Workshop countertop suggestions

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Forum topic by Dan posted 04-06-2010 07:22 PM 24010 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 3596 days

04-06-2010 07:22 PM

I’m looking for some suggestions for what to use as a workshop countertop. I’m installing a 10’ section of metal cabinets in my shop and need something for the top. My initial thought was to buy a pre-manufactured laminate top from one of the BORGs, however, I don’t care for the bull-nose front edge that all of them have. I don’t think I want to go with a solid hardwood workbench top at this time, so I’m leaning towards something made from sheet goods. Now I’m thinking about two sheets of 3/4 ply laminated together to give a 1.5 inch top, edge banded with hardwood and possibly laminated on top. How have people approached benchtops in their shops?

13 replies so far

View KnotWright's profile


258 posts in 4032 days

#1 posted 04-06-2010 07:52 PM

The double 3/4” plywood is a good choice. I wouldn’t laminate a top on it, I would put a changable piece of masonite on it and screw it down. Norm from the New Yankee workshop had a show featuring his work bench top.

Makes good sense, once you tear up the masonite, just unscrew it and flip it over, or put a new piece down.

-- James

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5772 posts in 3776 days

#2 posted 04-06-2010 08:06 PM

Double 3/4” ply is a great choice. The masonite idea is a good one too…

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View Dyidawg's profile


51 posts in 3557 days

#3 posted 04-06-2010 08:23 PM

I have one of the prefab tops on mine and it works great. On the project cart I’m planing to build I’m going to use MDF and hardboard.

-- Wow, that was easy. Just follow the directions and use some common sense.

View tblank's profile


79 posts in 3514 days

#4 posted 04-13-2010 10:41 PM

I’ve been using dbl 3/4 top with masonite contact cemented down. I like the thought of no metal fasteners that I might hit with a chisel or something. To take off I just use a heat gun and a wonder bar to pry up. The hardwood edge banding is crucial. The banding stands proud until the masonite is installed and flushes out.

View tsmith's profile


28 posts in 4000 days

#5 posted 04-13-2010 11:07 PM

I came into two 72in workbenches that are built with 2×6s. I added a @30×72in sheet of 3/4 ply to that. Screwed it, filled it, sanded it and polyed it. Then because I (at this time) can get large sheets of cardboard I cover the top. Every year or less I replace the cardboard. Works great.

-- tsmith - Garland, TX.

View rockom's profile


134 posts in 4415 days

#6 posted 04-14-2010 01:30 AM

I used 3/4 ply and 3/4 MDF on that. That was at my last home. If I did it again, I’d do the same with 1/4” hardboard on top of that. Or two sheets of 3/4” ply with 1/4 hardboard on top.

Another option is yellow pine or fir construction lumber laminated…like a bench top.


-- -> Malta, IL -<

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3848 days

#7 posted 04-14-2010 01:49 AM

I use 2”X6” covered with Masonite (hardboard).

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

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1149 posts in 3840 days

#8 posted 04-14-2010 02:11 AM

I like the 3/4” ply with 3/4” melamine on top. The melamine is great for gluing and finishing on. It stays nice and flat and is waterproof. I do all of my gluing on it, when the glue dries it just flakes off the surface with a scraper. Finishes clean up with proper solvent.
HD sells 4’x8’ sheets for around $30.


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View Dan 's profile


11 posts in 3596 days

#9 posted 04-14-2010 04:28 AM

Thanks for all the replies. Here’s a picture of the almost finished product.

Bench Countertop

I went with the 3/4” ply laminated to 1.5” topped with hardboard and trimmed with oak. I’d like to put some sort of finish on it to give it some additional durability. Is there any reason I shouldn’t use poly?

View Dan 's profile


11 posts in 3596 days

#10 posted 04-14-2010 04:30 AM

Hmmm … first time posting a picture. It appears to have been cropped on the right side. What is the best size to use for photos?

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4541 posts in 3619 days

#11 posted 04-14-2010 08:32 PM

I use bamboo flooring for the top of my workbench. I think it makes an incredibly good work surface.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View olddutchman's profile


187 posts in 4480 days

#12 posted 04-15-2010 01:31 AM

You might want to check out your local restore. They are associated with habitat for Humanity. Our local store has lots of laminated material. I guess you have your’s, but for others, it is very cheap in price.

-- Saved, and so grateful, consider who Created it ALL!!!

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3651 days

#13 posted 04-15-2010 01:38 AM

I have the plywood/masonite on my benches. I put three coats of poly and now I keep it waxed with J&J paste wax. Paint, glue etc just wipe off. Even CA. And I think it makes the shop smell good to boot.

BTW that is a very nice set on cabinets. Rand

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