Workbench design. Viable?

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Art - That workbench looks much too clean, it must be an old picture. What does it really look like now after a few years of use.
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On 4/16/2011 3:05 PM, hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

Bob - My old bench in Illinois looked very similar, however, it was always covered with years of junk, so there was no place to do actual work on it. So, here, starting out new, I vowed to try to keep it clean. So far I've succeeded. Yes there are several ongoing projects scattered across, but it still looks pretty good. I do plan on adding a little 90 degree turn on the right side, mostly for electronic work. But this would only be about 4 - 5' and maybe only 2' deep. Kind of a permanent place for a scope and some meters, a power supply, etc.
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It is a fundamental law of the universe that no horizontal surface can be kept uncluttered. The only reason my saw keeps "clean" is that I keep it covered so it doesn't rust. When I'm done playing, it has to be clean enough for the cover to go back on. ;-)
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On 4/16/2011 10:41 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

And, every shelf space eventually, but usually sooner than later, gets filled. I built a huge shelf unit when I moved into my new house. Then, I had to build another. And finally, the shelf over the top of the workbench. They're all full. But, I am finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. While I don't think I need any more basement shelves, some are needed in the garage ... my next project.
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On 4/17/2011 11:50 AM, Smitty Two wrote:

I think in my case, building was good, because they fit exactly in the space. And I know, per square foot of storage space, the price could be beat. But there was a lot of my time doing it .... but I come pretty cheap. Check out this pic and the next few: https://picasaweb.google.com/actodesco/OurFranklinHouse#5381454456182511826 Also, check out https://picasaweb.google.com/actodesco/OurFranklinHouse#5390276149381429906 where I added another unit. The original unit is 2' deep and 16 ' long. I was able to capitalize on the 9' ceiling height in this area. The 2nd unit, at right angle to the 1st, is again 2' deep and 8' wide. I used mostly 2x2s for the construction, blue screwing them to the concrete wall. I used 2 1/2" finishing nails in the nail gun to put it all together. The shelves are 1/2" MDF pneumatically nailed to the 2x2 structure. They are a little rough but, for storage, OK. I did a similar thing over the top of the workbench, which served 2 purposes, a nice 12' long by 2' deep storage shelf and a support for the workbench lights. https://picasaweb.google.com/actodesco/OurFranklinHouse#5484914585350370034
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So I'm planning to go with the 8 ft laminate countertop over a frame and legs made out of 2 by 4's. That is, unless I make a lucky find on Craigslist.
One silly issue is really bugging me. How to fix the countertop onto the frame?
Since the top surface is finished in laminate, I don't want to screw down into the frame.
Going up from the frame into the underside of the countertop will only give me a half inch or so of bite into MDF/particleboard which doesn't strike me as terribly strong if I or anyone else attempts to move the thing by lifting the countertop.
I guess I could use gobs of Gorilla Glue or construction adhesive?
Any better suggestions?
--
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| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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Heh, I guess that would work well, assuming that gravity turns out to be reliable ;-)
I'm not planning on moving it post installation but any assumptions there are almost certainly *not* reliable. Your approach will made it a lot easier to move the thing if and when the need arises.
Thank you!
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On 4/17/2011 9:24 PM, Malcolm Hoar wrote:

Look inside your kitchen base cabinets (after pulling the drawers out), at the triangle-looking things in the top corners with the screws through them. If you have typical laminate-over-chipboard countertops, there are matching double-thickness areas in the countertop, sometimes plywood instead of chipboard, to catch the screws. Just look through the bracketry aisle at the borg and find similar brackets, or glue'n'screw some corner blocks to your frame, and screw up through those. Simpler to do than to describe.
(Note that I am describing real kitchen cabinets- if you have a newer house with faux cabinets, the top may just be glued down with construction adhesive. Cheaper and faster, but IMHO not better.)
--
aem sends...


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Ahh, yes. My cabinets are not like that but I have seen the things you describe. Thanks.

Right! My countertops were tile (now granite) over ply. Looks like the ply was fastened by screwing down from the top (before the tiler did his thing, of course).
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On 4/18/2011 12:33 AM, Malcolm Hoar wrote:

Usually laminate counter tops are plastic on particle board. In my previous house, I remember that in the top corners of the base cabinet there were diagonal members to keep the cabinet box square. Screws were put upward through this 3/4" thick piece into the particle board. Of course, screw length is critical. So, once you have the frame, it should be easy to put a few drywall screws upward through the frame into the particle board. A little liquid nails wouldn't hurt either.
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On Mon, 18 Apr 2011 04:33:17 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

Depending on how true the 2x4's are and how you screw it together you might not have an absolutely flat mounting surface for your laminate top. My frames weren't cabinet work. Since I always screwed down planks or plywood that didn't matter. I can see a stiff countertop "rattling" if not tied down, though since it's laminate you probably won't be banging on it. A few points. A 1/2" top is plenty strong if you don't bang on it with a sledge or store engine blocks on it. I admit only one of mine 1/2" and the rest 3/4". The 1/2" has my bench grinder, and one of 3/4 tops has my 6" vise. Both are lag screwed right through the top into the 2x4 rails on 3 corners and only into the top on the 4th corner. They're still tight after years, but they don't get heavy use. I'm just a back yard mechanic. Whenever I've moved a bench the natural grab point is a top rail, not the top. No top to grab at the ends which are flush with the rails, and no more than a couple inches top overhand on the fronts, which you can't get your palms on. Best idea I've seen for attacking your countertop is to glue blocks on the underside to keep it in place. But before you glue on blocks lay the top on your new frame, push down all over to see if it rattles or wobbles. If it does, and you can't live with it, gluing blocks won't do you any good, unless using them to screw brackets into to tie it down. But what I'd do then is just lay a bead of silicone caulk on the top rails and set the top down on that. Let it cure some before using. You could still razor the silicone and get the top off if you had to. I don't like screwing into composite stuff.
--Vic
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On Mon, 18 Apr 2011 00:50:15 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

You can screw it to the frame from the bottom. You can use angle stock screwed to the frame and top, or wood blocks glued and screwed to the frame, then screw the top down to those.

Use pretty screws. ;-)

1/2" isn't much of a top. You can glue it to another 3/4" piece of MDF.

Or wood glue. Make sure it's right. It's not coming apart.

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(Malcolm Hoar)

1/2" thick is marginal,pretty flimsy. Better to glue two 3/4" pieces of MDF together,and the extra weight makes a more stable bench. Woodsmith magazine has a show on PBS where they built a workbench,that's how they did it.They have plans on their website.

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Jim Yanik
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A solid-core door works pretty well, too.
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Yeah, I'm assuming it's 3/4" inch but I need to check that. It maybe more, certainly not less. And since it's a prefab countertop there's a backsplash and a double thickness bullnose at the front for some added stiffness.
I'm not too worried about it being flimsy. Having said that it will be simple enough to glue another layer under there if it looks like it could be a problem. I'll definitely keep that option in mind.
However, at 3/4" I figure I would only get 1/2" of effective bite if I screw the frame into the underside. The tips of the screws don't do much!
But I kind of like the idea of using a removable top with locators glued on to prevent any sliding around. I just checked and the countertop is apparently 72 pounds and there will be another 70 pounds of gear on top so I can't see it poping off, even in an earthquake.
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snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote in wrote:

prefab countertops rely upon cabinet sides to add support. the spacing is fairly close. of course,you could add crosspieces on the frame.

the Woodworking Magazine bench that used two 3/4" slabs of MDF used a trim board around the outside that may have centered the worktop on the frame,IIRC. I'm not sure. Knowing those guys,they probably bolted it down,or used lag screws.
Of course,I have no idea what purposes you plan for your workbench. a woodworking bench needs to be flat,heavy and solid(no deflection or sagging,as thin MDF and plywood does do after time),and they drilled 3/4" holes for bench dogs and mounted 2 woodworking vises on it,one on the end and one on the front at the other end.
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Jim Yanik
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MDF.

I have gone through several of these, and even with good support, sometimes they sag. They are attractive, inexpensive, and easy to work with. But they are weak.
Steve
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Nah, this is a very undemanding application. Light, clean work (hence the laminate). I need quick and cheap. A little sag (within reason) won't hurt either.
And the chances are that within 3 years it will be moot, one way or another. I don't need 20 years life out of this.
I wouldn't use the proposed approach for heavy woodwork, engine work or anything like that. Think in terms of something more like office work.
I don't have too many worries about a countertop supported on a good frame of 2 by 4's.
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Malcolm Hoar wrote:

an old flat solid door from the habitat recycle store. it comes with a cable hole already drilled for you.
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wrote:

And maybe a window too.
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