Workbench #2: Bench Top

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Blog entry by CrossGrain (Josh) posted 03-02-2011 01:14 AM 3609 reads 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Intro Part 2 of Workbench series Part 3: Leg assemblies »

I have now completed the benchtop. Two key parts dictated dimensions and part locations: the countertop that I picked up from Ikea, and the large front vise from Lee Valley.

Here is the countertop – solid beech:

There was a small gap on the underside of the countertop that I filled with epoxy:

Two pieces of MDF were cut to the same dimension as the countertop. On the underside of one piece of MDF, I layed out where the vise would be along with the legs and apron, then determined where I would want dog holes. Once all of those locations were determined, I laid out a grid for attaching screws.

Next, I alligned the two pieces of MDF and the countertop and put a cabinet maker’s triangle on each edge:

I pre-drilled and countersunk some of the screw location holes in the MDF, laminated them together and used screws as clamps. Then, I aligned the MDF lamination with the countertop and drilled pilot holes for the larger screws to attach the MDF to the countertop. Removing the MDF from the countertop, I widened the pilot holes to clearance holes in the MDF and countersunk the holes. To account for any movement in the solid beech top, I slightly widened the clearance holes moving out from the lengthwise mid-line in the MDF. Aligning everything together once more, I sunk in the screws to attach the MDF and countertop together (no glue).

To give the edges a clean look, I added a beech surround to the benchtop, gluing the long edges (beech to beech—no glue on the MDF) and bolting on the short sides. The gluing proved to be interesting as I only have two bar clamps and they aren’t quite long enough to span the width of the benchtop. I clamped on some scraps near the ends to help align the edging with the top of the bench and made some quick clamp extenders:

For the short edges, I once again sunk the center bolt straight in, but elongated the holes into slots for the outer bolts to allow for any seasonal expansion:

Here is the wood for the base:

Next up – cutting the legs. Here is the leg stock:

-- Josh, Virginia ,

5 comments so far

View bigike's profile


4055 posts in 3586 days

#1 posted 03-02-2011 02:20 AM

great start, I see a lot of LJers with the same top. They make benches out of it I was thinking of doin the same but does ikea have longer counter tops?

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View CrossGrain (Josh)'s profile

CrossGrain (Josh)

64 posts in 3316 days

#2 posted 03-02-2011 04:17 AM

bigike – the top that I got also comes in a 96 7/8” length (8 feet+) for $59 (see the size option).

-- Josh, Virginia ,

View AmandasHusband's profile


58 posts in 2991 days

#3 posted 03-10-2011 04:28 PM

Looking good!

I just started a “worktable”, not really a workbench. But maybe I should have looked into that Ikea top. To late now as my base is going to be 32”+ wide.

Nice work though. Keep the updates coming.

-- In this world there's two kinds of people my friend. Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.

View yuri's profile


136 posts in 3901 days

#4 posted 03-15-2011 07:18 PM

Josh, great work. For some reasons I missed your blog entry. At some point I was thinking about doing top for my bench out of IKE countertops too.
Where is the photo of the benchtop from the top (excuse the pun ;-) ? I am sure it is pretty, but want to see it myself ;-)
Keep great work.

View CrossGrain (Josh)'s profile

CrossGrain (Josh)

64 posts in 3316 days

#5 posted 03-22-2011 04:28 PM

Thanks all.

Yuri – The top is quite heavy now and I had been using my layout markings on the bottom side. I hadn’t had the chance to flip it over to get a picture of the top from the top :-) In my next entry, I’ll be sure to get that photo for you.

-- Josh, Virginia ,

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