’ll add 4” to the base kick of the cab.

That old top was 25” out from the wall, but i believe I want 27” depth this time. I’ll just move the cab out 3” as well.

I will frame with 2x the cleats and “joists” with short spans and almost 10” on center… and with metal brackets for strength. I will use Advantech 3/4” on top of the joists.

Finally, I am thinking that I could use some of the “handscraped” laminate that is tough as hell… I couldn’t scratch it with a 16 sinker for a customer recently. The smooth laminates can be scratched. It’s straight / flat but has a grainy surface. It will be easy to glue to the Advantech and also in the grooves of the snaplock as well. I can finish the front with a custom routed hardwood piece that will be the edge and 4 1/2” tall fascia.

If I were to want / need smooth, I would go with wood flooring. I’d have to consider a premium bamboo since it is many times harder than oak. (Not the kind that is available at Sam’s). It’s pretty pricey, but we’re only talking 25 sf or so.

Anybody done this ? Any reason why this would be a mistake ?

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

9 replies so far

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 4008 days

#1 posted 04-08-2011 04:23 PM

Yes. I just finished one half of my kitchen counters with premium bamboo and it looks fantastic. I had to do a fare amount of rework to get the counter smooth during the glue up. I ripped the tung and groove from each bamboo board to prep for gluing. I did that to remove the V-shaped gap that results when you install the boards as flooring. You don’t want that on your counter. I also had a difficult time removing the hard finish on the broads out of the box – - like a rock! Took hours of careful belt sanding to remove the finish. Would have been much better to bring the glued top to a local cabinet maker for drum sanding. By the way, each box of bamboo will give you 23 sq/ft of area. If 25 sq/ft is your goal you’ll have lot’s left over from box #2 for other projects. When I’m done with all the counters and the weather permits (need 70+ degrees F) , I’ll coat the counter tops with a 2 part finish that is both durable and heat resistant. Home Depot sells a product that will work just fine. One last comment: the bamboo boards come in approx 40” lengths so, you’ll need to consider staggering the planks in your counter top if the overall length is greater than 40”.

-- Max the "night janitor" at

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David Grimes

2078 posts in 2841 days

#2 posted 04-09-2011 09:02 AM

Thanks for the info, Charles. Sorry it gave you a fight, but glad to hear how hard you found it to be.

I won’t be removing the finish from mine as we have quite a selection. I can also get it without the micro-bevel, so I will maintain the tongue-in-groove fitment and then glue to the “sub-floor” of my counter top.

The bamboo I am looking at varies from 23 to 28 sf per box, so i might not have all that leftover.

Thanks again for the input.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View bdjohns1's profile


43 posts in 2893 days

#3 posted 06-03-2011 09:54 PM

For whatever it’s worth, I’m going to be doing a workbench build out of some flooring.

I got a couple of bundles of damaged hard maple and jatoba flooring (unfinished, so no microbevels) from a local company for <$2/bf (assuming I’m comparing to rough 4/4 lumber planed to 3/4”). I’m going to rip the T&G off of the boards (the tongues were the damaged part of the bundles), then face-laminate them into a ~3” thick workbench top. I’m modeling the design off the bench in Schwartz’s new workbench design book that has the tool well in the middle. That way, each of the laminated sections is narrow enough that I can run them through my 12.5” planer to surface them.

I’ll probably just be using dressed construction lumber for the legs/stretchers.

-- Ben - resident cheese whiz.

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David Grimes

2078 posts in 2841 days

#4 posted 06-03-2011 10:24 PM

That sounds like a really good idea, bdjohns1. I bet those two woods will look good. Do you plan to alternate 50/50 ?

I have completed my top with the bamboo and really like it. I got it for less than $2 per sf finished and 25 sf to the box so just over $50. The matching trim was as much as the top, but at around $100 total I am very pleased.

Please post your pics when its ready for viewing.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View bdjohns1's profile


43 posts in 2893 days

#5 posted 06-05-2011 09:47 PM

I’m probably not going to 50/50 them. I’ve got an idea in mind for gluing up some of the jatoba into something that could pass for dimensional lumber for another project. I figure I’ll do an accent stripe or two on each of the laminates.

Hoping to start ripping and jointing the material this week…

-- Ben - resident cheese whiz.

View bdjohns1's profile


43 posts in 2893 days

#6 posted 07-08-2011 12:23 PM

It’s been busy at work lately, so I haven’t had a whole heck of a lot of shop time lately, but I did get 1/2 of the bench (2×6” wide) laminations made.

For the first set of laminations, I didn’t rip off the end T+G parts, just the edges (which make great firestarters, BTW). I ended up with a few small gaps that I’ll fill, but I’ll probably use those two pieces as my back half of the bench. The front half, I’m going to rip off the ends as well so there’ll be no gaps.

-- Ben - resident cheese whiz.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3276 days

#7 posted 07-08-2011 02:10 PM

The top of my workbench is made out of bamboo flooring. I’ve been very happy with it. I invite you to look at it in my shop pictures.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2894 days

#8 posted 07-08-2011 02:13 PM

I’ve known it to be done. Most accounts describe a laborious removal of the very hard finish. I’d probably relegate it to the sander, rather than risking a planer blade. Good luck!

Somebody recently posted a workbench out of Brazilian Cherry flooring, if memory serves. It looked very, very nice. I’ve used my maple flooring in projects, mostly as structural pieces. I just knock the tongues/grooves off on the TS.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11064 posts in 3630 days

#9 posted 07-08-2011 02:47 PM

I used left over laminate Bamboo on a 8’X 30” bench. Left the factory finish and used the snap and click tongue and groove system in place.
It’s darned near impervious to oils and other fluids wipe up easily. Dried glue chips right off.
It does scorch easily. I have a nice circle of brown where the coffee warmer USED TO sit.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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