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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Default Workbench Top Input

After the purchase of numerous tools, and finally some wood, I built a 2x4 8 ft work bench for my basement. Nothing super fancy, something just to put against a wall. Pictures to follow. Here's where my dilemma comes in. I placed the 8 ft 2x4's in between the outer legs, instead of on top (amateur mistake ). Regardless, I'm still happy with how it turned out. Now that I am looking at what to make the top and shelf out of, I have realized I don't want to spend a ton of money on this thing.

My idea is to take some 1x10 pine boards, glued and pocket screwed together to form the top, and breadboard the ends. With the top frame only having one cross support in the middle:

_____ _____
| | |
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Terrible drawing, but you get the idea. The top spans 30". Will 1x8 or 1x10 pine boards be strong enough for normal use? I won't be overhauling any transmissions or anything on it, just small assembly projects, clamping station, etc.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Well, my drawing didn't work out. Basically, like this, but with only one middle support.

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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Disregard my attempt at drawing that didn't work.



It looks like this, but only one center brace.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 12:26 AM
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Hi Nick, do you have any photos of the table you could share? I can't quite picture what you're talking about, but would gladly provide my humble input if I had a better idea.

Welcome to the forum as well.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 05:53 AM
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Hey Nick--i'm not a guru, but i've learned in the past year that the wider the pine, the more likely it is to cup. Cupping on a table top that you want to be flat may be counter-productive. And Brett's right, pictures would help if you can!!
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 05:53 AM
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Solid-core interior doors seem popular as economical workbench tops. You really want something that will stay nice and flat over time, which you can't really rely on with wide pine boards.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 06:44 AM
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From what you describe, make a credenza out of a sheet of 3/4 plywood. Baltic birch is nice but any 3/4 inch ply will work. Cover your working surface with 3/8" (actual desk) as a disposable work surface.

Good Luck - Baker
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 08:47 AM
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Nick, I have 3- workbenches made of framing lumber - mostly 2x8's and all 3- are "decked" with 3/4" plywood and held-down with frequently spaced SQUARE DRIVE Flat Head Screws. My workbenches get used by several people every day. Yeah, they get banged-up; but to me that seems to be the purpose of these workbenches. When they get too worn, it is a very simple matter to unbolt vises, back-out the screws and replace them and then their vises. DON'T USE GLUE, the often-spaced screws will be all you need. My workbenches have a few holes in them under things like miter saw and benchtop drill press - this makes clean-up much easier. I've used benches such as this for well over 20 years. If you utilize 1x lumber, you will most likely spend more money and be disappointed with the performance. My Dad acquired numerous GluLam beams and used pieces from 4 to 14 feet long to deck his benches - he wanted that "extra weight". His "decks" were about 5" thick.
Good luck, Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 09:06 AM
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Is there a cabinet or countertop shop nearby? You might get a laminate top that is damaged real cheap.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 09:38 AM
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As OPG says, framing lumber works fine. Mine is made from 2x4s. I can flatten and clean it up with a hand plane as it gets worn and dinged up. I finished it with a few coats of danish oil.

Or you can put a lip around the edge and use a piece of hardboard as a sacrificial top. when that gets worn out, pop it out and drop in a new piece of hardboard.

Last edited by Chris Curl; 02-22-2013 at 10:03 AM.
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