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Workbench top

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Nick Welburn26/01/2022 12:44:34
121 forum posts

I’m sorting out my workbench in the garage. It’s got a mini mill and mini lathe on it. I’m going to bolt them down and run cables power etc.

I’m planning to use a 3m length of worktop. Any advice on colour would be appreciated. Obvs A is doesn’t really matter, B black will show less mess.

But am I missing a trick on a lighter background. May as well get it right…

Former Member26/01/2022 12:55:32
1085 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

JasonB26/01/2022 12:59:14
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Moderator
22559 forum posts
2634 photos
1 articles

White bounces more light back into the workshop and also probably easier to see a small nut or screw on the surface if you drop one.

Journeyman26/01/2022 13:02:19
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1146 forum posts
230 photos

I've got an offcut of light grey granite pattern wher my 3D printer lives. Because that's what I had handy!

workspace.jpg

John

Nicholas Wheeler 126/01/2022 13:06:52
906 forum posts
86 photos

Light colours make for a more pleasant work area.

But be careful that it doesn't match the colour of your most used material: for example steel parts on a silver surface

Russ B26/01/2022 13:21:41
615 forum posts
26 photos
Posted by JasonB on 26/01/2022 12:59:14:

White bounces more light back into the workshop and also probably easier to see a small nut or screw on the surface if you drop one.

+1 for this comment

I have smooth metallic white sparkle worktops in the garage, when I'm rebuilding engines I have an area set aside for circling and naming unique bolts/valve shims etc.

Clive Foster26/01/2022 13:34:43
3103 forum posts
107 photos

Not so sure about kitchen worktop as a benchtop. Its very smooth and slippy for easy cleaning so stuff tends to roll off. Not helped by the nicely curved edge. Generally the top surface is quite easily damaged too. I've always found it unpleasant to work on when doing mechanical or other workshop type jobs.

The labs I worked in at RARDE / DERA / DRA had heavyweight lino tops on teak(?) support structure with poper, carpentry made cupboards beneath. DRA management decreed modernisation pulled the whole lot out to replace with cheap metal frames and legs, smooth melamine tops and kitchen cabinet style cupboards. Total and utter crap. Much less pleasant to work on. Pretty much a riot from the worker bees once we realised what was going on. Management got bonuses for spending a fortune making things worse.

Heavyweight lino and a suitable under support is probably too expensive for normal folk. Especially as it needs a nice battening around the outside edge.

Consider a moisture resistant T&G flooring board with the slightly rough surface, such as Cabertek P5 (but do look before you buy), as an alternative. Not silly expensive, so binning if damaged doesn't hurt too much. The rough surface stops things rolling too far but isn't so rough as to be damagingly abrasive. I usually pin a softwood batten on the edge with a tiny bit of upstand over the surface to further help control rollers. Perhaps 1/2 mm or a bit more so no great impediment to sliding heavy stuff off.

Great for shelves too, with a bit more upstand on the edge batten, 1/16 or so, on high ones! Upstand is a bit annoying on high ones 'cos I have to get the fold up step stand out rather than drag stuff off at head and above height. Enforced safety is probably a good thing as drag off has come close to being more than a bit risky in the past.

Clive

MikeK26/01/2022 13:46:23
226 forum posts
17 photos

I would recommend not fully bolting down the lathe. You will twist the not very sturdy bed. I had mine bolted down until I found the twist in my measurements. Now I have not-tightened bolts, just to keep the lathe from moving.

Former Member26/01/2022 13:55:12
1085 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

brian roberts 226/01/2022 14:06:54
22 forum posts
6 photos

My preferred work-bench top surface is industrial black rubber sheet, about 2 mm thick. Cut to shape it stays in position and resists oil and grease quite well, but if I'm dismantling an engine I'll use some newspaper for the inevitable oil spillage. It doesn't suffer damage from knives either.

jaCK Hobson26/01/2022 14:26:39
257 forum posts
92 photos

I had white. It got stained. Maybe the stains would look a little less unsightly if the top had a light marble/granite pattern on it like Journeyman. I still prefer 'unsightly stains on white' to black though.

Someone told me that light green you see everywhere (painted machines in industry, Warco, watch repairers benchtop) is 'easy on the eye' but I'd like to see the paper, appropriately peer-reviewed, before accepting it as fact.

I guess the advice is white, black, or somewhere in between.

Edited By jaCK Hobson on 26/01/2022 14:28:50

Nigel McBurney 126/01/2022 14:36:21
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999 forum posts
3 photos

18 mm chipboard,with natural colour hardboard tacked on top,cheap and cheerful, used for engine restoration work and rougher work,and lasts for long time about 20 years ,gets oil petrol and paint spilt on it, in my engineering workshop the timber framed bench has a plain untreated chipboard top, about 40 years old, if any machined parts ,precision tools etc are accidentally dropped on it they are not damaged,same as the floor, I have an old kitchen floor unit which has a formica top,to which my Fobco drill is bolted, drop anything small on that surface and it will bounce and disapear into oblivion.

Former Member26/01/2022 14:40:01
1085 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Phil Whitley26/01/2022 15:16:57
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1437 forum posts
147 photos

I used chipboard firedoors topped with hardboard, the hardboard is treated as a replaceable surface, and cut so that it can be inverted when one side gets too trashed! It has been nearly 2 years now, and I am there 5 days a week, and still fine!

Phil

Rik Shaw26/01/2022 15:20:02
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1480 forum posts
398 photos

My worktop benches are a light sandy colour. I tried black which does not show dirt but small parts are much more visible with the light colour worktops. Fence posts make good legs!

Rik

clogs26/01/2022 15:27:18
626 forum posts
12 photos

I quite like just plain ol MDF, looks great after a while when the oil get soaked in......

My mobile grinder/sharpening set up is 750mmx1.5m, it has a formica top for easy clean....

I also have an 8x4x8mm steel plate workbench for welding and marking out life size......

plus the same size with a 3/4 plywood top for asembly purps.....

luckily all my machines are full size and on their own feet....and not bolted down either.....

pgk pgk26/01/2022 15:52:51
2549 forum posts
293 photos

When I built my shed storage it was based on kitchen units I made out of 18mm MDF but 800mm deep. The top ended up being made of two layers of the same - offcuts topped with clean sheets countersunk screwed, filled and then painted. I figured that repainting it when it got tatty wouldn't be too much of an issue with a gloss roller.
I chose a bright green just to be cheerful. More expensive options I might have invested in as a top layer - if I wasn't cheap - included floor vinyl, sheet alloy, or those rubber tiles for garage floors or simply epoxy. or clear polyester over a colour.

pgk

Ches Green UK26/01/2022 15:55:39
56 forum posts
5 photos

As Clive says ...

The labs I worked in at RARDE / DERA / DRA had heavyweight lino tops on teak(?) support structure with poper, carpentry made cupboards beneath.

At Johnson Matthey we had the same. The 'lino fitter' would pop in every few years and replace the old lino with fresh sturdy, spillage proof lino, making the benches look as good as new. The old lino had cut marks, paint, drill holes etc.

DRA management decreed modernisation pulled the whole lot out to replace with cheap metal frames and legs, smooth melamine tops and kitchen cabinet style cupboards. Total and utter crap. Much less pleasant to work on. Pretty much a riot from the worker bees once we realised what was going on. Management got bonuses for spending a fortune making things worse.

Yes, got that T-shirt. There is always a case for 'modernisation as there is for 'if it isn't broke, don't try to fix it'.

My home shed bench is Studding framework, 20mm chipboard topped by replaceable hardboard sheet. Shelving underneath is mostly made from the recycled floorboards of my old shed.

Ches

Brian H26/01/2022 16:04:42
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2312 forum posts
112 photos

My workbench tops came from a dealer in reclaimed wood. The are a multiply board with a black plastic coating and were originally used as shuttering for poured concrete. The plastic coating prevents the concrete from sticking. The boards are about 3/4 inch thick and are heavy and sturdy.

Brian

Ramon Wilson26/01/2022 16:15:31
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1283 forum posts
367 photos

Well, despite some reservations above about its use my lathe has been mounted on a cheap range 38mm kitchen worktop purchased on offer at B&Q. Granted it is on top of a 2" box section MS support but its as good as the day it was set up - circa 1987.

Can't complain, it's done me proud so far smiley

Tug

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