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Old 01-26-2011, 02:21 PM   #1
clutch93
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Default Work Bench Top/Coating

So i've done some searching on the site and can't really find what i'm looking for. I have an 8'X2' work bench i built out of plywood and 2X4's. It's nothing fancy but it works for me.
My only problem is with it being bare wood, it soaks up grease,oil, etc. What's the best way to top or cover this work bench on a budget? I called around and it's over $100 bucks to get cheap hot rolled steel plate to cover it, stainless was almost $500, i had NO idea it was that pricey,so that's out.
I'm open to suggestions, I only spent about $30 bucks building this thing i'm not looking to spend triple or more on a top cover.
Looking around on here i've seen people use everything from truck bed liner to staining and sealing. What's best for easy clean up, and taking abuse from hammering, grinding sparks and so on?
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

I have had good luck screwing a 1/8" hardboard / masonite over a bench - if you use a 4 X 8 sheet, and get the kind that is smooth on both sides you have 4 changes available. A couple of coats of polyurethane should give you oil resistance.

I got excellent service on a bench covering with some spare Pergo flooring. If I were to do it again I would carefully glue the edges with water resistant glue to make sure moisture didn't get between them and cause swelling. The advantage with the surface was it's durability - I could even pop superglue off it it, and it survived everything I threw at it except overdriving a nail with a nailgun.

When I solder on a bench I use a few firebricks (bricks to be used in fireplaces) to protect the surface - a few flat for a workspace, and then a few upright behind that to keep the heat in an protect the surrounding area.

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Old 01-26-2011, 02:56 PM   #3
Jack Olsen
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

You can get a roll of 24"x10' galvanized flashing for $15. Since it's only .01" thick, it will get some dents and scratches over time -- but it'll be easy to clean and cheap to replace.
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

My main bench is 8' x 2' x 3/4" ply over a 2x4 frame. It's covered with a light gray garage floor/porch paint and has held up well for 12 years. Including engine and transmission rebuilds. I'm like you, I think I have $40 in the whole thing. A quart was like $6~10. Good idea on the flashing too. I might try that over Masonite sometime.
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

If you have a TSC close Check out the horse trailer mat. Its rubber and pretty thing and rugged. That's what i'm going to use on my bench top. You can find it smooth or with small ridges to keep stuff from rolling which is what i'm leaning towards.
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

Thanks for the replys everyone. I'm leaning towards jacks idea of using the flashing. My only concern is how thin it is, it could be a great way to slice myself open real well if a corner or edge ever comes loose. I'm thinking I could just use a piece of wood trim as a border around the whole work bench to cover the edges and just glue down the flashing. Dual purpose, things can't roll off as easy and no more sharp edges.
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

you can use 12x12 self sticking vinyl tile can get them for pennies as lowes and depot puts them on discontinued racks get a few extras can replace any you damage.You will be suprised how well the hold up .plus they cost next to nothing and all kinds of styles and color
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

I have thought that reusing some sheet metal off an old fridge or freezer would work.

Also noticed that 2 part floor epoxy would be a durable work surface.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

Check pricing on "Plate" steel. Im thinking about using it on my bench top, its not cheap, but very durable.
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:23 AM   #10
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

I put 2 coats of black high gloss/self priming urethane enamel. Works great and looks good.Almost like someone dipped it in plastic coat
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:57 AM   #11
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

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Originally Posted by Jack Olsen View Post
You can get a roll of 24"x10' galvanized flashing for $15. Since it's only .01" thick, it will get some dents and scratches over time -- but it'll be easy to clean and cheap to replace.
I was considering this myself, but am also concerned like the OP about sharp ass edges... Got any suggestions??
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Old 01-28-2011, 08:13 AM   #12
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

It all depends on the type of work you will be doing on the bench. If you are checking out electrical items you want a wood or countertop type top, they do not conduct electricity. I have two bench tops, metal and wood, depending on the items I am working on. Old solid core doors make great tops.I have perimeter benches that are framed with 2x4's and covered with 2 pc. of 3/4" plywood.
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Old 01-28-2011, 08:15 AM   #13
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

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Originally Posted by quick86 View Post
I was considering this myself, but am also concerned like the OP about sharp ass edges... Got any suggestions??


I'd use this on the edges. Cheap solution. I might be trying the flashing and this now

http://www.homedepot.com/Tools-Hardw...atalogId=10053

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Old 01-28-2011, 08:29 AM   #14
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

I go with bare wood on mine (3 2x12's laid flat). Nothing looks more authentic than a well worn workbench top. It's all "character" added over a lifetime of projects. This is what I convince myself with when I spill oil on it or burn it when soldering, etc.

I have some cheap laminate "pergo" laying around. I may give that a shot now as well to dress it up a bit.
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Old 01-28-2011, 08:40 AM   #15
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

one of mine is just bare plywood too and i think the whole sheet was 20 bucks. i was thinking about sealing it for liquids when i seal my deck this summer other than that when fubared i'll unscrew it and replace it. my other bench top i got 2'x5' ss table top for 70 bucks on craigslist thank you cl gods

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Old 01-28-2011, 08:50 AM   #16
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

Go to your local Steel Supply House and get some sheet metal,drill some countersunk holes and apply.
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:51 AM   #17
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

I recently built a bench with the top being oak plywood which is almost $50 a sheet. I was undecided on how to protect it so I put 4 coats of urethane which protects it from spills and stains. As far as dents and dings, well that will just add character over time.

I also looked at several different options on how to protect it and most of them were expensive. Masonite is a good option. I also saw some rubber type carpet runners at Lowes that I was considering. It just depends on what you like. Luckily for me, my friend just offered me a huge piece of SS that has been sitting in his garage. =)

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Old 01-28-2011, 10:32 AM   #18
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

I just built my bench and threw on a sheet of 3/4 melamine...its the cheaper version of formica (lpl vs hpl), and not as strong against dents/chips, but sofar so good. (just for a test, i tried to gouge it with my keys and it really took a ton of effort to barely scratch it). Anyway, I rounded the corners w/ a router and its been great. The only downside is that its a little slippery, so benchdogs/cookies are useful.

I used some PL and pin nails to hold it in place while the PL dried and its not going anywhere.

I knocked over a bottle of PVC primer (purple dye) and it wiped right up with no notice of residue, and i was sold.

4x8 sheets are ~35
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:19 AM   #19
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

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Originally Posted by Jack Olsen View Post
You can get a roll of 24"x10' galvanized flashing for $15. Since it's only .01" thick, it will get some dents and scratches over time -- but it'll be easy to clean and cheap to replace.
Went and picked up a roll @ Menards on lunch. $19.99 for the roll I got - the roll of aluminum was $13.99.... Steel Prices might have made an effect on prices.

Either way, this is going to work out awesome!
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:45 AM   #20
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Default Re: Work Bench Top/Coating

Quote:
Originally Posted by quick86 View Post
Went and picked up a roll @ Menards on lunch. $19.99 for the roll I got - the roll of aluminum was $13.99.... Steel Prices might have made an effect on prices.

Either way, this is going to work out awesome!

Was 24" the largest width you saw?
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