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tahir

Woodworking bench DIY

I'm going to build a bench to make life easier for myself, I'm thinking 1 sheet of ply cut down the middle and sandwiched together so I end up with something 2440x610(ish), base will be scaffolding (I have lots). Pre drilled for bench dogs.

Question 1) Ply or MDF?
Q2) What spacing should I put the holes at? Especially spacing from edge.
Nick

Ply. It won't kill you.

Drill holes as you need them?
tahir

Ply. It won't kill you.


Will MDF?

Shocked
tahir

Drill holes as you need them?


I just thought I'd get them drilled by the timber yard, save a bit of time. (I'm still working 5 days a week)
sean

MDF dust is pretty evil. tahir

MDF dust is pretty evil.

Ah, OK. All new to me.
Hairyloon

Also, the manufacture of MDF uses a massive amount of energy. The trees have gone to all that trouble to product a solid lump of timber: it takes a lot of work to mash it into a pulp, and then some more to glue it back into a solid lump again...

And ply is simply better, for almost every application.
Nick

To be fair, the risks are minimal, but present. I'd just go for ply because it's actually wood tho.

Hole wise, I can measure the ones on a black and decker. They work, but no idea why they are at those centres. Must be a reason tho.
tahir

They work, but no idea why they are at those centres. Must be a reason tho.

Swot I wondered
JB

Whatever you use for the top make the top in two parts with a thin top sheet screwed to a thicker layer. The when you damage the top (which if you do very much you will you can just replace the top sheet.

I would avoid MDF for two reasons, one is that it generates toxic dust, not usually a problem but if it's a workbench you may well be making dust out of it. The second reason is that in my experience MDF is prone to absorbing moisture and loses all structural strength when it does. Fine for a painted shelf, back of cheap furniture etc but in a workshop it might not be so dry.
JB

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJjrB4SvMWg should give you some ideas. tahir

Thanks JB. I don't think I'll be getting anywhere near as involved as you, but I have got a few jobs I need to do. dpack

mdf will fall to bits rather quickly

ply wont
mousjoos

MDF dust is pretty evil.

Unless you eat the equivalent of an 8x4 sheet on a daily basis, you're fairly safe....true it's not the tastiest dust & when cutting wear an effing mask...simples
Hairyloon

MDF dust is pretty evil.

Unless you eat the equivalent of an 8x4 sheet on a daily basis, you're fairly safe...
The hazard is from inhalation not consumption. Any fine dust is not good to breath in and MDF tends to go to dust when you cut it.
dpack

i just thought of a couple of things

is 640 wide enough for constructing the things you might want to glue together on a flat surface?it would be a bit narrow for a door or window or biggish bookcase .if i had space i would probably go for 2400x1200 preferably with room to work from all four sides if needs be .

are you going to put a vice on it?if so you will need to reinforce an area to bolt it to
mousjoos

MDF dust is pretty evil.

Unless you eat the equivalent of an 8x4 sheet on a daily basis, you're fairly safe...
The hazard is from inhalation not consumption. Any fine dust is not good to breath in and MDF tends to go to dust when you cut it.

Perhaps "eat" was the wrong word

MDF was banned in the US because of the toxic elements in the glue

Mahogany produces a fine dust which is dangerous, along with other exotic timbers....the point is use a mask

The use of MDF itself won't kill you (unless it falls on you from a great height) & if as in this instance, it's for a workbench, then the top needs to be solid; once the paper on a sheet of MDF is damaged then the surface & the interior of the board can degrade fairly rapidly; also if the edges of the board aren't protected they will eventually became "fat" through taking in moisture

ETA as dpack says, if you are mounting a vice on the bench, you might want to reinforce that part of the surface...but also consider placing the vice over or close to the legs of the bench...generally this is why the vice is close to one corner
Nick

MDF is not banned in the US, nor has ever been. JB

MDF has it's place and its virtues. As an 'engineered' wood product it's regular, doesn't deform preferentially along one axis, is available in large sheets and makes use of the offcuts that would otherwise be waste at the timber mill. On the other hand it does contain some toxins, generates lots of dust if heavily machined and loses all structural strength in the presence of damp.

For most places where MDF might be an option I would rather use ply.
Hairyloon

makes use of the offcuts that would otherwise be waste at the timber mill.
That may have been the intent when they invented it, but they feed the MDF mills with forest loads at a time. I don't think they bother with off cuts.
onemanband

Not saying it's better than ply or always ideal, but what about kitchen worktop ?

Plus points ......
it's already 60cm wide
wipe clean
less bouncy than ply
often free so you can abuse and replace - that's what I do
gregotyn

I haven't read all the posts, but when I make a bench for working on I always make it at least 3ft wide which accommodates most of my 'doings'. I am sort of between properties-bungalow being built- so I will be making a new bench. I always use old pallets as most steel companies get rid of their pallets and often have big stuff, I use 6-8ft 3x3" usually for the legs and framework. I cover this with a run of pallet boards, both ways in laminate style and as the top, (about 40mm thick), wears out I rip the top off and replace with another set of pallet boards. I always put a low tool rack at the back to hold the tools I am using at the time, the rack being removeable held in place by 2 angle iron brackets, so that I can work both sides if needed. I have an old style wood workers vice incorporated too most useful! mousjoos

MDF is not banned in the US, nor has ever been.

There was a newspaper article published before I left UK 12 years ago stating that the use of MDF in some states was prohibited

Don't remember the paper or the author, just remember being shown the article, as I had to bring H&S in the workshop up to new standards in order to deal with MDF & other fine dust
tahir

OK, 2x18mm ply, 800 wide predrilled for benchdogs

Thanks all.

Mind you I haven't watched that video yet...
onemanband

HSE MDF FAQ Nick

MDF is not banned in the US, nor has ever been.

There was a newspaper article published before I left UK 12 years ago stating that the use of MDF in some states was prohibited

Don't remember the paper or the author, just remember being shown the article, as I had to bring H&S in the workshop up to new standards in order to deal with MDF & other fine dust

There was an article in a newspaper some years back about there being a Lancaster bomber on the moon.

Quote:
Q6. Is MDF banned in other countries and, if so, why not in the UK?
HSE is not aware of any countries in the world where MDF is banned.
mousjoos

Are we aiming for a 40 + page thread ?

Just posted what I read / was shown

There was also talk at the time of making it mandatory to separate wood chip from fine dust in extraction systems, due to the risk of explosion...mostly I was told because of the dramatic increase in the use of MDF

Maybe you know the cabinet trade better than I do, but being an employer at the time, & being in contact with other employers in the same trade meant that a lot of information circulated regardless of whether or not it eventually came to anything

Unfortunately we didn't have Google at our disposal
dpack

OK, 2x18mm ply, 800 wide predrilled for benchdogs

Thanks all.

Mind you I haven't watched that video yet...

that seems like a good bench top

a few things that will be very useful

4 sash cramps

at least two "squeezey"clamps for holding odd things or holding a full board ready to slice bits off it (mine came from poundland and they are ace )

a bench hook

a board with assorted holes attached under the bench for chisels etc ,it is much nicer than laying them on the top Wink

a short bit of plastic pipe to blow frass out of holes and a brush to remove frass etc before turning the work over ,bits can mess the surface,get in your glue , throw angles off true etc etc
Nick

You'll also need a sign that wives and children can read that explains that it's not for putting any old crap on. dpack

You'll also need a sign that wives and children can read that explains that it's not for putting any old crap on. Laughing Laughing Laughing onemanband

You'll also need a sign that wives and children can read that explains that it's not for putting any old crap on.

You must be leaving your bench too clean and tidy.
tahir

You'll also need a sign that wives and children can read that explains that it's not for putting any old crap on.

My wife will not be able to read that sign, my kids share her "piles of crap on every worksurface" fixation, I don't think their reading abilities are any better than my wife's.
Hairyloon

There was an article in a newspaper some years back about there being a Lancaster bomber on the moon.
What nonsense... it was a flying fortress. Wink
dpack

this may explain why a man needs a shed Laughing tahir

this may explain why a man needs a shed Laughing

We have a barn, but putting the workshop in it would mean that I see even less of wife/kids than I currently do. I don't mind them too much, so would rather stay in the garage Smile
Nick

Use FaceTime. tahir

Use FaceTime.

Instead of a wife and kids? Will FaceTime do my washing?
vegplot

this may explain why a man needs a shed Laughing

It will only get filled with empty plastic plants pots and pink gardening gloves.
dpack

this may explain why a man needs a shed Laughing

It will only get filled with empty plastic plants pots and pink gardening gloves.

and 6 chairs and a table and a brolly that dont fit in the yard and ..... Laughing
Mistress Rose

Husband and son are the worst culprits for putting things on any horizontal surface. Can't even leave the ironing board out for half an hour with no ironing!!! Very Happy Nick

Neither should you. Do more ironing, or tidy up after yourself. Can't abide people leaving their hobbies out. ; Mistress Rose

Assume you don't do all the ironing then Nick. Very Happy Not my idea of a hobby. Nick

No, I do very little, but in my defence, I do pay for a separate Sky box so she can watch property/antique/period dramas without ruining the evening for others whilst it gets done. I'm a bloody hero, me. gregotyn

I've cracked ironing-I don't do it; a great topic of conversation for others! Who cares? Nick

The people who help me pay my mortgage, I'm afraid.
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