mft style workbench

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reck123

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I was lucky enough to be given a load of offcuts of beach from a commericial solid wood furniture manufactur. I saved a lot of them with the idea of making my workbench frame out of them.

many glue sandwiches to get the thickness of parts I needed.

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I decided to go for a solid wood frame and a torsion box mft style top.
The frame is made using the domino machine which made light work of the mortise and tenon joinery between the stretchers and the legs.
I have the df500 and stacked 4 dominos per joint so should be plenty strong
the internal supports are also dominoed and clamped and glued with the second bottom sheet screwed in to the supports.

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the top is made from 20mm HDF a high density fibre board and sealed with 6 coats of poly urethane. the first few coats got sucked up pretty quickly. I bought some retractable workbench wheels to allow the bench to be mobile around the shop.

I drilled only half of my top with dog holes with only one row only going the full length of the top as I thought perhaps it would be nice to have a decent sized portion of my bench without holes.
the top is just over 2 meters long a little over 1 meter wide.

at some point I will add some dog holes in the top of the vice to allow clamping in between the vice and the gridwork and when I get some time I will add some drawers below.

I pinched the sausage style cut outs from a guy name 'Ron Paulk' (who has plans for a jobsite carpenters style workbench) as it allowed me to build a torsion box whilst still having access to the underside of the mft gridwork. It also is really handy for not cluttering up your workbench and having things you need during a project at arms reach.

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Cabinetman

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That looks very nicely finished piece of work in a very clean and tidy workshop! How do you hold the top down to the base by the way? And hoping you’ve got a big chunk of something behind that vice!
I think had it been me I would have formed mortises and tenons whilst I was glueing those pieces together.
Personally I wouldn’t know what to do with all those holes, but I hope it’s very useful for you. Ian
 

RobinBHM

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I’m thinking of making an MFT top as an assembly bench for shaker doors, face frames, drawers….I’m very interested to know how you get on with your torsion box mft bench
 

reck123

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That looks very nicely finished piece of work in a very clean and tidy workshop! How do you hold the top down to the base by the way? And hoping you’ve got a big chunk of something behind that vice!
I think had it been me I would have formed mortises and tenons whilst I was glueing those pieces together.
Personally I wouldn’t know what to do with all those holes, but I hope it’s very useful for you. Ian
Thank you Ian, the top is bolted down through holes in the aprons. yes I added a big chunk of beach behind the frame on the side of the vice so its nice and sturdy and no flex. thats definitely one way to do it. but I bought the domino around the time of starting this project and wanted to give it a good test drive. made joinery like this such a breeze.
 

Stevekane

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Thats a lovely bench and a super bit of work, but just so I fully understand, this is really an assembly bench,,a perfectly flat surface rather than a workbench?
 

reck123

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What polyurethane did you use to seal to MDF top?
its actually a product called 'holz siegel' by the brand called clou here in germany which just translates to 'wood seal. I put several coats on first mixed with a thinner which I feel better penetrated the surface then the last few coats i left undiluted.
 
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reck123

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Thats a lovely bench and a super bit of work, but just so I fully understand, this is really an assembly bench,,a perfectly flat surface rather than a workbench?
Thanks a lot steve, this is actually just my dedicated work bench, it doubles up as a assembly table due to the flat surface but I'm using it for all my work. the clamping/workholding possibilities with the hole gridwork are a refreshing change and I already feel much faster and efficient.
I am mostly a power tool guy with some hand tools I use frequently, i.e chisels and a block plane but im not hand cutting fine joinery so I didn't feel the need for a big solid wood top and felt this would suit my needs better, though its rock solid and doesn't budge a bit.
 

pe2dave

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Only suggestion, applying sealant. Use a roller, very little product on it, or it gets into the holes - and sanding 'em
back to 20mm is a b.. of a job. roller skims over holes if you don't press on.
 

reck123

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Only suggestion, applying sealant. Use a roller, very little product on it, or it gets into the holes - and sanding 'em
back to 20mm is a b.. of a job. roller skims over holes if you don't press on.
a roller is for sure a good choice you can also use it to seal the inside of the holes as well. I put the first few coats on before I even routed the holes
 

MikeK

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Thanks a lot steve, this is actually just my dedicated work bench, it doubles up as a assembly table due to the flat surface but I'm using it for all my work. the clamping/workholding possibilities with the hole gridwork are a refreshing change and I already feel much faster and efficient.
I am mostly a power tool guy with some hand tools I use frequently, i.e chisels and a block plane but im not hand cutting fine joinery so I didn't feel the need for a big solid wood top and felt this would suit my needs better, though its rock solid and doesn't budge a bit.

I like your workbench and it looks like a great compromise for assembly and working space. I also like your mobility solution, but am concerned about the load limits of the wheels as you start loading the workbench with shelving. I considered a solution like yours when I built my workbench, but decided on locking swivel casters.

My workbench top has a 1x2 meter Valchromat top and aluminum extrusion for the frame. Now that it is loaded with my tools, it is heavy but I can still roll it around when needed.

Since I have a separate solid wood workbench for hand tool work, I drilled 20mm dog holes the full width and length of the new workbench. So far, this has worked out well for me, but if I didn't have the other workbench, I would have done what you did.
 

reck123

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thanks Mike,

I bought those wheels from dieter schmidt fine tools. According to the website each wheel has a loading capacity of 80kg, thats quite a lot. maybe your right with the extra weight of shelves and drawers ill have to wait and find out..


your workbench sounds very interesting especially the aluminium frame.

I would love a smaller solid wood top as well but I am renting in a shared workshop with 5 others and we agreed on one workbench each so this was my compromise.
 

MikeK

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your workbench sounds very interesting especially the aluminium frame.

Here's the build thread for my workbench:

 

Cabinetman

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thanks Mike,

I bought those wheels from dieter schmidt fine tools. According to the website each wheel has a loading capacity of 80kg, thats quite a lot. maybe your right with the extra weight of shelves and drawers ill have to wait and find out..


your workbench sounds very interesting especially the aluminium frame.

I would love a smaller solid wood top as well but I am renting in a shared workshop with 5 others and we agreed on one workbench each so this was my compromise.
Sharing a workshop like that must have its moments! There must be a great deal of trust between you, with regard to not using somebody else’s tools and it must be difficult , who gets to use the spindle moulder next sort of problem. Is it common in Germany to share like that?
 

reck123

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Sharing a workshop like that must have its moments! There must be a great deal of trust between you, with regard to not using somebody else’s tools and it must be difficult , who gets to use the spindle moulder next sort of problem. Is it common in Germany to share like that?
haha yes from time to time it does but mostly its pretty harmonious, we moved in to this space together after working in a much smaller cramped space so its been a major upgrade. I think its probably pretty common in a lot of major citys amongst younger self employed folk. I couldn't possibly afford a space of my own (yet) and if i could it wouldn't have a patch on this place. we've all got some skin in the game there as we are all making some money from it so yes there is a level of trust.

main tools like table saws and drill press, planers are obviosly shared, each mainly has his own hand/power tools but we also like to share from time to time, gives you access to a bigger artillery of tools.

rarely is there a line behind one of the big tools, spindle moulder, table saw. as there is always another task you can do inbetween that time.
 

reck123

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Here's the build thread for my workbench:

thats a great looking bench mike, like something out of a labratory :)
 
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