I'll second that. It's been only 18 months, but no signs of coming apart.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know
for sure that just ain't so." --- Mark Twain
What purpose would gluing the MDF sheets together serve? Any white or
yellow woodworking glue would work but consider that you will most likely be
putting something on top of the MDF to provide a harder, more durable work
surface like tempered hardboard.
Screw the hardboard down to the MDF using 3" screws but be sure to pre-drill
pilot holes and countersink for the screw heads. If you have a frame that
has cross-bracing, you may want to screw the MDF to those first, then apply
the top. Screwing the MDF down in the center will help reduce "bounce" that
you get from benches that aren't heavy and made from dense material - like
maple or other hardwoods typically used in traditional benches.
If you're going to apply a hardwood edge to the edges of the MDF, one good
method is to drill 3/8" diameter holes at least 1 " deep into the MDF and
then glue in some 3/8" dowels. Pre-drill some pilot holes and then fasten
the hardboard edging. Simple matter to unscrew it and replace it if needed.
Otherwise you can pre-treat the MDF with a glue wash (50/50) mixture of wood
glue and water. Apply it to the edges and let it dry. After it's dry you
can then glue the hardwood edging to the MDF and maybe use a few brads to
hold it in place while the glue sets or clamp it down if you have large
Be sure to seal the MDF (all around) so moisture doesn't cause it to warp
and be sure your frame is flat and true or any errors will be telegraphed to
the top and you will not have a true surface to work on.
1. Glue will make a stiffer top than a bunch of screws will.
2. It's evil to put metal in a bench top that might get
drilled for bench dogs at a later date. Double sided tape is
a better way to hold a hardboard top in place.
MDF is considerably denser than maple. It also has higher
hysterisis, so more internal damping = less bounce. A thick
glued-up mdf surface is very "dead".
and I did mine with the solvent based (which I just used about an hour
ago on another project) Weldwood (Dap) Contact Cement. I used a roller
and applied 2 coats to MDF. It soaks up the first coat and won't bond
unless you give it another coat (coat BOTH pieces, of course!).
I always wear a respirator and then the fumes don't "get me".
I've done this several times, moved and needed a new bench in a new shop.
I just used yellow woodworking glue. Spread it with an old paintbrush, or a
roller. I use three layers, makes a nice 2 1/4" top, really heavy and
durable for hard work on car parts or metalworking, usable for woodworking.
I now have a separate woodworking bench with glued up maple top, but a small
bench with the glued MDF so crude work does not mess up the good top.
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