Help With Making Woodworkers Workbench - Router Forums
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-28-2017, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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I'm making this woodworkers workbench Building a Real Woodworker's Workbench: 32 Steps (with Pictures)
It has 2 layers of 18mm MDF lamminated together and loosely attached to a solid Beech worktop. I've bought the Beech worktop and had the MDF cut to size at a DIY chain here in the UK. Also bought the two vice mechanisms also timber handles for them, and top quality Fisch Wave Cutter Forstner bit for drilling out the dog holes. Some people have commented as MDF and Beech different materials, movement may be a problem. The bench designer has overcome this tendency by loosely screwing the laminated MDF into the Beech top, so allowing movement to occur. I contacted him about how the bench stood up a few years down the road. He said the bench has stood up well and has no issues with movement.
As the MDF will be visible under the Beech top. I intend fixing a boarder edge band, covering the top and the MDF.
I'm wondering how I can go about fixing this boarder edge banding to allow for any movement that might occur? The only thing that comes to mind, is to counter bore loosely ( then screw ? ) into position, though if loose, won't it drop down onto the screws? If Beech is not exceptionally expensive would a thickness of 12mm or less be sufficient for the boarder edge banding? What thickness Beech would be suitable for the vice jaws I don't want to skimp on cost here, what thickness here would be most appropriate?
I understand Beech would be a good choice for the vice jaws and hope I get a close match to the top.
Thanks people.
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-28-2017, 02:16 PM
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Wow,Peter, I was wondering how they built one of those. Didn't realize how many tools it took. There are several people who have built similar wooden benches that should be along to help you. Be sure to post progress pictures of your build. Looks like you chose a good set of plans to work off of.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-28-2017, 02:36 PM
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According to the instructions that you show, the edging strips were glued only to the double layer of MDF, and the finished assembly trimmed to match the size of the laminated wood top. I think that I would go ahead and follow those instructions. I'm assuming that the MDF would be attached to the u/s of the laminated wood top using screws and heavy flat washers into oversize holes in the MDF.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-28-2017, 03:08 PM
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There's no problem adding on the edges. The grain in the band will match the grain orientation of the top. The problem is on the ends. That's where you'll get different orientations. Here's one solution: Lee Valley Tools - Veritas® Expansion Washers

Jaw thickness should be a minimum of 30mm. I don't think there would be anything gained going more than 40. Once you start using that bench you'll wonder how you got along without it.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-28-2017, 08:07 PM
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That looks like a nice bench. I am not sure why he used a MDF/wood laminate for the top. In my neck of the woods, it would be less expensive to just use beech for the full 3" thickness. I built my bench out of beech and it is very stable. Here in the Pacific NW, the wood I use stabilizes between 11-13% moisture content. Its been awhile since I have been to the United Kingdom, but I seem to remember similar weather. (lots of rain) If you use mdf, stabilize the edges with a 50/50 mix of wood glue and water and let it dry, before you edge band it. The mixture will help "firm" up and seal the edges and when you glue the edge band the new glue will bond better. Wood moves, but I think a lot of people worry to much about the problem. If I were making that bench I would route evenly spaced 1/2" slots in the mdf, thinking out loud, maybe 4 rows of 3 slots, and use woodscrews and washers to attach the mdf to the beech. I would use a strong 5/4 maybe even 6/4 for the vice jaws.
No particular reason except I think it would look cool.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-29-2017, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb Stoops View Post
Wow,Peter, I was wondering how they built one of those. Didn't realize how many tools it took. There are several people who have built similar wooden benches that should be along to help you. Be sure to post progress pictures of your build. Looks like you chose a good set of plans to work off of.
Herb
Hi Herb,
He is using a pretty basic tool set. Life gets easier if have a proper tablesaw, chop saw, track saw or whatever etc.That said guy has done a good job and looks nice.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-29-2017, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
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" I'm assuming that the MDF would be attached to the u/s of the laminated wood top using screws and heavy flat washers into oversize holes in the MDF. " Yes pretty much that way, all the screw holes were done oversize to allow any movement of his Oak top. If had glued MDF directly to the top, then the Oak top would have been likely to warp.
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-29-2017, 07:47 AM
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If you are attaching the mdf or the banding, there is one attachment at the centre that doesn't need to and usually shouldn't be made to move. It is a solid attachment and expansion occurs from that point outward in both directions. The same goes for raised (floating) panels in cupboard doors. Norm Abrams always glued the centre 25mm/1" of the panel to the door frame (to keep it from rattling).
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Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.

Last edited by Cherryville Chuck; 05-29-2017 at 08:09 AM.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-29-2017, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
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" If you use mdf, stabilize the edges with a 50/50 mix of wood glue and water and let it dry, before you edge band it. The mixture will help "firm" up and seal the edges and when you glue the edge band the new glue will bond better." OK thanks for the tip.

" Wood moves, but I think a lot of people worry to much about the problem. If I were making that bench I would route evenly spaced 1/2" slots in the mdf. "

Yes that makes sense, much better way of doing it, more professional too.

"thinking out loud, maybe 4 rows of 3 slots" I'm thinking I'm going to need quite a lot more? How many do you think length and width and spacing to adequately secure the laminated MDF to the Beech top? Beech top and MDF = 2m x 62cm
Appreciated
Peter.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-29-2017, 08:06 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Chuck,
" If you are attaching the midfield or the banding, there is one attachment at the centre that doesn't need to and usually shouldn't be made to move. It is a solid attachment and expansion occurs from that point outward in both directions. " I don't quite follow you here. Are you saying I should and will be alright gluing the Beech edging to the laminated MDF and Beech top"
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