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Good, cheap bench building material.

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  • nick.oulton
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    Torsion box made with MDF? super strong, light and flat.

    http://thewoodwhisperer.com/episode-...e-torsion-box/

    Leave a comment:


  • Birchwoodguy
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    I think Rob gives good advice on this.
    Enjoy the process.
    Robert.

    Leave a comment:


  • Barry1
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    A few years ago I built a bench for the shop using laminated and finger jointed Douglas fir 4 x 4 10 foot long posts from the local lumber yard. These are solid, full dimension post made from kiln dried stock so they are stable. I lined each piece up using biscuits and glued them up with white glue , then cross drilled them and secured them with 1/2 inch redi-rod. Total cost for the top was less than $100.00. The bench is 9 foot long, 24 inches wide and weighs close to 300 pounds. It's been stable since the day it was built.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rob Brown
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    You're welcome to look around for the best salvaged material, but sometimes that is more work than it's worth. You could always use a MDF or ply top and surround it will solid edges. Build a basic (but solid and stable) hardwood base for it out of ash and you would be good to go. When designing the base do so so you can add on a storage cabinet down the road. Maybe plan the entire thing now, but only build the top and structural part of the base.

    Leave a comment:


  • scooby074
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    Check your local bowling alley!!

    I had a line on some old lane (i guess they have to replace them due to wear) but it was all gone when i went to check.

    I understand you have to watch for nails though as there are a ton of them in it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tim in Milton
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    You can pick up firedoor blanks pretty cheaply - I got a couple at an auction for about $5 each. They are heavy, solid and flat. I havent pierced them for dogholes etc but they are great for working on , glue ups etc.

    Leave a comment:


  • jaywood1207
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    I just finished putting a bench along 1 wall in my shop and used 2 X 3 for the frame with lots of support and 3/4 MDF for the top which I then put some sheet laminate that I picked up in the clearance section of home depot a few years ago for about $5 a sheet. Total for the workbench which is 32" by about 13' was around $50. I haven't completed the storage underneath or up above yet but it is solid and working very well and only took a day to finish off.

    Leave a comment:


  • Birchwoodguy
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    Saw an interesting source for wood - old church pews. Usually Ash or Oak and large flat surfaces. Thinking about it, lamination of two layers would be about the right thickness. Hmmm

    Robert.

    Leave a comment:


  • Willyt
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    Apologies for the late reply....but here's my 2 cents worth:

    My current (and temporary) bench was built over a weekend with 2X4 and 2X6 material based on a plan I saw in a magazine. The top is nothing but a solid core door, oversized, that I picked up at a Habitat Restore for 20 bucks. Total cost for the bench including the top was less then a hundred bucks. It is solid and very stable.
    I liked the plan because there was no need for dadoes or mortise/tenon work...if you have a handsaw and can cut square, you can make this. And I don't worry about messing up the top...I'm planning on making a new one anyway. Like I said, this one is only temporary.
    If you are interested in more info/pics I can pm you.

    Cheers
    Bill

    Leave a comment:


  • Birchwoodguy
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    Joinery Junkie,
    Many businesses have pallets and crate wood they are looking to give away (rather than pay to have it hauled away) and you may be able to find some longer pieces in larger sizes if you check around. Unfortunately pallet wood is often "not the best wood" and may have been treated with chemicals to control spread of pests (too bad this practice is too late for the Elms, American Chestnut, and others).

    Glue-lam beams have been mentioned as an option, if you can find a section long enough for a top, although these are softwood species.

    I have made very serviceable bench tops using layers of plywood laminated up into a 3-inch thickness (check if you need a specific thickness for your bench vise to mount to easily). If you go this route, put Baltic Birch ply on the top layer of the plywood sandwich, it is very hard and since has no voids in the interior ply's it will support your work and take a pounding. Install a hardwood frame around the perimeter of the plywood and it will look go and take a lot of abuse for not a lot of money. Plus the plywood will not move with seasonal moisture changes in your shop.

    A final option, I used an old flat 3'x7' solid core commercial door (was damaged one side and got it for $20.00 at a Re-Store) and it worked for many years for me until I had the time to build a better top, at which time I just switched out the top and left the rest of the bench as is. Come to think of it, that is why my bench is 36x84, was built to match the door!

    Good luck and enjoy the craft.

    Robert.

    Leave a comment:


  • OttawaP
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    A local lumber supplier might sell Gluelam beams. The last 16" deep ones I bought were made of stacked 2x3 sized material. Around 8$ a foot. Very strong, flat and stable when laid flat. I sold the 3' waste cutoffs here and they were gobbled up in minutes.

    Leave a comment:


  • LeDa88
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    I built a variance of the "Bob and Daves" bench out of 2 bys. The top is laminated 2x4s on edge trimmed to 3 inches wide with splines to keep in aligned when gluing up. The 4x4 legs are two 2x4 laminated with dados in each for the mortise and tenon joints. 2x10's used for the stringers. I drilled 3/4 inch holes for the bench dogs. It has two 7" bench vises. A coating of shellac to seal it up. Very cheap, very solid, very practical. Takes a beating, never moves and easily cleans up with a plane and a new coat of shellac when need be. I can't imagine wasting good maple on a bench. It's a tool not furniture.

    Leave a comment:


  • billh
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    I've never wanted a work of art bench that I'd be afraid of dumping glue and finish all over not to mention the occassional errant drill bit piercing the surface.

    Mine is a collection of adjacent particle board carcasses filled with birch faced drawers. The top is 2 thicknesses of 3/4"MDF and to protect my beautiful MDF surface there is a throw-away layer of 1/8" Masonite.

    billh

    Leave a comment:


  • michaely
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com...ch+with+spruce

    This is a thread that contains plans and instructions for building "Bob and Dave's Good, Fast, and Cheap Bench", a laminated top of solid wood and with hand tools.....there are some good hints about sorting thru big box 'construction softwood' material and letting it dry more.......

    good luck

    michael
    Last edited by michaely; 12-30-2010, 07:31 PM. Reason: spelling!

    Leave a comment:


  • Owen
    replied
    Re: Good, cheap bench building material.

    Hello there Joinery Junkie. I have two workbenches; a fancy good one made out of elm and a ordinary workbench built with 2 - 4 and plywood. The fancy one has nice joints and a tray behind to keep my tools in. The ugly workbench has a frame of two by fours and two shelves underneath. The top I just glued two layers of 3 -4 inch plywood together. I put a Record vise on one end. The fancy bench I just keep fancy tools in the numerous drawers. But I work on my ugly brute because I don't have to be careful of nicks or scratches or stain dripping on it. It is for hard use and it gets used hard. Have a fun time making your new workbench.

    Leave a comment:

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