Ideas on Building Workbench top

A good friend of mine gave me 6 poplar panels. They are made of 1"x1"x3",glued and edge jointed poplar. Not sure if they have biscuits along the edges or not. They're 23" wide, and the length varies between 76" & 78". Perfect size for a work bench. They've also been sanded to about a 60 grit finish.
My idea was to get a sheet of 3/4" MDF, and glue/laminate 2 - 3 of these panels onto one side of the MDF for the work surface of the bench top, and rip one of the panels down to 12" - 13" and place it next to the laminated panels on the MDF for the tool tray. I'll then add a bench dog strip, end and side caps, etc.
My question is can you glue these poplar panels to the MDF? I looked at MDF at Lowes yesterday, and the surface seemed really smooth.
Will Gorilla Glue work, or should I consider something else?
Not sure how to compress the panels across the face - I thought of using 2x4's, on edge extended out over the panels, and using my clamps to compress the extended ends. Any other ideas?
Do I need to figure out some kind of mechanical fastener to hold the panels together and tie them to the MDF?
Thanks for your input and suggestions - There is so much experience here, and I greatly value the input I receive.
Nick Bozovich
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you could use Titebond to glue the poplar to the MDF, OR you could use contact adhesive instead. Either one will work, but the nice thing about contact cement is there's no clamping involved. I laminated my bench top from 2 pieces of 3/4 MDF with Weldwood solvent based contact cement. As long as there are no sources of ignition nearby, it's good stuff. IF you can't avoid them, use the water based. Nix on the Gorilla glue. What's the point of using that stuff, anyway, Nick. Expensive, messy and needless.
dave
Nick Bozovich wrote:

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Nick,
I work with MDF all the time and Titebond will be fine. One question, why would you use Poplar as the top for your workbench? Isn't it too soft and won't it dent easily? IMHO it always has when I worked with it. Why don't you just use MDF as the top if you don't want to buy some maple. That way you won't get upset when you need to spend $10 when you punch a hole in the top. Save the poplar for a nice painted cabinet or for some drawer sides.
Chuck
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