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Forum topic by Rick posted 01-23-2013 07:03 PM 1254 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Rick's profile


19 posts in 3932 days

01-23-2013 07:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question workbench

I’m building a new bench. I have plenty of room. What do you all think of using 4×8 sheet of 3/4 plywood screwed & glued to either 3/4 MDF or melamine, supported every 2’. I want it to be as flat as I can…...I do mostly small stuff, doesn’t have to be super strong…..

6 replies so far

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 2829 days

#1 posted 01-23-2013 08:27 PM

If you’re doing “small stuff” why would you want a 4×8 bench? Larger benches are harder to keep uniformly flat. And in my world, the larger the bench, the more crap gets stored on top of it.

But to answer the question- Plywood/mdf is a commonly used material for benchtops. Its cheap and it works. When the top gets too beat-up, you can simply glue-down a fresh sheet of hardboard and get back to work. The downside to MDF is that its not particularly wear-resistant and reacts very badly to water.

I just question the practicality of a 4×8 bench unless you’re frequently assembling porch swings, kitchen tables, or pianos. Food for thought.

View scvwooding's profile


26 posts in 2147 days

#2 posted 01-23-2013 08:28 PM

I used 2 sheets of 3/4 MDF. The bottom sheet is attached to the frame from the bottom with pocket holes. The top sheet is screwed to the bottom sheet. I avoided glue so I can change or flip the top piece when it is damaged. I trimmed the MDF sheets with some left over cherry to protect the borders.

View ChrisK's profile


2014 posts in 3278 days

#3 posted 01-23-2013 09:13 PM

If you really have the room the bigger the better. I always have more than one project going and the extra space helps. It can get cluttered though. I would screw the MDF to the plywood so you can replace it easily. I put a few coats of polyurethane on my MDF tops. Works great.

-- Chris K

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3845 days

#4 posted 01-23-2013 09:24 PM

a 4×8 benchtop makes it hard to reach the middle/opposite side of the bench at times. epecially if all you do is ‘small things’ I would do something a tad smaller – maybe 30-36” wide max.

if you want it to stay flat and dont need to exhibit brute force on it I would recommend you build a torsion box top for your workbench, it will be and remain as flat as a top can be if built properly. you can make it out of MDF, and top it with Masonite (hardboard) as a replaceable beatable surface.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Rick's profile


19 posts in 3932 days

#5 posted 01-23-2013 10:27 PM

Yes I was thinking it sounds silly to be making small stuff on a huge bench.Thx all. OK maybe I’ll make it smaller. What about dog holes, now Im thinking MDF isn’t sturdy enough. A vise or 2.

View shipwright's profile


8162 posts in 2994 days

#6 posted 01-23-2013 10:29 PM

Plywood makes a great bench top, in fact a great bench.
Check this one out.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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