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View Karda's profile

need MDF advise

by Karda
posted 03-01-2020 06:06 AM


28 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6249 posts in 3271 days


#1 posted 03-01-2020 12:09 PM

MDF is used on a lot of benches, but usually in multiple layers, or as a covering on something. One of it’s weaknesses is the flexibility it has, if you lay i between 2 sawhorses it will sag badly….so it’s needs support. Consider just putting a piece of it over the plywood you now have.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19621 posts in 3345 days


#2 posted 03-01-2020 12:27 PM

I’d prefer a piece of plywood. Oak faced would be nice but a piece of AC would do

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1659 posts in 3627 days


#3 posted 03-01-2020 02:05 PM

Take a look at tempered hard board. I’ve built a few benches that I top with an 1/8th tempered hardboard sheet, (runs like $20 for a 4’x’8 sheet) You can cut the sheet to nearly the size of the top. Secure the top with a few pieces of 2x sided carpet tape and then use a flush trim bit in the router to get it exact size. I then use a hardwood to wrap the edges flush to the top of the hardboard, and put a slight roundover on the hardwood edge. This works well to give a smooth even top for the bench that is easily replaceable when worn. You just use the existing as a template and get the flush trim bit in the router again and it’s simple to get an exact match.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

989 posts in 2426 days


#4 posted 03-01-2020 02:16 PM

MDF is very soft and absorbent. Two of my benches I top with Mealimine PB as it is pretty cheap and gives a nice bright smooth surface that you can wipe spills off of. I have also done as ChefDan says. A quick coat of poly makes it more durable, but very dark.

View JackDuren's profile

JackDuren

1236 posts in 1737 days


#5 posted 03-01-2020 02:40 PM

I used a 3/4 piece of particle board on my work bench for 15 years. Never had a problem. I only changed a year ago when I got a free 3’×7’ 8/4 hickory butcher block. Every once I a while I would coat it with Johnsons paste wax to keep the glue from absorbing. .....

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

676 posts in 1397 days


#6 posted 03-01-2020 03:24 PM

+1 on Tempered hardboard. Slap a coat of shellac on it and a coat of wax. Glue will pop right off and it’s any easy surface to renew.

-- Sawdust Maker

View Karda's profile

Karda

2293 posts in 1331 days


#7 posted 03-01-2020 05:07 PM

thanks for the hard board I hadn’t thought of that. This is not the bench top it is a cover. The bench top is layered 3/4” plywood

View BattleRidge's profile

BattleRidge

149 posts in 993 days


#8 posted 03-01-2020 06:17 PM

I recommend tempered hardboard too and it makes a great surface to work on, is quite durable and easy to replace. Mine is fastened with double sided tape and surrounded by modified oak trim.

-- ~Art~

View pottz's profile (online now)

pottz

9910 posts in 1762 days


#9 posted 03-01-2020 07:43 PM

another vote for hard board ive used it for years and really takes a beating,i coat the top with paste wax so glue is easier to remove.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Karda's profile

Karda

2293 posts in 1331 days


#10 posted 03-01-2020 08:38 PM

ok thanks

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5290 posts in 4738 days


#11 posted 03-01-2020 09:01 PM

Just a suggestion:
Use Extera or any other exterior rated MDF. Stuff is strong, water resistant, and very stable. I’ve used it on several outdoor apps as well as jigs, fences for tooling, etc. Money well spent in my estimation.

-- [email protected]

View Karda's profile

Karda

2293 posts in 1331 days


#12 posted 03-01-2020 09:06 PM

ok thanks

View gerrym526's profile

gerrym526

287 posts in 4586 days


#13 posted 04-06-2020 09:51 PM

I’ve built worktables and workbenches using MDF for the tops. Like the weight and flatness of 3/4” MDF, but be prepared to wrestle 80lb sheets. If you want to use lighter material, I’d recommend 1/2” MDF over some plywood underlayment. If the top is going to get dinged from use, I’d screw it down so it’s replaceable when you need to.
As far as finish, I’ve simply coated the tops with 2-3 coats of paste wax. The surface is slick and easy to wipe dust from, the wax protects against most stains, and if you use the workbench for glue-ups, the paste wax keeps the glue from sticking to the top.

-- Gerry

View Karda's profile

Karda

2293 posts in 1331 days


#14 posted 04-07-2020 03:18 AM

thanks MDF or hard boardis probably what I will go with

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

1073 posts in 688 days


#15 posted 04-07-2020 08:47 AM

all of my work benches are premium high density MDF board. my assembly/glue-up station is 2”x2’x8’ MDF with double sided melamine from Menards. It does take much effort to screw another sheet of MDF or it if needed, and the double side melamine work bench top I can flip it over to the other side if needed.

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

7200 posts in 2981 days


#16 posted 04-07-2020 09:22 AM

Karda,

You may find your actually referring to HDF, MDF will furr up when you work it whereas HDF wont.
Exactly the same materials in the construction of both except HDF has a stronger glue.

If your into making templates and the like I think you will be using HDF anyway.

It may be as WoodenDreams refers to as premium Hi-density MDF Board

I would not recommend using MDF as a work bench surface as it will “bubble up” if moisture/products gets on it

-- Regards Rob

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

989 posts in 2426 days


#17 posted 04-07-2020 10:46 AM

I prefer chip-board to MDF for the top. Does not swell as much when something gets on it.
I have used a layer of masonite thinking I could easily replace it, ut somehow it stays there long after it could be refreshed.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2836 posts in 3699 days


#18 posted 04-07-2020 10:54 AM

My two benches have painted Masonite tops. Cheap and easy to replace.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View JackDuren's profile

JackDuren

1236 posts in 1737 days


#19 posted 04-07-2020 02:22 PM

Keep hearing to replace the masonite. Is it that bad a surface it can’t be cleaned and must be replaced?

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

1189 posts in 504 days


#20 posted 04-07-2020 02:41 PM

1st choice, I would glue a sheet of plastic laminate (formica for example) onto it,
and probably never have to change it again.
2nd choice would be melamine,
3rd would be the tempered hardbord (masonite)

-- I only know what I know, nothing less, nothing more -- That doesn't count what I used to know..

View pottz's profile (online now)

pottz

9910 posts in 1762 days


#21 posted 04-07-2020 03:40 PM



Keep hearing to replace the masonite. Is it that bad a surface it can t be cleaned and must be replaced?

- JackDuren


i dont know ive used it on bench tops for the last 30 years and love the stuff.i just coat it with paste wax so glue doesn’t stick and i usually will get 10 years or more before changing.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

519 posts in 164 days


#22 posted 04-07-2020 04:47 PM



1st choice, I would glue a sheet of plastic laminate (formica for example) onto it,
and probably never have to change it again.
2nd choice would be melamine,
3rd would be the tempered hardbord (masonite)

- LeeRoyMan

I use melamine faced hardboard. Tough stuff. Lasts a long time before I need to replace. Pop it out and put in a new piece.

-- Darrel

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

1189 posts in 504 days


#23 posted 04-07-2020 04:54 PM

I use melamine faced hardboard. Tough stuff. Lasts a long time before I need to replace. Pop it out and put in a new piece.

- Foghorn

I don’t know if this is what your talking about, but there is another product that is for shower walls, it’s tempered hardboard with some kind of baked on finish, I think it was called marlite, but now I can’t remember. Slick finish and durable enough to be in a shower so, pretty good if you can find it, I’m sure the big box stores have it, I just don’t know what they call it these days.

-- I only know what I know, nothing less, nothing more -- That doesn't count what I used to know..

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5809 posts in 3086 days


#24 posted 04-07-2020 05:04 PM

I use a sheet of melamine as a top layer (changeable) Glue doesn’t stick so well to it.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

519 posts in 164 days


#25 posted 04-07-2020 05:12 PM

I use melamine faced hardboard. Tough stuff. Lasts a long time before I need to replace. Pop it out and put in a new piece.

- Foghorn

I don t know if this is what your talking about, but there is another product that is for shower walls, it s tempered hardboard with some kind of baked on finish, I always called it marlite. Slick finish and durable enough to be in a shower so, pretty good if you can find it, I m sure the big box stores have it, I just don t know what they call it these days.

- LeeRoyMan

You could be right. It may not be melamine coated. I just always assumed as it sure feels like it. It’s just a very tough and slippery white surface. Easy to clean up wood glue. Pretty cheap too. A 1/8” x 4’ x 8’ sheet is about $15.00

-- Darrel

View Karda's profile

Karda

2293 posts in 1331 days


#26 posted 04-07-2020 05:12 PM

for a while I used an old stove top on my bench, I found in a hurry that a slipery bench top is a royal pain, that why I am leaning towards MDF. Depends on what I can get

View david2011's profile

david2011

44 posts in 4484 days


#27 posted 04-09-2020 06:35 PM



Keep hearing to replace the masonite. Is it that bad a surface it can t be cleaned and must be replaced?

- JackDuren

More like it ~can~ be replaced when it becomes necessary. It’s a hard smooth product that’s more durable than MDF.

-- David

View pottz's profile (online now)

pottz

9910 posts in 1762 days


#28 posted 04-09-2020 10:36 PM


Keep hearing to replace the masonite. Is it that bad a surface it can t be cleaned and must be replaced?

- JackDuren

More like it ~can~ be replaced when it becomes necessary. It s a hard smooth product that s more durable than MDF.

- david2011


+1

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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