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Theo
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I can't tell from the picture, but it looks 3 ply. I don't use 3 ply for anything. Personally, for $50, I would opt for a solid wood door, and probably get change back. Even 3/4" I would still double for a worktable. But that's my opinion.
 

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Thats a 5 ply product with very thin skins 1/42nd". Better than BB? Not necessarily better, but perhaps alot more practical to use. Sheet size alone give your more flexibility in terms of using a single cut for the top rather than piece it together. Rib it well underneath to avoid bounce. A 2nd sheet of construction grade ply or MDF underneath is a good idea. Wears exceptionally well and will take quite a bit of abuse. If looks are a concern. Looks great in the short term, but after a while not so much.
 

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I see HD is offering Red Oak plywood for $50/sheet. Anybody ever use this? Do you think it would be better than BB on a work table?

Columbia Forest Products 3/4 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. PureBond Red Oak Plywood-165956 - The Home Depot
How about a less expensive plywood with a sheet of mdf on top.....nice smooth work surface and you can flip the mdf over if it gets dinged. Red oak can get splintery. BB is pretty pricey. Also, local lumber yards usually carry better quality products and often less expensive than HD.
 

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As per another thread, I would look at 1/4" tempered Masonite over a more durable (but cheaper) type of plywood. The Masonite is going to hold up under heavy use way better than plywood, plus can be reversed once it starts to show some wear on the first surface.

The quality of the oak plywood sold by HD (and Lowes too) is very uneven, seen a lot of internal voids in some sheets.
 

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My guess is that the only part that is Red Oak is the outer ply with the core being something cheaper. If you want true hardwood plywood the big box stores are not the place to shop. Look around for a true hardwood dealer and compare the plywood. That said sometimes Lowes or HD will sometimes get a special buy and it would be worth taking home. I bought 5 sheets of maple plywood that way. Just be sure of what you are getting.
 

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I usually just use mdf for work tables because it's cheap and dead flat. If you are worried about it's ability to take abuse then a worktable should be laminated from solid wood in my opinion and I have two benches that are made that way. One is more for doing mechanical work on so I put a sheet of 1/4" steel plate on it after so it really will take abuse.
 

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build your table..
use American made BC or CD ply for the top...
cover that w/ tempered hardboard.... (smooth both sides)
cheap and the top hardboard is easily replaceable, cheap, flat, smooth, tough, needs no finish, and can be flipped over for more use......
 

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I bought a solid core door a few years ago at our local HabitatRestore for less than $10. It made for a great table top. I covered it with white Formica. I built a lot of projects on that work bench/table/outfeed table.
 

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I built my workbench from a piece of 3/4" CDX with a piece of 1/2" MDF glued on top, with a piece of 3/16" tempered masonite screwed to the top of that (so I can replace it easily). I edge banded it all around with 3/4" red oak, ripped to thickness, with mitered corners. Has held up well for 2 years now.
 

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Oooo, nice. That's what I'm talking about.
 

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Agree with Herb, go back and read the reviews. It looks like this ply would have limited uses because of the issues with it.
 

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I am almost always disappointed in the quality of ply from the big box stores. Even their multi layered maple veneer ply is been pretty poor. The worst is red oak ply I've gotten from HD. It was filled with narrow strips of banboo and splintered like mad. Don't know if that's what they're selling here, but I'm suspicious. I agree that MDF makes a flat top, but I'd definitely cover it with Masonite, finished on two sides. If I put a layer of ply underneath, I'd put an edge of handwood around it high enough to hold the mdf and the masonite. That sandwich would allow putting in some dog holes, although I don't often use the ones on my bench.

If I use 1x3 for trusses, I always run them through the jointer to make sure they're flat at least on one side. The tables I've trussed this way stay flat. I also like Masonite that has been waxed and machine polished.
 

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I bought a solid core door a few years ago at our local HabitatRestore for less than $10. It made for a great table top. I covered it with white Formica. I built a lot of projects on that work bench/table/outfeed table.
I agree.

The best, and cheapest, workbench that I ever had was made from a commercial solid core door bought from the salvage store. That thing almost killed me getting it home because of it's size (10' tall) and weight (about 185 lbs) and 2 1/4" thick, but once I made it into a workbench top it was bullet proof. I left it in my last house basement shop when I moved to NC and have never had a shop since then that was big enough for such a bench, so I have yet to make a replacement for it. It had what looked like a rosewood veneer on both sides, so I used a piece of tempered 1/4" MDF on the top, held on with carpet tape and did the same to attach it to the 4 X 4" stand that I built for it, thinking that I might want the veneer in good condition for something else some day, but it was still a workbench when I moved away and the carpet tape held it and the MDF in place perfectly. The door was new, never installed, and in perfect condition when I bought it and I think I paid $20 for it.

Charley
 

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I agree.

The best, and cheapest, workbench that I ever had was made from a commercial solid core door bought from the salvage store. That thing almost killed me getting it home because of it's size (10' tall) and weight (about 185 lbs) and 2 1/4" thick, but once I made it into a workbench top it was bullet proof. I left it in my last house basement shop when I moved to NC and have never had a shop since then that was big enough for such a bench, so I have yet to make a replacement for it. It had what looked like a rosewood veneer on both sides, so I used a piece of tempered 1/4" MDF on the top, held on with carpet tape and did the same to attach it to the 4 X 4" stand that I built for it, thinking that I might want the veneer in good condition for something else some day, but it was still a workbench when I moved away and the carpet tape held it and the MDF in place perfectly. The door was new, never installed, and in perfect condition when I bought it and I think I paid $20 for it.

Charley
My first work bench was the same. I think you meant 2 3/4" thick, Charley. that is the standard for the 10' high they are 20 min rated fire doors.
We used to demo those by the 100's in commercial Hi-rise construction. Here Habitat for Humanity has a construction recycle store where they sell them for cheap. The door blanks were over $300. new unmilled for hardware 20 years ago, can't imagine what they run now.
Anyway, I used 1/4" tempered Masonite for the top and a 2" wide oak edge band raised up 1/4" above the door so that the Masonite flushed out with the edge.
That way the Masonite can be changed out and a new top can replace it.

Herb
 
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