Board for bench worktop

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IanB

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Hi all, I've got to the point where I can't put off making a decent bench any longer. I don't want to have to laminate/flatten a worktop so I'm looking at a manufactured board, and from my investigation so far I'm thinking if one of these:

- Oakley furniture boards - which are manufactured boards made up from strips of solid oak, available up to 25mm
- Valchromat hdf
- Fibrapan hidrofugo mdf

Any thoughts/advice on which would make a good tough and stable top? Whichever I go with, I'm thinking of laying it over a thicker sheet of basic mdf for increased weight/solidity, fitting an apron (I have a 7" Record vise to fit, acquired from a member of this forum) and building a solid pine base from 4x4 and 4x2. Dimensions will likely be 1400 X 650.

Ian
 

Jameshow

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At the back of the tool well a piece of timber standing up stopping the tools falling off the back.

So 24" worktop 6" tool well (1/2ply) and then a 2x1 upstand.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I found a 40mm gap between two top baulks very useful, though I don't have tool rack there as it gets in the way too often.
I have a centre strip that turns over - it sits flat with the top on one side and at different heights as a stop the other way. Very useful for using cramps in the centre of the bench. It's an easy way of using two heavy pieces of timber for the top.
 

NickVanBeest

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If you wanted wider you could put a tool well and then an upstand at the back????
Exactly what I did :cool:

20200816_101618.jpg
 

Sgian Dubh

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Hi all, I've got to the point where I can't put off making a decent bench any longer. I don't want to have to laminate/flatten a worktop so I'm looking at a manufactured board, and ...
It might be worth your while considering a solid core door from the likes of Travis Perkins, or other suppliers. Slainte.
 

cmoops2

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Ian - have you considered an all-plywood option ? Only ask because Paul Sellers has a great YouTube series of videos of his build - episode 1 at:
 

DBC

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To be honest I don’t know what the last two products you list are.

However, I use a lot of furniture board in my joinery. My last order was 65 @ 2400x600x18mm in the week before christmas for a big oak library room I did in January. I love working with these boards as they are solid wood for ease of work and finish and customers seem to be really pleased with the way they look. However, furniture board cups really badly and is hard to keep flat. If you are going to use it as a worktop I would definitely use torsion box construction to keep it flat. If you aren’t familiar with this just put ‘torsion box’ into google images.

Although I once made one for someone else I have personally never had a torsion box workbench but intuition tells me they may be quite loud to hammer around on as they are constructed a bit like a drum with a skin on each side and an echo chamber within.

I may be wrong but the guys above suggesting plywood and solid core door construction may be trying to save you future frustration. You will care a lot less if you drop a chisel, splash paint, accidentally run a sawblade over these than expensive furniture board.

Finally, I know you said you weren’t interested in this type of construction but my own workbench - which is quite large at 2400x1500mm as I make a lot of doors and windows - is made from laminated pine CLS 3x2 from B&Q. These are relatively cheap and easily resurfaced. I flatten mine off ever couple of years with a router as I need to be able to trust in it as a dead flat registration surface when gluing up.
 
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DBC

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Sorry, should also have added that those Oakley boards are a little bit overpriced in my experience: but the quality is OK. I work on the Essex/Suffolk border and there are two local firms up here that have the identical boards that are a little cheaper. Hopefully this will be the case near you.
 

Rich C

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My workbench is laminated 3x2s as well; I ran a hand plane over it the other day as it had developed a bit of a crown (and was covered in paint and muck). It's nice to be able to do that and not care about the cheap wood you're bashing.
 

Jameshow

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If I were making a half decent bench I'd use this stuff...

Good quality timber at £4/m.

One length will only set you back £20 and make a 4x2 bench.

Obvious if you live in the south then simalar timber will be £10/m !
 

IanB

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@DBC, I certainly see what you mean about the Oakley boards being prone to cupping! I've just taken delivery of some 9mm boards for a different project (some storage boxes) - I've cut them to rough lengths straight away and stickered and weighted them while they acclimatise, so I hope that helps - they just came off a container last week.

Definitely good advice not to use them for a bench top, thank you!

Ian
 

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