Work table top recommendation?

I have a 7-foot long work table that currently has an (now old) plywood top and folding metal legs attached to it. I want to use this for electronics work and the aged plywood surface is just too coarse for trying to locate small parts dropped onto it.
What do you recommend? Put some kind of plastic laminate on top of this or replace the entire top -- ie, pull off the folding legs and attach them to another material? :: laminate MDF or such?
Thanks.
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On 3/23/2012 5:11 PM, Mike Cook wrote:

If the present top is sturdy enough for your needs and you only object to the finish of the top, I would cap with a piece of tempered masonite that is trapped by an edge band so it was easy to turn over and/or change.
If a new sturdy top is in order, consider a damaged solid core door. Everyone who handles doors ends up with some damaged, but you need to ask or find a demolition site and ask, they are usually thrown away.
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On 3/23/2012 5:11 PM, Mike Cook wrote:

If it's rigid-enough to satisfy as is and the surface is basically sound; sure, laminate is a relatively inexpensive option. Will need enough surface-prep work to eliminate any really large (like inches) gaps, etc., and knock off any high spots w/ belt sander or equivalent and go for it. I'd do it basically like a counter-top; laminate a second layer around the edge for the thickness/appearance and either laminate it as well or use a solid banding.
Remember to use a reasonably light (as in color) surface; it's much easier to find stuff on.
I did the above except built solid legs when switched from consulting through a firm to independent and found a piece of cheap laminate of sufficient size at a building salvage/seconds outlet. Depending on how large you want, it's also possible to find leftovers from kitchen cabinet redo's, etc., that are as cheap or cheaper than just the laminate.
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On 3/23/2012 6:34 PM, dpb wrote:

In our area there is a Habitat for Humanity outlet store. Habitat’s ReStore resale outlets sell reusable and surplus building materials to the public.
They may have what you are looking for.
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ReStore has some awesome things, particularly that one piece of a puzzle that you could never identify, let alone find. I am building a wind wall for my barbecue area out of double sets of dual pane glass doors. I have about four more sets until I get enough, then I'll get to the good part ............... making the metal frame to hold them all.
I love ReStore, and like to just go browse, never knowing what the discards du jour may be.
Steve

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These requests are so difficult because of each individual's needs. In some cases, an exterior door is just fine. In others, something with ninety degree fences or jigs, or flat plane surfaces is the way to go.
I would identify your needs, then go from there.
A GOOD! (and I emphasize that point on purpose) is worth its weight in gold, but what is just perfect to one may be worthless, or at least, inadequate for another.
Identify your needs, then design from there.
I currently have just put up four doors as work tables. One, because they were free, and two, I have every intention of them teaching me what I need exactly, so I do expect to morph into further mods.
There is no "right", nor "perfect". If I had enough space, I would have probably six tables, each for specific purposes.
HTH
Steve
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wrote:

Laminate makes a nice smooth and easy to clean surface. You may get lucky and score some cheap if you have a kitchen installer nearby. Ask if they have any leftovers or cancellations they will sell cheap.
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Mike Cook wrote:

I'd go get a sheet of melamine board and some 2x4s. Make frame & legs with 2x4s' cut mel board to size for top....smooth, hard, durable. And cheaper than a sheet of laminate.
If you just have to have folding legs, use what you have but make an apron all around the mel board - and a couple of pieces crosswise - to support it and attach the legs to that.
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On 3/23/2012 3:11 PM, Mike Cook wrote:

Replace the plywood with a 4x8(or whatever size) sheet of melamine.
The melamine is very tough and very white which is better for finding small parts on.
Put some snazzy wood edging on it and you will have a nice looking work table.
Cheap,tough and quick.
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On 3/26/2012 10:05 AM, Pat Barber wrote:

And were I to redo a top for the purpose of an electronics work table, not only would I welcome the tough melamine surface, I'd trim the whole top with a nice hardwood band (maple or oak) and leave a small lip ( ~ 1/8" - 3/16") around the top to prevent those small parts from rolling off the table and onto the floor where you REALLY have fun finding them <g>
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