Building a Bench for the garage - Router Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-16-2009, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Default Building a Bench for the garage

Folks,

I am starting my plans on building a bench in the garage after Christmas. The bench top will start in the middle of the garage, go 13' or so to the wall, turn the corner and about 6 to 8' up the side wall.

It's mostly going to be cabinets and some open spaces below. I am going to add the router table to the top on one end and in the middle of the long stretch I am putting in my miter saw. (It will be dropped where the saws work surface is even with the top of the bench.)

I was thinking about the cabinets today and started to wonder what would be better to use for the carcass ... 3/4" Plywood or 3/4" MDF. I like the idea of the MDF since it's flat, has good edges, and cuts nice. I can seal it so if it gets wet it will not be damaged. I was just wondering if it would take the use of being a garage cabinet. Besides doing a bit of woodworking I also like to work on cars. So there are going to be things like heads and rear-ends on the bench.

Anyone know the compression strength of MDF and/or know if it would make a good cabinet?

I am also planning on building a few hanging cabinets to put above the bench as well. I would like to use the same wood for the upper and lower cabinets as well. I don't know if that makes a difference but I thought I would pass that along in case it matters.

Tim

"But before we use any power tools lets talk about shop safety. Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this... There is no more important safety rule than to wear these... safety glasses." -- Norm
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-16-2009, 11:00 AM
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Hi Tim

MDF is fine
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Last edited by bobj3; 12-16-2009 at 12:19 PM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-16-2009, 11:37 AM
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OK what's the "if you use the T & G way " ?

Tounge and Groove?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-16-2009, 03:11 PM
 
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In my old shop, all cabinets were melamine, with melamine work surfaces, with pvc t-banded edgin......all router tables and cabinet saw were open underneath, with
3/4" MDF tops. My smallest router table was 3'x5', and the cabinet saw was 8'x8'. I think MDF makes fine tops, altho' when you toss one of those rear ends on it you might get a ding or two Any deep gouges I had, I simply filled with bondo and sanded down, then resealed area.

That's the long way of saying I agree with Bob !
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-16-2009, 03:17 PM
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Here's a good free resource on wood strengths. It is published by the US Dept. of Agriculture, entitled "Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material". The complete is too large to upload here (14MB) but I've uploaded Chapter 10 which is "Wood-Based Composites and Panel Products" for your use.

The complete document can be found here

Forest Products Laboratory - USDA Forest Service
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File Type: pdf Wood Handbook - ch10.pdf (904.0 KB, 43 views)

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-17-2009, 07:15 AM
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Thanks Jim for the link; a while back I was trying to do some research for a project, and I didn't know where to get the info.

I've downloaded the whole book and put it in my Library.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-17-2009, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJimAK View Post
Here's a good free resource on wood strengths.

Great file Jim... Thanks for posting it. It looks like MDF was much stronger than I thought.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Horse
In my old shop, all cabinets were melamine, with melamine work surfaces, with pvc t-banded edgin......all router tables and cabinet saw were open underneath, with 3/4" MDF tops.
So... that was the old shop... Did you do something else in the new shop?

Is Melamine just MDF that is laminated? I have never used it before.



Tim

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-17-2009, 10:34 AM
 
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The melamine I use is over particle board, thermofused. It's easy to work with, but gotta watch the edges, and use a finish blade to keep chipping to a minimum. Cost is comparable to 3/4 mdf, low 20's a sheet

The old shop went with the property I sold a while ago....it was 1800 sf with 10' sidewalls. The new shop I hope to build this upcoming year...IF I can get this stupid series of surgeries outta the way ! New shop I hope will be minimum of 2400 sq ft.
My storage unit right now is 15x35, and it's capital "S" tuffed !


So... that was the old shop... Did you do something else in the new shop?

Is Melamine just MDF that is laminated? I have never used it before.



Tim[/QUOTE]
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-17-2009, 10:49 AM
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H Danny

Yes,,, the man made woods can't take on any screws/nails in the edge/end grain,,but they soak up glue very well and will hold with just glue...the norm.some times you need to use some support inside the cabinet to hang the doors on but they make pocket type hinges that don't need the extra support......or to say no face frame needed..the pocket holes do all the work.

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Quote:
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OK what's the "if you use the T & G way " ?

Tounge and Groove?



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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-17-2009, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Horse View Post
I think MDF makes fine tops, altho' when you toss one of those rear ends on it you might get a ding or two
That's the thing about MDF: it's easier to throw the rear end on the bench than to throw the bench on the rear end! <g>

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