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11-07-2019, 20:06   #1
Macker
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Revamping a work bench

Hi folks
I have a bench I inherited when my da passed away 20 years ago and now I feel like it needs a new top, at the moment it's 7X2s about 2.5 ft deep by 4.5 ft wide, I'm wondering what I should use for a new top, I could turn the boards that are on it but they would need some work to get rid of gaps, or I could buy some new timber, I could also buy 1 inch ply and maybe double it up or cover the 7X2s with ply, the legs if I strip it can be moved to any width but I'd rather keep it to around 4 of 5 ft,would ply sag? I don't mind putting a bit of effort in but I'm a noob.
Thanks
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11-07-2019, 20:17   #2
chillyspoon
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Throw up a picture there Macker; it'll be easier for folks to visualise what you're working with. Is the existing bed of 7x2s level?

Since you've got that bed of 7x2s - could you just take off a couple of millimetres with a handheld belt sander to expose fresh timber?

I recently replaced the top on mine but it was a difference situation - almost like for like - I got rid of an 18mm ply top (which hadn't remained flat) and replaced it with two panels of 18mm MR MDF laminated together:

https://www.chillyspoon.com/blog/201...r-my-workbench

That makes for a nice, stable top but would be difficult to fix if it was straight onto an existing bed of 7x2s that aren't level. In my case I was fitting on top of an open frame.
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12-07-2019, 07:51   #3
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Thanks for the link, I think it's too far gone to sand unless I turn the boards and I have a feeling I'll need to cut the bolts off but I'll throw up a few photos after work
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12-07-2019, 23:39   #4
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12-07-2019, 23:45   #5
elperello
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I recently re-topped a bench with some old kitchen worktop that was being thrown out by someone who put a new kitchen in.
Good strong stuff for most work and I have a section of heavy timber added in one area for rough work.
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12-07-2019, 23:45   #6
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13-07-2019, 10:46   #7
chillyspoon
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Ah yeah that bench top owes you nothing. I'd be inclined to replace the top completely but you could still hang on to your Dad's legacy in the process. Knock the rough edges off the boards and make a couple of really nice, rustic outdoor benches from them. Well preserved and maintained - they'll last for decades more without a bother. Another option would be to get a bit hipster, pain the frame black and get a toughened glass top made to go over the boards on nice brushed steel levelers (it'll be expensive) - and you'll have an industrial style dining table or (large!) coffee table on your hands.

I suppose your new top choice boils down to what you want to use the bench for and whether or not you want it to become another legacy that gets handed on further. Two or three layers of 18mm MR MDF will give you something cheap, flat and solid that'll give you several years of use but won't be a legacy piece or get in some good quality beams and remake what you're replacing for something that'll last longer but will probably be a bit more effort/expense and more difficult to keep flat.

I love that old bench top - it's got history!

Last edited by chillyspoon; 13-07-2019 at 10:49. Reason: Added another idea!
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19-07-2019, 13:51   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions, for the moment I will probably just box it in a couple of layers of ply, leave an overhang for clamping but I like the idea of a table or a bench so the boards will be there if I ever get the skills to make one or the other
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