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Forum topic by SSMDad posted 1064 days ago 1041 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SSMDad

395 posts in 1199 days


1064 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

First let me say that since I have very little space in my shed (err shop) I need to make this about 2’ x 4’ so I was thinking of using MDF for the top. I’ve already built the legs (saw the plan I’m using on some website, FWW or something maybe). The legs were supposed to be 4×4 but I couldn’t find any here that wasn’t treated or cost a fortune like the Ipe ones so I just joined 2 2×4’s.

Do you think a sheet of 3/4’ and a sheet of 1/4” MDF would work for the top or should I perhaps combine MDF and Plywood? Maybe 2 3/4” sheets of MDF? Should I just use plywood?

At some point in time I’m going to build a “real” bench but this will save my back from working on the floor for now at least. Suggestions appreciated.

Thanks.

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."


18 replies so far

View mrg's profile

mrg

519 posts in 1601 days


#1 posted 1064 days ago

I used plywood 2 3/4” pieces sandwiched. It is dead flat and won’t swell if it gets wet. I used some spray poly-acrylic on it and it cleans up easy and will take things being dropped on it better than mdf.

-- mrg

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SSMDad

395 posts in 1199 days


#2 posted 1064 days ago

Great! Thanks MRG! I forgot that MDF tends to swell. doh!

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View Don W's profile

Don W

14651 posts in 1169 days


#3 posted 1064 days ago

I agree with mrg. I worked on 4 – 4×8 benches in my shop for over 10 years that were just a single sheet of 3/4. The only thing they are not good for is bench dogs. Doubled it should be fine. If you want it to look pretty, use a veneered plywood, but if you sort through the plie of regular 3/4, you’ll fine plenty that will suit your needs just fine.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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SSMDad

395 posts in 1199 days


#4 posted 1064 days ago

Thanks Don. I’m not hung up on how well it looks since I plan to use it quite a bit. Inevitably something will happen and I’d rather not have to fret too much about it. haha I’m definitely going with the plywood.

Thanks guys.

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15431 posts in 1468 days


#5 posted 1064 days ago

I built two work tables for the shop a while back. For the tops I laminated two pieces of 3/4 birch plywood together. The plywood was slightly warped but I laminated it in a way that the slightly warped pieces opposed each other. It worked and the tops are dead flat. I then used a good router bit to make sure the edges were trimmed true to each other and then laminated 3/4 inch solid maple edging around the tops. I am satified with the way that they turned out. The pedestal bases are a matching pair of plywood cabinets with a combination of drawers and doors for storage. I’m very happy with the whole thing and they serve me well.

You can see a good picture of one of the benches in the 4th picture in my shop pics if you are interested.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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SSMDad

395 posts in 1199 days


#6 posted 1064 days ago

Another vote for plywood! Thanks for the post and what you did. All great ideas.

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View crank49's profile

crank49

3338 posts in 1573 days


#7 posted 1064 days ago

My bench is all laminated plywood; even the legs and stretchers. Top is 4 layers of 3/4”, plus hardboard wear surface that’s replaceable. Whole thing is banded with maple. I used 3/4” A-C sandply. It’s a plywood from South America, Brazil I think, has 7 layers and one side sanded smooth. It has exterior grade glue, almost no voids, and it is usually around $22 to $25 at HD; better deal than birch or oak veneer IMHO.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Eric_S's profile

Eric_S

1521 posts in 1797 days


#8 posted 1064 days ago

SSMad, take a loot at my workshop photos. Those legs are 2×4’s glued like yours, and the top is two layers of 3/4 plywood glued with a hardboard top for extra protecetion. I trimmed the edges in pine. Its not the prettiest thing but its very stable and cheap :)

-- - Eric Indianapolis, IN

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SSMDad

395 posts in 1199 days


#9 posted 1064 days ago

Thanks Crank and Eric.

Eric, what kind of hardwood top did you put on it? Just a hardwood plywood or something else? Also, did you have any issues installing the vice (and if I may ask) what kind of vice is it?

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1276 posts in 1600 days


#10 posted 1064 days ago

I went with three layers of 3/4 hardwood ply + 1/4 masonite.

I have pics on the project page showing the vise on mine. It is an odd type vise but you can get the idea.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View Tim Kindrick's profile

Tim Kindrick

369 posts in 1156 days


#11 posted 1064 days ago

Maybe it’s just my preference, BUT I would use 2- 3/4” MDF because of the weight, cost and the smoothness. The swelling shouldn’t be an issue if you finish it properly. I have a similar (second) bench with only 1 sheet of MDF. I used several (3) coats of BLO followed by about 2-5 coats of poly….. I have a habit of using any left over poly on this work bench or some other shop table….. Good Luck!!!

-- I have metal in my neck but wood in my blood!!

View Eric_S's profile

Eric_S

1521 posts in 1797 days


#12 posted 1064 days ago

Chris, its Hardboard, not hardwood. Its like pegboard but not painted and without holes. Very hard 1/8” surface you can get from the box stores(or 1/4”), doesn’t damage easily, very cheap. Its also whats on the walls in the garage, except thats painted. For walls though its not the best, it seems to make all noises in their much louder.

The vice install was easy, no issues, the bolts were short enough that they didn’t go through the top. My legs pivot so they had to pivot slightly inward due to the vice. The only issue is I used pine instead of a hardwood for the vice faces, I will probably replace that with a hardwood in the future. Its a Rockler quick release vice, http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=21523&rrt=1

-- - Eric Indianapolis, IN

View Mark Whitsitt's profile

Mark Whitsitt

86 posts in 1581 days


#13 posted 1064 days ago

My benchtop is actually a solid-core oak veneer door… I went down to a local millwork company and asked if they had any miscut or slightly damaged doors they’d sell me. The one I got had a small bit of damage on one side and I paid $15. I built my base to fit the door and put a piece of hardboard on the undamaged surface with carpet tape.

The table is heavy, stable, and I can replace the hardboard whenever it gets too stained or damaged.

Mark

-- -- "there are many good reasons to use old hand tools, but moral superiority is NOT one of them..."

View SSMDad's profile

SSMDad

395 posts in 1199 days


#14 posted 1063 days ago

Lot of great suggestions everyone. I really appreciate it. Just a thought but would there be any advantage to using a mixture of MDF and Hardboard or Hardwood, says 3/4” each?

Just curious as I don’t have that much knowledge in how each handles and their densities, etc.?

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13337 posts in 2275 days


#15 posted 1063 days ago

I think plywood would work just find for a benchtop.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

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