Odd question here:
I recently acquired several pieces of chem lab benchtop material from
a Freecycle board, with the idea of using them for -- something.
The question is, what are these slabs made out of? They are extremely
heavy and quite flat.
So far as I can determine, they are made of some sort of resin
Does anyone know if this material can be cut and shaped with regular
Do I need a water-cooled cutoff saw?
Should I throw them in the river?
Start my own chem lab?
Any help greatly appreciated.
Are they green? Traditional lab tops were made of soapstone. If so, it
would be slightly slippery to the touch. It has been awhile since I have
seen this stuff, but it was commonly used for sinks, etc in early america.
And if I recall, it could be worked much like wood.
All the labtops in my high school were made from soapstone. One of its
qualities is that it does not react with most chemicals.
Laboratories have not used soapstone for many decades. As I remember
the laboratories that I worked in in college were made of resin.
(several decades ago.)
These bench tops are made of a resin that is resistant to most of the
chemicals found in the laboratory; acids, bases, Sulfuric acid,
Hydrochloric acid, Sodium Hydroxide and many others.
Try contacting one of the following makers. http://www.kewaunee.com /.
another is http://www.wisconsinbench.com/resources/BenchTopProductGuide.pdf
With high resistance to chemicals, humidity, scratching
and abrasion, Wisconsin Benchs standard 1" thick
black phenolic resin and cellulose fiber composite
provides the perfect surface for laboratory tops,
shelves and panels. The tops can be machined to your
specifications or drilled and machined in the field.
It has been some time since I saw this type of top installed but it is
made to be chemically resistant, not hardness. (Physical property)
As I remember it was cut with a standard blade suitable for cutting resin.
Soapstone is mainly talc. It is generally grey (but can be other colors);
however, when oiled, it is black - jet black. It is flat, heavy and very,
very soft. It is also non-porous.
I don't know if it is still used in chem labs or not but it sure used to be
and is regaining popularity as a home countertop material.
The colour of soapstone varies according to where it's mined and the
impurities in it.
I have a piece right next to me that runs from an off white through rust
and into green... with mica inclusions.
Soapstone, unless it's been fired can be scratched by a fingernail.
Fired soapstone is substantially harder.
Don't know how much this is going to help you but I acquired a lab
countertop, about 6' long, with sink cutout. I built an MDF cabinet
base for it and use it in my shop for additional workbench space. The
sink cutout is where my router table lives and I have a Ridgid sanding
station and a benchtop drill press on it as well. Very heavy, very
stable, easy to wipe clean.
What you may have is a maple laminated bench top with a black resin
coating. Any screw holes you can find? Take a chisel - preferably
a beater - and see if you can get through to what's under the surface.
With luck you'll find wood.
I picked up a similar "lab bench" for $50 and it made a great
woodworking bench top. The ones I scored were 1 3/4" thick,
3' deep and 6' long. With some judiciou planning got a 20 1/2"
top layer and two 6 1/2" pieces for the outside underside
(you don't normally pound and hack and hew in the center of
the bench top)
On the other hand - you might have a slab of granite - but
I doubt you could lift it if you did. If it is granite - and the
surface is FLAT - it'd make one hell of a nice assembly
Ahem. Pardon me while I drive by.
Are you sure the top is not wood laminate with a plastic coating?
I have one of the chemistry benches my Dad got the summer of 1966 when the HS
rebuilt the lab at
dear old London (Ohio) HS. These were being tossed in the dumpster, so he got
permission from the
school superintendent and saved one from destruction. The base is in two pieces
with a combined
length of 11 ft, 6 in., has 8 drawers and doors, and is made of oak. The top is
an even 12 ft long,
1 - 7/8 inch thick, 21 - 1/2 inch wide.
The top is made of laminated maple, then coated on the top, ends and edges with
some sort of black
plastic. The top is HEAVY, I'll tell you that. My testicles want to drop to
about knee level on
the rare occasion I've had to pick it up when I have moved.
The coating has withstood all the years of service at LHS, plus another 40 or so
in his workshop and
now mine with some chips and cracks. Dad cut filler pieces for all the various
gas and air holes,
then painted over the top back in the 60's with some sort of lead based enamel
paint (probably Dean
and Barry brand as my Dad felt they made the best paint in the world.)
I really need to refinish the base. It has some ugly chemical stains on a
couple of drawers and
doors. The stains have eaten into the wood and laugh at household bleach and
oxalic acid. I'm
leaving them as character marks. A couple of drawer bottoms are decorated with
the autographs of
My two sons are already fighting over who gets it when I die.
Solid black resin sounds like "Trespa", or your contry's local
equivalent. It's a fabric reinforced / resin composite. Machines
beautifully, but it's more like metalworking than woodworking.
Micarta is very similar stuff. Small offcuts of this are good for
making knife handles and the like. Repeated dishwashing fades tham and
the fabric starts to show through, in a way that's not unpleasant.
Correct, most laboratory work surfaces these days are made of an epoxy
resin mixed with silica (sand) to improve wear. There are basically
two manufacturers of the material in the US, Durcon and Epoxyn,
although these are widely distributed through the various laboratory
casework manufacturers. Sounds like what you've got given your report
of their weight (10+ psf). Black is the standard color although there
are a dozen or so others that are used regularly.
There are non-silica surfaces of pure epoxy (e.g., Trespa brand) that
are a bit lighter in weight. There edges, if unfaced, are often black
despite the face color. They are chemically resistant as well,
although nothing holds up like standard epoxy.
Nope. You'll need diamond tools to cut them given the silica content.
I have two adjustable height 60"L x 30"D "Edison" lab tables with
epoxy tops in my shop that are great for glue ups and finishing. Not
only are they strong and super flat, but easily cleaned. Most glues,
paints, and other finishes scrape right off after dried.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.