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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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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
 

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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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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.
 

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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.:grin:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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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" 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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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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" 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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Discussion Starter #10
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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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"
Along the length you should have no problem with beech to beech and probably not with the mdf (not midfield- damned auto spell). Even if the band let go of the mdf it will hold to the wood and still cover it. The ends are the problem because the top will get wider and narrower but the length of the bands or vice jaws will not. Wood moves very little in length. So for those you are better off with mechanical attachment that allow movement. But the centre attachment can and often should be solid so that movement is outward from the centre both directions.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
How far in from the edges of the top should the dog holes be?See attached the Beech top is 2m x 62cm
He doesn't say in his plans and he did this several years ago, don't think he checks his Instructables account very regularly. Took me ages to get a reply on how the bench stood up after several years, any movement issue?
 

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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.
I didn't read the entire build on your link so I am making a couple of assumptions. 1st, I assume the mdf is laminated together with glue or screws or both. That is what I would do. At 2'x6' (sorry I am not a metric guy) I would be very comfortable with 3 evenly space rows of 3 screws to secure the beech. Because mdf is fragile towards the ends, I would come in about 2" from each end and then have a row in the center. 2nd, if the beech has been kiln dried and acclimated to your space, I don't think you will have much, if any, movement. If it does move it will move across the width of the bench and slots should accommodate the movement. There are any number of wood movement calculators on the web, if you are really concerned. Just remember that the vast majority of them are "worst case" calculators and may not accurately predict real case situations.
 

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How far in from the edges of the top should the dog holes be?See attached the Beech top is 2m x 62cm.
I'm not home to measure mine but they either 75 or 100 in. 75 is probably enough and even 50 might be okay. Think about what you want the bench to do for you and factor that into the decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I didn't read the entire build on your link so I am making a couple of assumptions. 1st, I assume the mdf is laminated together with glue or screws or both. That is what I would do. At 2'x6' (sorry I am not a metric guy) I would be very comfortable with 3 evenly space rows of 3 screws to secure the beech. Because mdf is fragile towards the ends, I would come in about 2" from each end and then have a row in the center. 2nd, if the beech has been kiln dried and acclimated to your space, I don't think you will have much, if any, movement. If it does move it will move across the width of the bench and slots should accommodate the movement. There are any number of wood movement calculators on the web, if you are really concerned. Just remember that the vast majority of them are "worst case" calculators and may not accurately predict real case situations.
Cheers for the input Bob.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
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).
I've just ordered nine Silverline Heavy Duty F-Clamps 900 x 80mm DIY woodwork metal steel 427676 at £5.50 a pop and only £3.50 post for all of them. £5.50 a clamp is about half the price from other outlets I can find. The clamps have a lot of good reviews on Amazon UK. I've got quite a few 4ft long pipe clamps, threaded the steel 3/4" rod myself, have extender connectors for them too.

At the moment I have a very small work space to make the work bench, a very small side utility room in my house, as I say space is at a premium so I got the Silverline clamps.

Anyhow, I'm thinking 9 clamps to glue up the edging on the 2m length.A spacing of 222mm, 2.2cm say close on 8 -1/4" that should be sufficient spacing for glue up? Should I rough sand the inside face of the banding?Assuming I will source the banding PAR, planed all round and don't need to machine it myself. The Beech kitchen worktop is in a finished state from the manufacturer, ready for a customer to fit in their kitchen.

Should I rough sand the outer edge face of this also to provide a key for both mating surfaces? I've got Titebond 3 Ultimate I don't know if have this brand in US but over here is a respected, established waterproof wood glue, professional quality.
Cheers.
 

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If the edges of the top feel glossy or oily at all I would sand them. The maker may have added a finish to them in that case. Rough sanding will improve the bond but I don't know if you need it. The glue will hold pretty well. If you do sand then wipe it down with a damp rag to try and get rid of any sawdust. Water will also raise the grain a bit which will also improve bonding. I always like to sand the surface of mdf before I glue to it. It has a waxy feel to it that I don't trust getting a good bond to.
 

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If the edges of the top feel glossy or oily at all I would sand them. The maker may have added a finish to them in that case. Rough sanding will improve the bond but I don't know if you need it. The glue will hold pretty well. If you do sand then wipe it down with a damp rag to try and get rid of any sawdust. Water will also raise the grain a bit which will also improve bonding. I always like to sand the surface of mdf before I glue to it. It has a waxy feel to it that I don't trust getting a good bond to.
OK thanks Charles.
 
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