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Workbench top

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Mark Rand26/01/2022 16:15:51
1236 forum posts
28 photos

My bench and its top started life as a number of desk/tables at work that had 1" chipboard tops with a matt finish Formica top and bottom. The top is now three of the original table tops bolted together with a sheet of 3/8" steel underneath the topmost one. Other table top sheets were fitted between the table legs to provide extra rigidity and then draws were built into the bench. Colour is an off white.

This results in an incredibly rigid bench and the top most layer gets taken off to expose the steel when I need a large welding table.

Iain Downs26/01/2022 16:20:16
852 forum posts
747 photos

I built mine of 2 layers of 18mm marine ply. I have two regrets. One I should have varnished it. Now it's quite black and ugly. Two I should have paid more attention to the levelness. somehow, despite 6 inch deep ply battons supporting the length, it's got all lumpy and twisted, which makes it a bit rocky with some tools and parts.


Former Member26/01/2022 16:39:30
1085 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Bill Phinn26/01/2022 17:10:14
732 forum posts
103 photos

Whatever material you opt for, and especially if it is a chipboard-based material like many 38mm kitchen worktops, make sure that your 3m is well supported from below along its length to prevent sagging.

My 2m long bench with my mill on has a 38mm kitchen worktop top but this rests on six 4x4 legs with lots of further support underneath from intermediate 4x2 studding. The whole bench sits on nine 4 inch diameter nylon castors.

Finally, unless you can read the future and you know you're never going to want to re-size or dismantle your bench, do not use glue to hold things together, but screws and bolts only; made properly it will still be plenty strong enough for several hundred kgs of mill and lathe.


Edited By Bill Phinn on 26/01/2022 17:11:05

Mike Poole26/01/2022 17:37:13
3302 forum posts
73 photos

My bench is seldom seen so the colour tends not to matter too much, it is actually a piece of worktop that is a sort of oatmeal colour. The colour was chosen because it was the cheapest 38mm top in the shop. The vice is mounted on a 8mm thick steel plate and bolted through to the steel frame below, I always mount the vice over a leg for maximum support. When the top becomes too tatty it will get a layer of hardboard and be varnished.


Bill Pudney26/01/2022 22:52:25
606 forum posts
24 photos

I used laminations of, from the top going down, 1 x 12mm construction grade ply, 2 x laminations of 18mm chipboard, 1 x lamination of 12mm construction grade ply, making a total of approx 60mm, all glued and screwed together. There are three benchtops like this, one with my "big" lathe a Sieg C3 (so not really big!!), one with a Sieg X2 mill, and one with a small lathe, a Schaublin T70. All the benchtops are approx 1,200mm x 600mm and are painted with two or three coats of exterior grade, full gloss enamel paint. I used white for several reasons, the first I had it, secondly most of my work is Al. Alloy which is inherently clean, thirdly for the lighting properties. If I was using a lot of cast iron for instance I don't think the white paint would have been such a good idea! The actual benches are those knock together steel benches available at most big hardware shops. I knocked them together and drilled lots of holes which were used to bolt everything together. That has been fine so far. The actual benchtops are clamped with long pieces of angle clamping the tops to the frame, from under the benchtop. Sounds a bit Harry Tate, but it's lasted six or seven years with no problems so far.

If I had access to a welder I would have used 50 x 50 x 3 RHS and welded up a substantial frame, then used a steel benchtop. This would all be painted white.

best of luck!!



Pete.27/01/2022 01:20:31
793 forum posts
228 photos

When building one of my workbenches, being on a tight budget as had to factor in the steel which was all welded to make the frame, I opted to buy 3 lengths of 2" thick planed edge pine timber, although even this wasn't cheap really, it was a while ago now but must have been about £25 each, I put some quadrant around the back edge and sides to stop things rolling off, probably the best thing I ever did, later I made a worktop for my Snap On toolbox because the official one was quite expensive, I bought a 3 metre length of 40mm thick Oak Butchers block style worktop on eBay for around £150 delivered, I'd definitely save the hassle of making a worktop knowing such nice quality worktops are available so cheaply, all it needed was a rub down with some 400g then a wipe over with some stain on a rag, then the same with some Danish oil, obviously had to cut it to size a router the badge bit out.

Some kitchen worktops might be a bit slippery when working on things, may or may not be an issue, bit something to bear in mind.

My pine worktop now has quite a few of those metal inserts that sit flush so you can screw machine screws in to hold various things.

Snap on worktop


Roger Best30/01/2022 21:16:17
369 forum posts
56 photos

Who knows??

My information:


Chris Mate31/01/2022 04:42:08
136 forum posts
32 photos

My workbench has a 3-Layer 22mm MDF glued/bolted down, then a 4mm alluminium plate glued on that with a drillpress bolted on each end, its pretty tough flat and can take hammerring.

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