Workbench Thoughts - Ikea Countertops?

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Forum topic by Lumberpunk posted 02-15-2013 05:50 AM 13467 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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334 posts in 2332 days

02-15-2013 05:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench oak beech birch

Hi All,

A quick question, I am looking at building a workbench for myself and while looking for lumber sources I came across the idea of using Ikea butcher block counter tops for the top, they are available in beech, birch or oak, 72 inches long, 25 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches thick. Price $199 canadian. Compared to a top from Lee Valley ($499 with hardware but 2 inches thick) this seems like a pretty economical way to go. Wondering if anyone has any thoughts on whether this would be a good idea and if not why not? Thoughts appreciated.

-- If someone tells you you have enough tools and don't need any more, stop talking to them, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

16 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile


8187 posts in 2572 days

#1 posted 02-15-2013 05:54 AM

Glue two together and wrap around a 3 inch border. Not sure if anyone’s done that
but it has been discussed.

View Hayabusa's profile


173 posts in 2875 days

#2 posted 02-15-2013 06:14 AM

Hi I thought I was the only with this idea, poor of me hahaha, Im only joking. Yes I agree to get the ikea tops, that is the way I took to my workbench, I chose birch. I think it is a good idea, as the buddie has said I glued two together to obtain a thicker workbench top. Maybe it is cheaper because it usually goes to kitchen and they are not dead flat but since the workbench is to work I was not looking for the most precise surface, although you can get better making adjusments with a scraper plane or cabinet scraper.
Cheers !

View Lumberpunk's profile


334 posts in 2332 days

#3 posted 02-15-2013 06:39 AM

I had thought to glue it to a piece of 3/4 birch ply for the extra thickness and wrap it with a birch border (as I already have lots of birch, thought I’d rip it down the middle and rum through my planer to flatten.

-- If someone tells you you have enough tools and don't need any more, stop talking to them, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

View Woodknack's profile


11608 posts in 2375 days

#4 posted 02-15-2013 07:03 AM

Don’t glue it to plywood. Wood changes size, plywood doesn’t… immovable object + irresistible force = KAPOW!

-- Rick M,

View DouginVa's profile


490 posts in 2268 days

#5 posted 02-15-2013 01:40 PM

Agree, never glue plywood like that. However, MDF might be good. It’s more stable, dead flat, and will add the much needed weight to a workbench top so it’s not scooting around the floor on you while you’re planing, etc.

-- Just a man with his chisel.........

View Lumberpunk's profile


334 posts in 2332 days

#6 posted 02-15-2013 02:28 PM

Trying not to make too many mistakes with this one…. that’s why I’m asking you folks. Thanks for your reply’s.

-- If someone tells you you have enough tools and don't need any more, stop talking to them, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4928 posts in 3955 days

#7 posted 02-15-2013 02:45 PM

Lsmart, ya better watch that “rum through the planer”. Messes up the bearings. Better way…”rum through the planer operator”. :))
Just couldn’t help myself…..........


View CplSteel's profile


142 posts in 2159 days

#8 posted 02-22-2013 10:38 PM

never put rum through the planer. Whiskey always gives you a better finish. Though beer can suffice if you need to thin it.

Back to the OP. I wonder if the Ikea butcher block is actual butcher block or MDF/Particle board with a “butcher block” veneer. Not to say that it couldn’t work. But if it is just finished MDF I would recommend gluing up some Ply or MDF and topping with Masonite. It won’t look the same but it will perform the same as “butcher block” and be much cheaper.

EDIT I went ahead and looked it up online, it says it is solid birch/beach/oak. It comes a bit wide so I think you can find out how true they are when you rip it.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2067 days

#9 posted 02-22-2013 11:41 PM

I have cut and installed Ikea BBlock, and it is solid wood. Have you considered bamboo. It is Very durable, hardly moves, and all kinda Green, and used to be CHEAP!!! Btw if you use flooring glue, you can glue it without the expansion problems.

CplSteel You should use a jointer, not a planer, if you want to drink your Bourbon straight. ;)

-- Who is John Galt?

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2178 days

#10 posted 02-23-2013 12:46 AM

The old tops that were 1.25” thick birch for $60 made me stop and think, but at $199 for only 1.5”, for around the same money you can buy some nice hard maple lumber and laminate it yourself with money left over.

Using 8/4 lumber and the same dimensions, you’ve got about 25 board feet of lumber. For that same $200 you can buy lumber up to around $8 a board foot.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Dakkar's profile


323 posts in 1922 days

#11 posted 02-23-2013 02:13 AM

That’s an interesting idea, anyway. Here’s the Ikea specs on it:

View Lumberpunk's profile


334 posts in 2332 days

#12 posted 02-23-2013 03:21 AM

@shampeon, I hear what you are saying, but 8/4 hard maple is hard to come by and expensive in my part of the world (I live in softwood land and far from the big city) also my time is worth something so if I can save a couple of days of work buying something pre-made it may be worth it… going to the city next week so I’ll check out the tops and price out some maple when I’m there. Thanks for all your thoughts folks!

-- If someone tells you you have enough tools and don't need any more, stop talking to them, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

View Hucklberry's profile


2 posts in 2331 days

#13 posted 02-24-2013 01:36 PM

I have used Ikea BB for a variety of projects, mostly in the kitchen, of course, but I’ve built a couple of small work benches with left-over scrap. I also built a router insert for my table saw out of it. I like it a lot. It’s easy to work, stable and flat enough for my purposes. I’m about to build a drill press table out of a chunk of it. Sometimes you can find cheaper pieces in their “as-is” dept.

View Mark Colan's profile

Mark Colan

211 posts in 2840 days

#14 posted 07-16-2013 09:19 PM

I got beech BB from Ikea, 72×37x1.5 for $199. It was nice, but unfortunately, slightly bowed on about half of the length. Enough so that if I laid my level or joiner plane across it, I could easily slide a thin cardboard into the gap for about a foot. Flip it over and I could spin my joiner plane on the bulge.

I just got done returning it. The good news was that they gave me a refund. The store is about an hour and a half away, and I did not want to risk another bad one. Too much work. Incidentally, they gave me a refund even though it was cut.

Instead, I’ll look for one online, and ensure that it is guaranteed flat before I order.

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 1887 days

#15 posted 07-16-2013 09:35 PM

Its a good idea, but like M Colan above noted, be sure to inspect the butcherblock carefully for straightness before taking home.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

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