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  1. #1
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    Default Bench benchtop material

    Looking around today for a suitable material for my new work bench top, and I see that the big green shed sells Kitchen benchtops made from Bamboo, laminated from strips. I know bamboo is hard as steel because I've laid many many square metres of bamboo flooring and it destroys tungsten blades real quick, so how would it go as a work bench? I'm thinking I'd epoxy glue and press two panels together to get about 65 mm thickness. then fit it to a merbau frame. once it's built it wont be going anywhere it will weigh a ton! Any thoughts anyone?
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  3. #2
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    Evan Dunstone uses bamboo on some of his workbenches which is a good an endorsement as you can get. Personally I wouldn't bother with the merbau frame and I'd use 3 layers but that's just for aesthetics and to add weight. Depending on the frame and the dimensions of the the legs and stretchers, 65mm may look anaemic.



    20191123_081940.jpg
    Here's a bench I built for my drill. The top is 66mm made up of 2 layers of Ash Utility Panel. The bench is only 1m wide and the legs are 90 x 65 and the long stretcher is 105 wide. 66mm is ok for such a short bench but I don't think I would have gotten away with the 66mm top if the bench was any wider. Just my opinion.

  4. #3
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    nice, that drill is interesting. I saw that vic. ash utility panel too, much cheaper, but they couldn't tell me what type of glue is used to laminate it. presumable it would be urea or epoxy of some sort.

  5. #4
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    I used the these bamboo bench tops for some work benches - coated with two coats of boat building epoxy. Rock hard, impervious to chemicals and gorgeous (to my eyes). What more could you ask for!

    Leigh






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  6. #5
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    I'm guessing the bamboo benchtop would also be very stable, since it doesn't really have grain as such?

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverbuilder View Post
    .......what type of glue is used to laminate it.

    I'm certainly no expert, but I think it may be a polyurethane type glue judging how it foamed out of some of the voids and cracks.

  8. #7
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    I'm trying out a Merbau panel as a bench top. $88 from bunnings and the nice bloke there didn't charge me anything to lop it to length for me. It is 25mm thick and seems nicely solid and it is rather heavy. I decided to keep the top on the thin side since I want to be able to use small clamps on it for some work.

  9. #8
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    Re glue in these panels, after messing with some ash panels a few weeks ago Iím pretty sure itís glued with a polyurethane type glue. The white / yellow foaming is visible in some of the defects over joints.

  10. #9
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    My old man was the cabinet maker, frame maker and conservator in residence for almost decade and a half at the NVG Melbourne. He built his tops from 70mm thick Vic Ash in the early 1980s, and the benches are still in use full time by teams of people today and going strong.
    It's easy to work, not too hard that it will damage your work or tools and most importantly affordable and easy to find. The following is a very recent picture of one of the current conservators with the bench (and tool cab, etc) that he built all those years ago.
    STAF004356_cropped.jpg

    I more recently built a workbench using hard maple for a top. But in retrospect I should have used Vic Ash and saved the extra money for some nice hand tools.

    Have an awesome day, and regardless of choice, I wish you the very best with the build!

  11. #10
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    If were using the bench exclusively for woodworking, I would have loved to make the whole thing out of Tasmanian Oak or Beech Myrtle. In fact, I am fairly convinced now that my front apron is Tasmanian Myrtle. I prefer having a lighter-coloured bench-top for that sort of thing. However, my bench has to double up on duties for a lot of projects which would damage and stain lighter timbers, though I suppose I could have made some sort of supplementary work surface out of masonite for that. But it is pretty hard to beat having a Merbau top which can be brought home, cut-to-size and already nice and flat for just $88. It came up nice after a good coating of Linseed oil thinned with methylated spirits then beeswax paste.

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siggykc View Post
    My old man was the cabinet maker, frame maker and conservator in residence for almost decade and a half at the NVG Melbourne. He built his tops from 70mm thick Vic Ash in the early 1980s, and the benches are still in use full time by teams of people today and going strong.
    It's easy to work, not too hard that it will damage your work or tools and most importantly affordable and easy to find. The following is a very recent picture of one of the current conservators with the bench (and tool cab, etc) that he built all those years ago.
    STAF004356_cropped.jpg

    I more recently built a workbench using hard maple for a top. But in retrospect I should have used Vic Ash and saved the extra money for some nice hand tools.

    Have an awesome day, and regardless of choice, I wish you the very best with the build!
    I ended up using New Guinea Rosewood, and a perimeter apron of Qld. Spotted gum. It came out pretty good.
    https://www.woodworkforums.com/attac...9&d=1580033854

  13. #12
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