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Forum topic by fiddlebanshee posted 07-26-2014 03:46 PM 1224 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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195 posts in 2975 days

07-26-2014 03:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I searched the forums a bit but could not find an answer to my question. I have made the plywood “rock-solid plywood workbench” from FWW.

I have one 3/4 inch sheet of birch plywood for the top and want to add two more 3/4 inch layers. What is more solid?
1. two layers of plywood, one layer of MDF?
2. one layer of plywood, two layers of MDF?

The idea would be to leave the top layer loose so that it could be replaced when it gets damaged. and surround the whole top with 3/4” solid wood edging (probably oak).

Also just to verify, usually a front vise is mounted at the left hand side, correct? I am left handed but my husband is right handed so this is a bit of a conundrum—I think my brain is a bit more flexible where it comes to handedness so I think I’ll mount it on the left for now. I can always add another vise at the other side, I suppose. Any thoughts?

Many thanks in advance.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

5 replies so far

View benchbuilder's profile


284 posts in 2480 days

#1 posted 07-26-2014 06:22 PM

I would put the vise on the left side as you will be useing it the most. As for the top. Why plywood or mdf. If this is going to be a long term used bench i would think about laminating some syp or maybe some 2×4s after you rip the rounded edges off. But if you really want the ply top i would go with two of ply and two of mdf alternating layers. I would also just screw the last layer on so as it get messed up with use you can replace it.. Also use the best ply you can afford as the cheap stuff will warp and bubble up over time. But as the man said about cement, “theres only two types of cement, the kind that is cracked and the kind that is going to crack”. The same goes for plywood. Just my thoughts.. good luck with your project..

View Redoak49's profile


3292 posts in 2018 days

#2 posted 07-26-2014 10:19 PM

My bench is a couple layer of plywood with a 3/4” MDF top. I finished the top with shellac and let it soak into the MDF and it made the surface hard. I drilled 3/4” holes in the top for holding stuff and wet the inside of the MDF holes with super glue and that really hardened and strengthen them. Mine has a 3/4” think rim of ash around it.

View fiddlebanshee's profile


195 posts in 2975 days

#3 posted 07-27-2014 12:55 AM

Thanks guys. I ended up layering 3 sheets of 3/4 birch plywood. And I will top it off with 3/8” hardboard. I was thinking leaving the hardboard to float within the 3/4” maple edging that will surround the top (1×3 maple). By the looks of it that will just about fill up the 1×3 width. I may also glue it to the top layer of plywood if it does not lay flat clamping it while the glue dries with some 2×6 that I still have laying around.

As of this point in time, I think I will not glue the layers of plywood. So if the top ever gets damaged or one or more of the plywood sheets warp, I can just unscrew it, and replace as necessary. I’m screwing in a 10” grid. Hope that this is sufficient.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

View Rayne's profile


916 posts in 1569 days

#4 posted 07-27-2014 03:08 AM

I layered mine with 2 MDF and 1 Spruce Pine (yeah, I know it’s soft, but it has a nice grain pattern). I also didn’t glue any layer, but almost made the mistake of not offsetting the screw grid on each layer so I didn’t run into the screws above it. Everything worked out very well. I just need to plane some hardwood edging, install it, and finally put a coat of Danish Oil to finish it. I hope it turns out as well as I’m hoping.

View Crank50's profile


173 posts in 1605 days

#5 posted 07-27-2014 01:43 PM

My bench is 4 layers of 3/4 plywood with a replaceable MDF top.

Two layers of plywood would be okay with stretchers, but I didn’t want stretchers getting in the way of my clamps.

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