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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Default Bench Top Thickness

    Is there any advantages or disadvantages having an over size bench top.
    My bench is going to be 2200x600 with the top being 30mm thick - it's a kitchen bench top I scored for nothing.
    Is 30mm too much? The top weighs 36.9kg, I'm thinking I could save 12kg in weight if I buzzed 10mm off the top with the router.
    Cheers

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  3. #2
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    Feb 2003
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    used to live in Sydney, now it's Canada
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    Default

    we need a photo

    as a general rule thinning a 30 mm bench top with a router is not an optimum solution and if the top is laminate it's a really bad idea
    regards from Canada

    ian

  4. #3
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    Dec 2005
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    South Australia
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    Default

    Most benches are 50 mm thick, many people use kitchen bench tops, so you should not have any worries

  5. #4
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    Jul 2015
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fonix View Post
    Is 30mm too much? The top weighs 36.9kg, I'm thinking I could save 12kg in weight if I buzzed 10mm off the top with the router.
    Just my humble opinion, but in a workbench, you want weight - it will prevent the thing bouncing around the workshop when you're doing anything on it.

    My only thought when I began to read your post was that you were asking if 30mm was thick enough, and my mind's eye said "maybe, but it'd be better if it were 50mm or more".

    That said, 30mm, built on a nice chunky frame (say 100x100 posts) with side and back panels to prevent racking and you could have a nice little bench

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    Perth
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    10,232

    Default

    Not only do you want weight/mass to avoid movement, you want rigidity. You do not want a bouncy top! 30mm is thin, and 20mm is plain silly. I would consider 40mm to be the minimum and 50mm to be the decent.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    …ire
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    37
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    198

    Default

    Is this thing goin on the road with ya?

  8. #7
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    Nov 2011
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    Melbourne
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    Default

    One other point(points) 30 mm would be my minimum.Fat is good for benches like every one else has said ,but ,one if it's a ex kitchen bench top is it solid timber or chipboard.
    Also we never really just start out and build our first and only bench I'm in to number three and it's all ready marked down for a new bench top because I changed my mind lol.

    Cheers Matt

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    3,277

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fonix View Post
    Is there any advantages or disadvantages having an over size bench top.
    My bench is going to be 2200x600 with the top being 30mm thick - it's a kitchen bench top I scored for nothing.
    Is 30mm too much? The top weighs 36.9kg, I'm thinking I could save 12kg in weight if I buzzed 10mm off the top with the router.
    Cheers
    30mm isnít thick enough for holdfasts. Are you going to use bench dogs, planning stops etc?

    Why would you like a lighter bench?
    Ö..Live a Quiet Life & Work with your Hands

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Albury Well Just Outside
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    Default

    Getting this for free is excellent. The size of this bench 2200 x 600 will not allow you to move it around very easy. The current thickness of 30mm is not optimal if you are going to use this with hand tools in mind. As others have said better to have a thicker work bench top of around 50mm or more.

    My initial setup was to have 30mm thick MDF sheet over two saw horses and over time this sagged. My current bench top is about 100mm thick but I don't know how much it weight just that I am not able to move it on my own.

    Once you decide where this bench will sit you can always add sheets of ply or whatever to give you more thickness. If you need to move it then look at having wheels attached that can be locked or removed when the bench is in use.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perth
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    Default

    Unless you intend using holdfasts, you can still obtain good rigidity and weight using a thinner top provided you compensate with a more extensive multi point supporting frame immediately under the top. Lets say you build a supporting frame for the top using 50 x 100 mm (with the 100 mm on edge) spaced 200 mm apart you could use a 30 mm top so then in terms of weight this correspond to a top that is 50mm thick. Given the sorts of forces involved in wood working there's no way a 30 mm thick top is going to flex across a 200 mm gap on such a structure.

    It's far from how I would build a bench these days but the "temporary" bench I "cobbled" together from the bits and pieces I had on hand back in in 2006 uses this approach. The under top frame is made from pieces of 100 x 50 mm and 200 x 50 mm. This includes the front apron which is 200 x 50. It only uses an 18 mm removable ply top. I did have plans to add another sheet of 18 mm ply but never really saw the need for it.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    …ire
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    Default

    Some more food for thought...
    If you go with the thin top approach, which sounds like my setup at the moment, it may leave you with a solid top, but if you intend to have much of an overhang on each end of the bench, you may question why you did not support it, depending on how long the stuff is your working on, that is.

    Tom

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Northen Rivers NSW
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    56
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    2,834

    Default

    The answer lies in the intended use.

    Power tool bench?
    Assembly bench?
    Hand tool bench?

    First two can easily and affordably be built using torsion box design. Strong, never go out of shape and provide a dead flat level surface.

    If itís hand tools then thatís a whole lot more work.

    If itís one of the first two your top will be fine. Just brace it well.

    Have fun.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Gippsland Australia
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    64
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    50

    Default

    Basically as rule of thumb, thicker the better. My two benches are 100mm solid laminated European beech. Had them for thirty years and never complained about them once. Heavy and solid as a rock!

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    McBride BC Canada
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    3,535

    Default

    I go for mass. Time and time again has told me that heavy benches don't walk.
    I do a lot of heavy (940g) mallet wood carving with gouges when I'm not using a carver's adze.

    Main bench has always been crude and a 40mm top. 8' long, 32" wide, two ladder frames and fat legs.
    I've lost track of the number of holes that I've drilled in it for carving tie-downs of one kind or another.
    The bench doesn't move, the top seems about right for drilling.

    Recent carving bench is three 4" x 4" x 48" fencepost sections, bolted together.
    Shorter 4" x 4" legs so I can work down on a pole carving from above or beside.
    The damn thing walks! I need rubber friction pads and sand bags.

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