Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, CHJ, Noel, Charley

 Reply
By That would work
#1305424
Hi all,
Need to make a new bench. If I could justify it I would buy some nice thick beech and glue up strips of it. However that's not happening.
In the past I have made a top by glueing layers of MDF up to about 100mm and finishing with a top layer of birch ply with hardwood edging. Unfortunately that bench is lost now.
I am considering either doing that again or perhaps glueing up a load of 4x2's side on with a top layer (sacrificial) of ply.
What have other members done I am wondering to get a good solid, thick top without spending a fortune?
By novocaine
#1305425
2x3 laminated across the width. don't give a ....... about it being hardwood, I'd rather have the bench get dinged than the work get dinged.
User avatar
By Trevanion
#1305428
Someone here (I’ve forgotten who sorry, please chime in :D) suggested the other day buying a 40mm x 960mm x 3m laminated beech worktop such as the ones worktop express sell for about £250, cut it in half and glue the two halves to make up a 40mm thick bench that’s super solid. Ingenious and cost effective idea!
User avatar
By MikeG.
#1305431
I bet I'm not the only one thinking that "£250" and "cost effective" don't belong in the same sentence when it comes to bench tops. I'd expect to build an entire bench, including the top, for less than half that.
By That would work
#1305438
Back in my joinery shop days it was the old style benches with an 'apron' along the front that adds a bit of stiffness to the top. Although annoying not being able to put a cramp over the front edge. We used parana pine boards on top as they were (are?) available in wider widths. Nothing fancy at all really.
I'm erring towards laying up 4 or 3x2''s side on. Even cls with a decent ply top
By Rich C
#1305441
Mine is 2x3s laid edge on and laminated.
Definitely not worth paying a lot for something you'll probably ding up in short order, and being solid timber they are easy to plane flat.

I have a fairly deep apron at the front - I just use sash cramps to clamp things down on the front edge.
User avatar
By Benchwayze
#1305450
I know of one forum member who had a bench made of MDF layers. I haven't seen a post by him for an age; the last I recall he fitted a Benchcrafted tail or wagon vice to it. He swore by his MDF creation.

John
User avatar
By Benchwayze
#1305451
Trevanion wrote:Someone here (I’ve forgotten who sorry, please chime in :D) suggested the other day buying a 40mm x 960mm x 3m laminated beech worktop such as the ones worktop express sell for about £250, cut it in half and glue the two halves to make up a 40mm thick bench that’s super solid. Ingenious and cost effective idea!


That was me Trev, and I realise it's not exactly cheap. Except on labour; which at 80, makes sense to me! I could soldier on with what I have; laminated Luan (Phillpine Mahogany) top 2" thick, on top of 36mm of MDF, but it's in such a mess after 40 odd years. The sheets of Luan were dirt cheap on offer at my local sawmills, and the MDF was probably 1/4 what it costs today. The Luan is quite soft but it looked fine when new. :mrgreen: The 'folded' beech top would be 80mm thick BTW as the worktops are 40mm thick. The under works would be from 7" square Douglas Fir I got on eBay for £25.00. Where would you buy a workbench with a beech top over three inches thick for less than £300.00? Does that make more sense now Mike?
User avatar
By Ttrees
#1305453
Y'all must have thicknessers, or don't do much laminating :P
Crack open your bottles and all that, a solid composite fire door from a skip would be my choice.
Sitting on a sturdy frame and shimmed to perfection.
Tested with two surfaced parallel in height planks which are fully referenced off of the bench, and paired together to double the error.

Chiseling gets done on bearers as it gives much better lighting and is higher for comfort.
Bearers could be orientated on their sides as well, custom thickness to give support for timber if you have a machine close by.

Tom
User avatar
By transatlantic
#1305454
MikeG. wrote:I bet I'm not the only one thinking that "£250" and "cost effective" don't belong in the same sentence when it comes to bench tops. I'd expect to build an entire bench, including the top, for less than half that.


From beech?

As for MDF layers, it sounds like a good idea, but long term, is it really cost effective? I assume it would sag, and then you're stuffed as you can't flatten it and would it hold up to hold fasts?
User avatar
By MikeG.
#1305456
Benchwayze wrote:.....That was me Trev, and I realise it's not exactly cheap. Except on labour; which at 80, makes sense to me! I could soldier on with what I have; laminated Luan (Phillpine Mahogany) top 2" thick, on top of 36mm of MDF, but it's in such a mess after 40 odd years. The sheets of Luan were dirt cheap on offer at my local sawmills, and the MDF was probably 1/4 what it costs today. The Luan is quite soft but it looked fine when new. :mrgreen: The 'folded' beech top would be 80mm thick BTW as the worktops are 40mm thick. The under works would be from 7" square Douglas Fir I got on eBay for £25.00. Where would you buy a workbench with a beech top over three inches thick for less than £300.00? Does that make more sense now Mike?


It makes sense, John, but is just not an approach I would consider. I'd achieve a strong benchtop in other ways, and, as I said, and entire bench for less than half your worktop cost.
User avatar
By MikeG.
#1305457
transatlantic wrote:
MikeG. wrote:I bet I'm not the only one thinking that "£250" and "cost effective" don't belong in the same sentence when it comes to bench tops. I'd expect to build an entire bench, including the top, for less than half that.


From beech?


No, but the top could be.
User avatar
By MikeG.
#1305458
Ttrees wrote:......Crack open your bottles and all that, a solid composite fire door from a skip would be my choice........


I have to correct you Tom, because you say this all the time. A fire door is indistinguishable from any other solid core door, other than by its seals, hardware, and signage. There is nothing about a fire door which makes it any stronger, flatter or more robust than any other solid core door. All solid core doors are made from exactly the same stuff as kitchen worktops, and although the one you found is flat, there is no reason to think that any others would be, not that that is any sort of necessity for a bench.
Last edited by MikeG. on 09 Sep 2019, 14:06, edited 1 time in total.
By That would work
#1305459
Something that you can plane flat makes sense, although i'm not after a surface plate! 4x2 (38x94) cls side on (if its the cheapest option) with one edge planed off to loose the radius for the top side may be winning so far. Might do cramped ends as well just because they are nice.
Last edited by That would work on 09 Sep 2019, 14:22, edited 1 time in total.