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One project to complete and I can build my new workbenches.  I have been looking at several plans for awhile and have all construction set except for the tops.  I will be making two benches with tops that measure 24" by 48".  One will have a face vise and dog holes for it as well as dog holes to use a bench pup.  The other will have "T" slots and will serve to hold my miter saw and/or other bench-top tools.  Both will have heights to match my table saw so to double as in-feed/out-feed tables.

My question is what material are you using for a workbench top, and how has it worked out for you?  Please relate both good and bad. 

For all I have built, I've never owned a dedicated wood working bench.  I've used a large plywood topped table saw out-feed table and currently am using a small assembly table built out one of those old "convert your circular saw into a table saw" folding table.  It has a melamine top with "T" slots cut into it.

Looking forward to hearing what other members use and what they'd do differently if they could.

Thanks in advance, Don

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Im new to woodworking so take my two cents for what its worth LOL :) But I see a lot of youtube videos using 2 pieces of 3/4 inch birch plywood glued together for tops to workbenches as well as outfeed tables and more. They glue two and clamp them to give it more weight and make it more solid I guess. Thats what i went with and its nice and smooth the birch plywood and heavy duty too.

I used ¾" plywood over a hollow core door.  That gave me a flat surface on which to work.  The hollow core door acts as a torsion box.  I mounted a couple of T-tracks running the 7 foot length at 1/3 & 2/3 the width, into which I can mount clamps and hold downs.

After working with it for a while, there are several things I would change with regards to the top. 

I would definitely use dog holes instead of the T-track.  It would allow greater flexibility as to what is being held. I'd also include space for mounting a tail vise and a face vise.

I have seen bench tops done with laminated 2x lumber - The one that Jay's Custom Creations made comes to mind.  I think he spent a little over $100 for the lumber to do the entire 6' bench.

Thanks Tim and Michael,

I'm leaning toward a glued up top with two major concerns.  Solid maple is quite expensive and most of my shop projects are built from scrap or construction grade lumber, I guess I'm cheap; and construction grade lumber, at least whats available locally is full of twists and turns, meaning a lot of time on the jointer and planer.  I also wonder about dog holes remaining true and not wallowing out if I use soft lumber.  One idea I've had is to glue up a top using 8/4 maple or ash where I'll have dog holes or "T" slots and use construction grade 2 by lumber for the rest.  Can anybody think of a reason that will not work?

Don

I have 2 pieces of 3/4" plywood screwed together from the bottom.  The thought was that if the top piece of plywood got really beat up, I could back the screws out and replace the top only, using the bottom as a template.

I've since seen others on Youtube do something similar with a smaller piece of sacrificial covering for the top.  Can't recall what they used.

I made a section that can be removed for when I want to use my mitre saw or other smaller tools which sits in recessed section so that it's even with the bench top. I wanted the ability to remove the tool if I needed more workbench space.  I did think to put wheels on the bottom, which makes it easy to clean behind, etc.  I also added electric to it which does come in handy.  Just a few more things to consider with your plans.  The only thing that I think I would probably do differently, would be to not have made it so deep.  It's 35".

Good luck. 

The bench in the auto side of my shop has a melamine sacrificial top over 2x6's.  The first one lasted 25+ years. 

Tony said:

I have 2 pieces of 3/4" plywood screwed together from the bottom.  The thought was that if the top piece of plywood got really beat up, I could back the screws out and replace the top only, using the bottom as a template.

I've since seen others on Youtube do something similar with a smaller piece of sacrificial covering for the top.  Can't recall what they used.

I made a section that can be removed for when I want to use my mitre saw or other smaller tools which sits in recessed section so that it's even with the bench top. I wanted the ability to remove the tool if I needed more workbench space.  I did think to put wheels on the bottom, which makes it easy to clean behind, etc.  I also added electric to it which does come in handy.  Just a few more things to consider with your plans.  The only thing that I think I would probably do differently, would be to not have made it so deep.  It's 35".

Good luck. 

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