Help Needed with Benchtop with solid core doors

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Forum topic by Ezra posted 11-01-2010 02:40 PM 2518 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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52 posts in 4224 days

11-01-2010 02:40 PM

I was at my local dump/recycling center dropping off yard waste, and was able to salvage two solid core doors that had been thrown out in someones remodeling project.. The doors both have a clear coat of poly or some other topcoat on both sides. My intention is to use these two roughly 1 1/2 inch thick doors for a bench top. My question is regarding how to laminate the doors together. Since there is a topcoat of some kind I am assuming I would have to strip whatever top coat is on the doors before I could laminate them together using regular titebond glue. Does anyone have any other suggestions I may want to try. I intend on topping off the two doors with a piece of hardboard or mdf to make a replaceable top. Any help would be appreciated.

-- Ezra in Brew City

9 replies so far

View ajosephg's profile


1881 posts in 4097 days

#1 posted 11-01-2010 02:51 PM

I would first strip the varnish chemically and then sand it to make sure I had bare wood, followed by the glue up.

-- Joe

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11870 posts in 3965 days

#2 posted 11-01-2010 03:17 PM

If They’re not veneered MDF, but rather a solid wood core, I’d just belt sand the mating faces at 60 grit and glue it up with Titebond II. That stuff adheres to almost anything.
If they’re veneer over MDF, stripping is your best option.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Ezra's profile


52 posts in 4224 days

#3 posted 11-01-2010 06:37 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys. I thought that I would have to strip the finish off, but was hoping to have an easier option.

-- Ezra in Brew City

View Jonnyfurniture's profile


59 posts in 3363 days

#4 posted 11-02-2010 12:07 AM


View Gary Roberts's profile

Gary Roberts

140 posts in 3558 days

#5 posted 11-02-2010 05:51 AM

I’ve a bench made from a single MDF covered, solid core door. Cut in half, laminated with vinyl flooring cement and it’s been solid for nearly 20 years. It’s my primary assembly, pounding on, staining, painting, stripping and everything else bench

-- Gary Roberts,

View Ken Reed's profile

Ken Reed

156 posts in 3721 days

#6 posted 11-02-2010 03:53 PM

I have three benches in my shop with solid core doors used as tops: two are over 9’ long. They have held up beautifully for about 20 years now. My main bench is about 40”x96” and I covered it with laminate (Formica, or Wilsonart, or similar). I really like it as a bench top: it’s amazingly durable, it’s “tool friendly”, smooth, but not too slick, it’s liquid proof, you can write on it, and it’s easily cleaned. I often draw my current plan right on it with pencil so I have a full size drawing, sort of like a story stick, but better. Alcohol wipes the pencil marks off easily.

I don’t see the purpose of laminating the two doors together. My benches have remained flat and are extremely strong, but then they are all well supported. I have two vices mounted to the “plastic” bench and they take quite a beating at times.

If you still want to laminate them together, then I agree that you’ll have to strip the finish off one side of each of the doors. I wouldn’t recommend permanent screws to clamp them as you may want to drill for bench dogs later, but you could screw them together to apply clamping force from underneath and then remove the screws once the Titebond III sets up. (I’ve found the III superior to the II).

View Ezra's profile


52 posts in 4224 days

#7 posted 11-03-2010 04:16 PM

Excellent. Thanks for all of the great feedback.

-- Ezra in Brew City

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 3533 days

#8 posted 11-03-2010 04:40 PM

If it were mine would sand the finish off then glue the two panels together with PL 9000.(construction adhesive) The two pieces glued together will help make the bench very solid. Like the above comment screw from bottom , let it cure then remove screws. Clamping or pressing pieces that are glued helps bonding process !
VERY NICE FIND ! Keep dumpster Diving !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View tbone's profile


288 posts in 4221 days

#9 posted 11-03-2010 06:06 PM

Contact cement would work great with only minimal sanding to the meeting faces. (sand only to ‘rough-up’ the surface)

Keep in mind ,however, that mounting a vise may not be a wise idea if the cores are particleboard. You’re OKAY though, if they are stave lumber cores (SLC) or structural composite lumber (SCL) There should be an ink stamp on the top of the doors explaining the construction of them.

Good re-use of materials!

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

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