Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.
Basement work bench, need advice Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Basement work bench, need advice

    Hi. When we moved into our house, the first thing I did was set up my Command Operations Center: an 8 foot long work bench that stands about belt buckle height. It's attached to the floor joists above and rests on the floor otherwise. I'd like to take it down and build a new one along a longer wall. This makes much more sense as far as work flow, lighting, things I want to mount on it, etc.

    I'm stuck on the work surface. Right now, I have 4 2x10 planks laid flat, with deck screws holding them down. They've twisted and cupped slightly, making an uneven surface. I'd like to come up with a solution that is flat, even, durable, and can possibly be replaced.

    One thought I had is to make a large "tray" of sorts with plywood on the bottom and 1" stock around the sides. Then some sort of sheet material can be cut and laid inside.

    So the questions are: What approach should I use to get a nice flat surface? Is there a durable sheet product that will hold up and can be replaced? How about anchoring the feet to the floor somehow (I have a floating slab).

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Basement work bench, need advice

    What I use for my reloading bench area is three thicknesses of 3/4 ply (two would probably do, but I like the extra beefy 'feel') held together with screws and glue. I would suggest laying out some lines for the screws so that you know where they went - later if you want to drill holes in the bench top for mounting things it sucks to run into a stray screw that wasn't where you thought it was. I took some 1x3 oak boards to make the edge trim - set it so its approx. 1/8" above flush on top, and screw it to the sides every 8-10". Now you have a lip to drop a sheet of 1/8 tempered hardboard into. Once you have it trimmed to size and fitting the way you want it, lift it up and put down some double-sided carpet tape. Drop it back down and press it firmly in place - if you have a bunch of books or heavy boxes to set on top of it for a bit that works great. Now you have a nice thick smooth top, one that is cheap and reasonably durable, and that can be pulled up and replaced when worn/abused beyond whatever your tolerance level is. I also used a similar method on my 'wood' working bench, also in my basement shop. If you want to make sure it really fits flush, you can set up a flush-trimming jig for your router and buzz that side trim down as needed, although thats a one-time deal - the next sheet might be a fuzz thicker. It may be better to shim the sacrificial top *up* a bit with card stock (from Staples, etc.).

    One possibility.

    HTH,

    Monte

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Basement work bench, need advice

      I use a double layer mdf top for my workbench (so 1.5 " thick). When the top gets busted up, I back out the screws and drive a new one on. The top is very flat, and I screw work hold downs and jigs right into the benchtop, not worrying about punching holes in a replaceable top.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Basement work bench, need advice

        Our work tables in our woodshop are 4ft x 10ft framed with 2 x 4's with 3/4" HDO plywood on top, 2 x 4 legs , shelf under the top framed w/ 2 x 4's topped with 5/8" plywood. I don't know why you want to anchor it the floor, because any good work table is heavy enough it won't move. If you want to anchor it to the floor I would use drop in anchors, bolt an angle to the legs, put all-thread in the anchor & through the angle that way you can tweek the table.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Basement work bench, need advice

          If you ever can find a old bowling alley, the alley is fir, but under the pins is maple, they make a great bench,

          I have made many of benches out of two layers glued together of particle board, the edges some times take a beating but it is flat stable and solid,

          but one could and I have done this as well, I have taken 2x4 and ended up sawing off the edges, so there square, line them up and (use one for a pattern,) drill about 12 to 16 inches apart, then glue it up and use all thread, or readi thread rod, (Pre threaded rod), put a washer on the bolt and nut, and then start to Snug it down, you can make a nearly any width you want, (some rod comes in 6 foot lengths), but when you get all glued up and dried, (lay it on a flat surface and that is laying flat),
          then saw off any excess and then cap with two more 2x4 on the edges to cover the bolts, one can just drill out a larger hole so the bolt can fit in the hole the hole can be blind or through,
          then with a plane work the top down flat, or one can put edges on the table and make a auxiliary plate on the router, and use a flat end bit about 3/4 in diameter to flatten it down to near perfection, and then some sanding you will have very good bench top, if one wants use hard wood on the edges it will help some on durability,
          Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
          attributed to Samuel Johnson
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Basement work bench, need advice

            Originally posted by franklin pug View Post
            I use a double layer mdf top for my workbench (so 1.5 " thick). When the top gets busted up, I back out the screws and drive a new one on. The top is very flat, and I screw work hold downs and jigs right into the benchtop, not worrying about punching holes in a replaceable top.
            i would do the same thing, but put 1/8 or 1/4" tempered hardboard on top of the MDF. use double sided tape to fix the hardboard to the MDF and replace it when sufficiently worn. one advantage of hardboard over MDF is that it can be waxed, making it a geat surface for glue ups. sqeeze out can be left to dry on the hardboard and then just flicked off the top.
            Last edited by FINER9998; 01-17-2012, 04:03 PM.
            there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Basement work bench, need advice

              My current bench is two pieces of 3/4" plywood, glued together and screwed from the bottom side up. This has been scraped and sanded flat and level and covered with 1/4" tempered hardboard. The hardboard can be easily replaced when it gets worn. One sheet of plywood could make a slightly less than 24" deep top surface when unfaced. I faced the sides and front edges with 3/4" thick strips of hardwood with a width to match the bench top thickness.

              (I have toyed with the idea of replacing the hardboard with laminate flooring. This stuff is pretty dense and I think that it would not be stained with glue, stain, paint etc.)

              I also made the top large enough to overhang about 2" on both sides and front for use as a clamping surface.

              Years ago, I used a solid core flush door. These are sometimes available used at industrial or office remodel sites for a few dollars.
              Last edited by billmoy; 01-17-2012, 11:27 AM. Reason: spelling?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Basement work bench, need advice

                I think much depends on how you use and what you expect from your basement work bench, at least with regard to the top surface.

                You mentioned that your present solid "2 x 10 planks" have warped and cupped... is that from a moisture problem or just the general state of such wood products found in these recent years? You could of course use a router (avoiding the screws in some manner...like removing them) and a "bridge" support to flatten that top, and then mount ply, MDF, or whatever over the top of that. That would of course provide a very good base for a new, and occasionally replaceable, top.

                Personally, I do not see a need for anchoring the table to the floor. But of course I'm not in your basement or know to what use the workbench is being subjected. As mentioned by an earlier poster, you really want a relatively "heavy" bench, especially if you are going to subject the bench to any kind of pounding and or lateral stress, like hand-planing, chiseling, etc.

                Personally, I prefer a bench that is made of 2 x 4 or 4 x 4 leg members, laterally supported via mortice and tenon joints and also incorporating a trestle-type design in a lower shelf or foot support (when seated) between the left and right leg sets. Main thing is that the construction should be very sturdy and totally stiff with absolutely NO movement (wobble) within any of it's structural members.

                The top its self should be fully support both longitudally, as well as front to back. I'm envisioning a torsion box-like structure made from 2 x 4 stock that has been kiln-dried and therefore significantly stable. Over that you can do almost anythng, including a couple hardwood flooring, ply, MDF, or whatever. I don't particular like MDF, as it sags under even the shortest spans. However, if the support is full, like a solid thick ply (or two layers of 3/4 ply), an MDF used as a replaceable surface, can be very ideal and quite economical to replace.

                But again, the concern would be to the inflictions resulting from the kind of work you do. Like are you just doing carpentry, repairing engines, or what? Oil, paint, gouges, abrations, saw cuts, hammer dents, etc. are all possible effects and the "replacement" expense is a much needed concern if the work is deteriorating. (Like you wouldn't want a maple top if your sliding heavy steel parts, repairing a small engine, oil, gouges etc. ... but it would be ideal if you're just doing woodworking.) If you're doing a lot of parts sorting, maybe just electronic, and similar activity, then even an easily-cleaned laminate top might be ideal. But if this bench is going to subjected to a lot of uses, then make the thing sturdy and stable and put a solid top (your redressed 2 x 10's or double thickness of ply) and add an easily replaceable MDF surface to it.

                I hope this helps,

                CWS

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Basement work bench, need advice

                  In the metal shop I have a set of benches that are basicly like you have 2x XX screw down to the bench frame and a sheet of 10 gage steel with a formed front edge that is bent down about 2 inches and then back under about 1 1/2", (actuly there is a back as well about 24 inches on them), I was lucky to find this metal in the scrap yard of a industral manufacture, but I know other have had the metal formed in the front (they were origional to be a dump bed on a truck, but I think they miss bent some measurment), any way I have 24 foot of bench out of this product, with a wood under support,
                  Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                  attributed to Samuel Johnson
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Basement work bench, need advice

                    The usage will be pretty much 30% electrical (soldering, stripping, testing), 30% crafts (exacto, cutting, hot glue), and the rest a combination of using my vice, drill press, bench grinder, painting small things.

                    My current bench is actually ok, but I have a space management issue. Part of it is depth. It is actually 3 2x10 planks deep, not 4 deep. I do have a combination shelf and foot rest below. Also, the way my basement space evolved made the current location less that optimal.

                    So ultimately, I want to move it, find a better solution for the top, possibly make it deeper, and see what I can do about better storage below. Thanks for the great tips, and I'll post pictures as the project evolves.

                    Comment

                    Working...
                    X