Workbench top?

I noticed some workbenches are made with solid maple tops and others using something like 4 sheets of baltic birch plywood laminated together. Would there really be a big difference between these types of tops besides price? Or would the solid maple be really superior? Regards. -Guy
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I bought a top made of maple for $300. It has a vise and works great.
A friend used a solid core door and bought a better vise. I think that is the better way to go. His top is larger than mine, cheaper, and has a better vise.
Rob

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Grainger has solid maple workbench tops for a bit over $200 (Edsal 30" x 72"x1 3/4))
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yes and no. Maple will win for dent resistance, and some aesthetic appeal. Plywood is easier to contruct for flatness. (that is I'm not sure that a properly constructed top is much less stable, but it us tiem consuming to flatten)
I went the solid route, but I constructed it "from scratch". Solid maple can be done relatively "on the cheap". My costs for the whole bench (top, tressle and F&P shelf on the tressle stretchers) was under $200 for the wood and just over 100 for vise hardware (Lee Valley): about $300 overall. I made my own wooden dogs.
All of it was milled from 5/4 "brown maple" at $1.60 a BF. Chosen simply because it was cost-effective.
My top is 80"x24, 3" thick, with a 4" apron, and a 7"x5.25 thick section in the front for dog hole assembly. The tressle is all laminated 3x3 (not nominal) with 2x6 stretchers. There is no lack of wood there.
My point is that is you build from scratch, a very substantial maple top can be had for less than a $100 price increase is you are willing take the time to assemble and flatten it yourself.
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Interesting questions......IMHO the important things in a workbench are that it be really strong and heavy so that it does not move when you are planing or whacking. Of course it needs to be flat and designed to reliably hold wood to be worked. Some super expensive workbenches with incredible vises do a really poor job of holding the work.....it pops up when the vise is tightened. Dave

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: I noticed some workbenches are made with solid maple tops and others using : something like 4 sheets of baltic birch plywood laminated together. Would : there really be a big difference between these types of tops besides price? : Or would the solid maple be really superior? Regards. -Guy
IIRC, the "Workbench Book" said that ancient benches were made of birch. Don't have the book handy to check that.
I've had a 6 foot long, 1 foot deep, 3" thick birch slab for my bench and it's been great.
--- Gregg
My woodworking projects:
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On Sun, 21 Dec 2003 22:12:02 -0600, Guy LaRochelle wrote:

Use something that is easily and inexpensively replaced. Tops take a beating.
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