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I'm gearing up to build my own clamping table--have my Klamp Traks all ready to go. But my thought was to perforate the MDF or melamine top to accomodate F-clamps. Any argument against doing this? Will the holes crumble with use?

_bryan

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That's very helpful, Jim. Sounds like you and KregRep are on the same page. If I go the MDF route, I'll be sure to give it this treatment.

Thanks!


Jim Delorme said:

Something you may want to consider is to use a small round over bit in your router to ease the edges of each hole slightly.

Sealing cut edges:

"Thin CA glue"

Apply a small amount to the newly cut edges---

it seals/bonds the tiny fibers together,

and keeps them from chipping away.

I use this style clamp frequently, in a variety of my work tops.

4-1/4'' Reach Hold-Down Clamp

When inserting and removing it from the bench-dog holes,

it causes some distortion and wear---

(more so in MDF and particle board).

The CA glue toughens the cut edges, and the chipping is reduced significantly.

Works for me.

 

Bryan, Everyone starts with what they think is very little knowledge but once you start doing more and more towards completing a task such as what you are planning to build, you will see how fast things fall into place.  You will realize that there are more ways of doing something than just one or two.  This is where the members of this site come into play as they each have their own ideas and knowledge that they have gained and will share with others.  It is usually a combination of ideas that yeild the best end results.

In answer to your question about a piece of counter top  near what you need.  That would be the best idea and you can find them stating at or near 4 ft long however you can also cut them to the size you want using a carbide tooth saw blade.  If you do place tape along the cut line that  you wish to make and score it with a utility knife and a straight edge a few times and then cut with a saw.  Just besure you make the score line where it will be at the edge where you want the piece to save and not so it falls in the middle of the saw kerf or on the waste side of the material.  If you don't the score line will serve no purpose.

The tape will help help prevent the chip out that you will get.  Once cut the edge will be like a razor so handle carefully.  Then take a file and sandpaper and remove the sharp edge rounding it off slightly.  This will also help prevent chipping and cracking and is the same idea and reason that both the Kreg Rep and Jim had when they were advising you as to what to do with the holes and edges.

 It is the sharp edges that will be prone to chip out and cracks just like even is steel and glass.  It is the very sharp edge that is the  weak area where fractures begin.  To help in removing this problem a very slight rounding of the sharp edge removes some of this tend to fracture.  In cutting glass you are not really cutting it but you are physically causing a fracture line where it will break when pressure is applied.  Once cut the best prevention for cracks coming from the edge is for the edge to be removed usually with a diamond stone or file and in some cases even a few swipes with a tough sand paper will do the trick.

In wood it is the sharp edge that you will often find splinters and or cracking of the wood grain, even after a finish is used and or the product has been in service for a while.  Example like a sharp edge produced by a sharp saw blade kerf, the edge after it has been run through a jointer or surface planner.  It can even be after you have cut a surface using a had chisel or hand plane.  Basically anywhere you have machined wood leaving a very sharp edge.  The nex time you go the a home center or lumber yard take a look at even the edges of framing timber and see if the edges are rounded off.  The rounded off area might not be very noticeable until you really look at it  but there is a reason for it.

This is why it is best remove the sharp edge.  Perhaps this will better explain why Jim and the Kreg Rep is advising you to do  remove the sharp edge.
I'm looking forward to seeing you finished project.

It's very humbling, Jay, to read everybody's helpful comments and realize just how little I know and how much I have to learn! But thanks for your insights--the prefab countertop sounds like a fantastic idea, especially for a newbie like me. I assume it'd be nice and square and fantastically flat. Would the key be to find one roughly the size I want and plan the rest of the workbench around that?

As for the dog holes, I did have an idea to glue PVC into them to make them more durable. But the threaded inserts sound very interesting and way tougher.

Thanks again, Jay!


Jay Boutwell said:

In reading the comments about melamine I agree with them.  Something that I might add however is that in my area there are two grades of melamine one of which is a low grade product that is almost worthless for your purpose.  It is similiar to a painted surface that is soft, thin and brittle.  The other is a industrial grade and is what I use when I have to resort to the melamine for building cabinets.  The difference is how the melamine coating is applied as well as the core used. 

I'm not a big fan of melamine even though I often, and by customer demand only, have used it for cabinet boxes where a white interiors is desired.  Because of it being brittle and having the chipping tendacy is my main objection to it's use.  

As a suggestion only, If I was going to build a project that you are planning I would use a good piece of plywood and laminated a cabinet counter top laminate to the surface.   It would outlast a melamine surface many times over. 

Another thought would be to go to a home center and purchase a prefab counter top.  The advantage being durability, as the laminate is much tougher than melamine surface even though it will most likely be bonded to  a high density particle board.  I'm sure you can also find used counter tops in your area as well.

If there is any holes that you need that will allow you to use a threaded bolt in liew of a through bolt, remember there are threaded inserts that allow you to use a threaded bolt or screw many time without damage to the table. The are available in a variety of screw sizes available at most woodworking supplies and are not too expensive.

Your project sound like it could be interesting and rewarding to use.   

Excellent. Thanks, Ken!

Ken Darga said:

Sealing cut edges:

"Thin CA glue"

Apply a small amount to the newly cut edges---

it seals/bonds the tiny fibers together,

and keeps them from chipping away.

I use this style clamp frequently, in a variety of my work tops.

4-1/4'' Reach Hold-Down Clamp

When inserting and removing it from the bench-dog holes,

it causes some distortion and wear---

(more so in MDF and particle board).

The CA glue toughens the cut edges, and the chipping is reduced significantly.

Works for me.

 

That's very encouraging and helpful, Jay. I'll keep an eye on those edges, and take care when cutting MDF.

I went down to the lumber yard last weekend and I explained the project I have in mind to one of the guys there. He led me to a stack of MDO. After explaining to the noob what MDO is, this stuff seems like a great way to go--like the sweet spot where MDF and plywood meet. So I wouldn't get the crumbling around the dog holes, but it'd be nice and flat and have a smooth surface. A bit more expensive than MDF, but do you think this'd be as good a solution as a countertop?


Jay Boutwell said:

Bryan, Everyone starts with what they think is very little knowledge but once you start doing more and more towards completing a task such as what you are planning to build, you will see how fast things fall into place.  You will realize that there are more ways of doing something than just one or two.  This is where the members of this site come into play as they each have their own ideas and knowledge that they have gained and will share with others.  It is usually a combination of ideas that yeild the best end results.

In answer to your question about a piece of counter top  near what you need.  That would be the best idea and you can find them stating at or near 4 ft long however you can also cut them to the size you want using a carbide tooth saw blade.  If you do place tape along the cut line that  you wish to make and score it with a utility knife and a straight edge a few times and then cut with a saw.  Just besure you make the score line where it will be at the edge where you want the piece to save and not so it falls in the middle of the saw kerf or on the waste side of the material.  If you don't the score line will serve no purpose.

The tape will help help prevent the chip out that you will get.  Once cut the edge will be like a razor so handle carefully.  Then take a file and sandpaper and remove the sharp edge rounding it off slightly.  This will also help prevent chipping and cracking and is the same idea and reason that both the Kreg Rep and Jim had when they were advising you as to what to do with the holes and edges.

 It is the sharp edges that will be prone to chip out and cracks just like even is steel and glass.  It is the very sharp edge that is the  weak area where fractures begin.  To help in removing this problem a very slight rounding of the sharp edge removes some of this tend to fracture.  In cutting glass you are not really cutting it but you are physically causing a fracture line where it will break when pressure is applied.  Once cut the best prevention for cracks coming from the edge is for the edge to be removed usually with a diamond stone or file and in some cases even a few swipes with a tough sand paper will do the trick.

In wood it is the sharp edge that you will often find splinters and or cracking of the wood grain, even after a finish is used and or the product has been in service for a while.  Example like a sharp edge produced by a sharp saw blade kerf, the edge after it has been run through a jointer or surface planner.  It can even be after you have cut a surface using a had chisel or hand plane.  Basically anywhere you have machined wood leaving a very sharp edge.  The nex time you go the a home center or lumber yard take a look at even the edges of framing timber and see if the edges are rounded off.  The rounded off area might not be very noticeable until you really look at it  but there is a reason for it.

This is why it is best remove the sharp edge.  Perhaps this will better explain why Jim and the Kreg Rep is advising you to do  remove the sharp edge.
I'm looking forward to seeing you finished project.

It's very humbling, Jay, to read everybody's helpful comments and realize just how little I know and how much I have to learn! But thanks for your insights--the prefab countertop sounds like a fantastic idea, especially for a newbie like me. I assume it'd be nice and square and fantastically flat. Would the key be to find one roughly the size I want and plan the rest of the workbench around that?

As for the dog holes, I did have an idea to glue PVC into them to make them more durable. But the threaded inserts sound very interesting and way tougher.

Thanks again, Jay!


Jay Boutwell said:

In reading the comments about melamine I agree with them.  Something that I might add however is that in my area there are two grades of melamine one of which is a low grade product that is almost worthless for your purpose.  It is similiar to a painted surface that is soft, thin and brittle.  The other is a industrial grade and is what I use when I have to resort to the melamine for building cabinets.  The difference is how the melamine coating is applied as well as the core used. 

I'm not a big fan of melamine even though I often, and by customer demand only, have used it for cabinet boxes where a white interiors is desired.  Because of it being brittle and having the chipping tendacy is my main objection to it's use.  

As a suggestion only, If I was going to build a project that you are planning I would use a good piece of plywood and laminated a cabinet counter top laminate to the surface.   It would outlast a melamine surface many times over. 

Another thought would be to go to a home center and purchase a prefab counter top.  The advantage being durability, as the laminate is much tougher than melamine surface even though it will most likely be bonded to  a high density particle board.  I'm sure you can also find used counter tops in your area as well.

If there is any holes that you need that will allow you to use a threaded bolt in liew of a through bolt, remember there are threaded inserts that allow you to use a threaded bolt or screw many time without damage to the table. The are available in a variety of screw sizes available at most woodworking supplies and are not too expensive.

Your project sound like it could be interesting and rewarding to use.   

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