I am planning on building my own workbench for my shop and I have at least one question to start... I have found a couple of plans I like in a book I picked up "25 Essential Projects for Your Workshop" by Popular Woodworking Magazine. There specifically are two plans in the book that I am most interested in building, the workbench with the built in benchtop TS, and the Router Table.
I am sure that I will probably have lots of questions as I go, but before I get started I have one about the materials. Someone at my local HD has been a big help as he is a woodworker on the side and specifically builds furniture, which is my primary area of interest. This guy told me that MDF makes a great top for workbenchs and such as it is incredibly durable. However, in looking at several plans for workbenchs none of these plans call for MDF as the sureface. Is there a reason for this? Is the guy at HD missing something on suggesting MDF for the surface? Do the plans predominantly call for a 1/4" hardboard on top of particle board or plywood for astetic reasons?
I just want to make sure I am building these items the right way the first time. I would rather move on from building my shop equipment to building the actual furniture that I am interested in. Thanks in advance for the feedback.
Preferences for benchtops vary greatly. I personally build most of my tops with particle board as it is cheaper than MDF. Others will suggest a solid-core door for the top which can also be an economical idea for a strong top that will hold dog holes well. The biggest functional gripe with MDF is the fact that it isn't very water resistant.
Topping with hardboard is a good idea because of its smoothness and you can cheaply replace the hardboard when it gets worn.
AGREE! I use MDF allot, for all kinds of stuff. It is not very tough against water and things like files and saws. It is nice and flat and when topped with thin hard wood will make a great base. Then when the surface is messed up change the top. OR keep a top made of formica handy when working with liquids...
A company near us produces molding of all shapes and sizes. They have perhaps four people looking over plans and doing takeoffs, then bidding the molding for the jobs. Given that, it may be useful to...