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For years, I've covered the top of my work bench with 1/4 fiber hard board the same stuff that you use as a pegboard for hanging tools but solid without the holes. It will last me years & cleans up easy. Now & then I get an oil spill or paint on it but when that happens, I just wipe it down. And silly as it sounds, all those oil & paint stains give it character. But when it gets too bad, I simply unscrew it from the bench top & put a new one on.

Aside from a metal top covering for a work bench, is anyone using anything like mine or a different material & how long does it last? I've only had to change my fiberboard top two times in the last thirty years.
 

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I've used the tempered hardboard, it use to be all Masonite. Most of the new benches in the shop were covered with tempered board.

This one has a 5/16" rubber mat, I like that to work on.

Then this one is covered with a 1/2" rubber mat.


And this one is not covered except with tempered board.



Marlin. :cowboy:


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I laminate mine. I do the edges in wood trim but the horizontal surfaces in formica. It is cheap and easy to do as well. Cleans up easily and holds up well enough - at least as good as any other soft surface (Drills go through it, scratches, chips and dings...).

I like it mostly because if you spill oil or grease it is easy to deal with the wipe-up. I usually keep a rubber floor mat on top to have a softer/tractive work surface to work on. This has the benefit of protecting the surface a bit as well as catching most of the spills.

Other things that spill on it: Glue, caulking... clean off pretty easily too. Some you let dry then peel/scrape off others you can wipe up pretty easily with a wet rag.
 

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I have 2 major work surfaces in my shop.

One is a cheap kitchen counter top with Formica. I use it for wet work: anything greasy or oily or really dirty. After 20 years of use, it has scratches and some discoloration in places. But it still serves it purpose and is very easy to clean. From a distance, it doesn't look bad.

The other workbench surface is a thick piece of particle board with outdoor carpeting glued to it. (It is also stapled around the edges and finished with wood trim.) This surface is used when I'm working on something that I don't want to scratch. In the past, I used this one for some wet work, too. I eventually had to replace the outdoor carpeting after over 30 years of use. It also had a couple of burn marks in it from some electrical experiments that went awry.
 

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I use AC plywood but always bolt the vice thru a large steel plate. Vises are more solid and secure. In addition, I have a hard surface for tourch work, a quick weld, hammering and punching, metal work etc. if you notice in one of my pics, a piece of railroad track is my anvil.
 

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I use AC plywood but always bolt the vice thru a large steel plate. Vises are more solid and secure. In addition, I have a hard surface for torch work, a quick weld, hammering and punching, metal work etc. if you notice in one of my pics, a piece of railroad track is my anvil.

Firemark ~ I like the steel plate in areas of 'heavy' work, torch and vise-work areas, etc. I need to added a plate under my vise as grinding and welding are taking their toll on the tempered board.

Did you bolt the plates down or just use the vise mounting bolts for their hold-down?

Thanks. :bigthumb:



Marlin :cowboy:
 

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Firemark ~ I like the steel plate in areas of 'heavy' work, torch and vise-work areas, etc. I need to added a plate under my vise as grinding and welding are taking their toll on the tempered board.

Did you bolt the plates down or just use the vise mounting bolts for their hold-down?

Thanks. :bigthumb:



Marlin :cowboy:
I bolt the vise thru the plate and use very large washers on the underside of the ply wood. I drill equidistant around the perimeter than take a larger bit to set a counter sink in the steel. Then zip the perimeter in. Sand the heads and steel down to be nice and flush. Periodically refinish the metal and wipe with oil oil.
 

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Mine is 3/4 plywood then I put rubber stall mat from tsc on it. Cheap and easy wipe up messes. I also have a steel top welding table.
 

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I have 5 steel benches from when Farmall closed up. On most I have laid a piece of 1/4" plywood. On the ones with a large vice I left them blank. Acutaly I only use two of them the other 3 just a place to pile crap on. Maybe when I retire I can get thing straightened up. Since they are out of the plant they are very heavy and well built. it takes a pallet forks to even think of moving them.
 

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My two work benches are laminate counter tops that were purchased from the "oops" cutoffs at Home Depot.

At my previous home my work benches were sections of old bowling alley, I loved them, however when the home was up for sale the buyer wrote those bench tops specifically in to the purchase agreement...I was sad to leave them behind.
 

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3/4 inch birch cabinet grade plywood sealed with polyurethane. About once a year I fine sand it and recoat with 2 more coats of polyurethane. Once a year is about how often I get the bench top cleared off enough of tools and remnants of projects to see that it's time to do the sand and re-coat thing.
 

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I utilize 3/4 plywood topped with 1/4' tempered hardboard, as well. I do a fair amount of mechanical work and the items, such as cylinder heads, are too heavy for a laminate and would gouge or chip it. I had thought about topping the plywood with steel as even the hardboard will gouge from a cylinder head, but it tends to be slippery. The gouging has never been a big issue, so I've stuck with the tempered hardboard and I've yet had need to replace it.

In the business, static electricity discharges was an issue when repairing electronic components. For those benches, we utilized 3/4 MDF board topped with a special anti-static conductive laminate that 3M manufactured. It would be bonded to the electrical earth ground.

Here is the bench I built for the other home last winter. I scribed the hardboard to the contour of the wall, so nothing can fall behind it. I let the front edge of the plywood and hardboard run "wild". I then snap a reference chalk line down the length of the bench and tack hardboard cutoffs to the line to utilize as a guide fence for the router. I then run the router down the edge, trimming the hardboard and plywood together which yields a uniform, clean, edge. I secure the hardboard to the plywood with finishing nails.

I don't do much mechanical work at this home. I just keep the basic tools there. It is still nice to have a good workbench for even simple stuff.

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