Work Bench

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I'm kind of with Lew on this one. If you shop for relatively cheap wood (common rather than select and 5/4 rather than 8/4 stock) you will have alot less invested in a top than vises.
Not to say that there is anything wrong with a bench made from recycled material, I applaud that. It just seems a bit inconsistent with the premise:
"For years I have been threatening to build a legitimate work bench."
-Steve

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LMAO!!! I peed a little.
No offense to the OP, because we are all like that are sometimes, but it reminds me of the posers in Nashville who post ads for "professional musicians" who inevitably have no budget to pay them.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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Yeah he got me there.. ;~)) I guess legitimate was probably not the correct description. I am actually trying to steer towards a bench with less steel than wood. ;~)
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;~) My whole idea of using Baltic Birch over solid stock is to hopefully speed up the preparation of the materials for glue up. I am not really looking for a cheaper way out although it seems it would be significantly cheaper with new Baltic Birch plywood over solid stock. My thinking is if I buy solid wood stock and rip it to width for glue up there is going to be some bow in some of the pieces after being cut and that will have to be dealt with. Baltic Birch on the other hand should stay straight after being cut and should eliminate some of the problems that solid wood present from the equation during assembly. It's the stability of the product that I am interested in more so than saving on expense.
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I'm preparing to re-top my primary workbench in the spring. It is 2' by 6'. I'm going to extend the top by a foot. I'll be using a layer of 3/4" ply and then a 1 1/8" thick butcherblock countertop from Ikea. The 1 foot extension will give me a place to install at least one vise (that I already own) and probably a 2nd going the other way and allow a cutout for tools at the opposite end. It'll start out with a good solid flat top and I'll be able to resurface it at least 2 times (and probably a couple more). It'll be easy to remove that countertop layer and replace it if and when the time comes.
Ed
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Well if its about saving time and effort, not money, it's hard to do better than when the wood has gone to the trouble of already assembling itself into a top for you.
http://www.grizzly.com/catalog/2008/Main/270
But I really can't see where ripping the plywood into strips and gluing up is going to save you time. There is no way you're going to get it all aligned perfectly to be *flat* without surfacing it after glueup anyway, versus just stacking three 3/4" sheets together which will be plenty thick and heavy and flat and stable. You could even do ply-MDF-MDF-ply if you want to get it silly thick and heavy, and the ply at the top and bottom will take most of the abuse in the dog holes.

Assembly tables usually want to be bigger than workbenches, but don't need to be as sturdy or heavy.
-Kevin
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Well there is that to consider and one of the reasons I am not sold on a sacrificial top. Having said that however the Baltic Birch plywood top would be all solid hard wood. I think ultimately it would be stronger than the same sized solid wood slab and less likely to be affected by climate changes.
;~) Being in the "BiZ" I have a lot more labor in the price than 65-70% of the price. Typically on the skinny side my labor is at least 75% of the total price and more often closer to 80%. And then again it all depends on whether I am building fine furniture or a fence. ;~) I am really not trying to save money in this situation so much as building a top that would be just as strong as a top with all the wood grain running in the same direction, and perhaps easier to actually cut up and glue.
Thanks for the reality check.
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"Leon" wrote:

Baltic Birch harder than vertical grain maple pieces laminated together??????

Which makes any material savings achieved by material substitution even smaller.

Don't know what size table you want to build, but consider a 2'x6' table.
Make the primary surface from 3/4" x 2-3/4" maple vertical grain laminations.
Surface both sides of the glue-up with a drum sander to about 2-1/2" finished.
Rip a 5 x 5 x 3/4 BB panel into two (2) 24x60 and two (2) 11-3/4x60 pieces which get laminated on bottom side providing a 4" finished top.
Epoxied together, be tougher than a bull's pecker in fly time.
Lew
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Not harder, stronger.

Yeah but this is for me. ;~) I think I am stering back away from the plywood however.

I am using a 60 inch table now and like the length but am also considering a telescoping end.. The problem is the steel top.

Thanks Lew.
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I picked up a used kitchen table with an Oak top and put two layers of plywood underneath.
The table top was the standard country style top with running bond blocks of Oak. Cut the table to width and used the remainder to edge band everything, if you didn't look underneath you would think it was 3" thick Oak.
I used cauls to clamp the layers flat using the TS as a backer and ended up with a damn flat top.
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Leon wrote:

was made from a hunk of bowling lane I picked up when one of the local establishments went out of business. I regret the day that I decided to leave that bench in the basement of a house we were renting.
Regards,
Larry
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I bet that worked out well, did you find any nails in the wood?
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Leon wrote:

during it. The former were removed with a great sense of satisfaction. The remainder not so much.
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I think it's going on four years ago that I built mine with a three- layer MDF top. Someone had given me two really nice vintage quick- release vises, I had a load of rough-cut oak 2x4's (two inches by four, real measurement) I got cheap, and I had some MDF from some shelves I'd taken down. I finally decided if I didn't make it out of what I had, it wouldn't get built for years, so I laminated three sections of MDF together, and edged it all around and built the bottom frame with those oak two by fours. Round dog holes and retractable casters. Finished it with Waterlox.
I figured the dog holes would deteriorate but when they did I'd drill a bigger hole, plug it with hardwood and drill a new hole. Turns out so far I haven't needed to. Maybe because I don't pull the dogs in and out a lot. They've held up pretty good. The whole bench has. I thought I'd have built another by now but this one keeps doing what it's supposed to.
It's nice and heavy. Stays put when it's not on wheels. (It's kind of frustrating when I forget that) It sure has stayed flat. But if it ever goes out of flat I won't try to fix it. I'll make a hardwood top now that money's not quite so tight and I've found a couple good suppliers.
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On Mon, 22 Dec 2008 12:00:32 -0600, "Leon"

Any wood will work. My benchtop is glued up 2x4 pine studs, finished with danish oil. Spent lots of time flattening the top. I redo the top every 3-4 years. A good bench should be large, sturdy and heavy.
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Phisherman wrote:

Thats what I made my first bench out of but I ripped the things into 2x2's and glued them up. Still going strong after 30 years but that was my very first wood working project. I've since learned it's much better to use 2 x 6's as they are about as cheap, easier to find higher quality boards than the studs, and glue up is simple and fast.
--
Jack
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Did the same thing, 2x4's on edge, but I drilled holes through each every 18" and used long all thread and torqued them together.. That was 25 years ago, still going strong
Phisherman wrote:

--
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK"
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I got lucky when I worked for a builder. We had some glue lamb beams that were ordered wrong and couldn't be returned ,they were 2 ft' x 10 ft' ,it made one hell of a work bench. You can even glue up 2x 4's with P L 400 construction glue.
Jerry
http://community.webtv.net/awoodbutcher/MyWoodWorkingPage
http://community.webtv.net/awoodbutcher/1974Tryke
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Here's one I did a few years back and Bernie Hunt kindly made it available on his site.
http://www.huntfamily.com/work_bench.htm
Bob S.
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Thank you Bob.
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