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  #1  
Old 09-22-2013, 10:50 AM
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SVanderkolff SVanderkolff is offline
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bench top recommendation

I need to replace the tops of my work benches. I have two that need replacing , they are both 8' long by 2' deep. Can anyone recommend a good nearly indestructible bench top. I have thought of having some stainless steel tops made but I am not sure thats a good idea. possible laminate some 2 X 4s together edgewise and give them 27 coats of varnish. Figured I should ask the collective wisdom of the folks here first before wasting my time and money.
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Steve


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Old 09-22-2013, 12:56 PM
Hurley Hurley is offline
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I have toyed with the idea of getting a plain (Formica I think) counter top like is used in kitchens. Not sure how indestructible it is though


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Old 09-22-2013, 01:13 PM
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SVanderkolff SVanderkolff is offline
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I usually end up cutting leather on the bench top which tends to destroy them pretty quick.


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Old 09-22-2013, 01:51 PM
Hurley Hurley is offline
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Metal?


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  #5  
Old 09-22-2013, 02:13 PM
jmccustomknives jmccustomknives is offline
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I used LVL's for my bench tops. You can usually get drops from lumber yards. They are used as support across load bearing walls. Makes very good bench tops.
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  #6  
Old 09-22-2013, 02:58 PM
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SVanderkolff SVanderkolff is offline
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What are LVL's?


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  #7  
Old 01-28-2014, 11:02 AM
jhiggins jhiggins is offline
 
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I have several types of bench-tops, Steve, but I dont cut anything directly on any of them. When I cut my leather, I used a piece of OSB, cut-to-size to fit on my bench. When done, I stash it behind one of the machines, out of the way.

I have one bench that is all-steel with a 1/2" aluminum plate top to it. This is my heavy-duty bench, which I do rough work, but also weld on it. I drill and tap holes in it to make jigs, and when I think there are too many, I weld them up and flatten it all out again. I love this bench, because it is versatile, but will take a beating very well.

Most of my other benches are just standard maple bench-tops.

My nephew is a plumber, and has a buddy that does granite counter-tops. He says I can get a cheap top through him, and its got my wheels spinning...

Hope this helps?
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:14 AM
jdale jdale is offline
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Someone i worked with last summer was friends with a quarry owner. He picked me up a 4' x 3' 1.5" slab of imported Italian marble for my leather working area. It makes a really nice counter top, but i would think its probably not the most cost efficient option.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:21 AM
Ray Roberts Ray Roberts is offline
 
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I used a fire-check door that I bought from a door supplier as damaged stock, the door was scuffed at the bottom and not fit for retail, I paid about ?20 for it.
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  #10  
Old 11-20-2014, 11:54 AM
drysideshooter drysideshooter is offline
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Take a look at "luxury vinyl flooring".

I am a developer and builder, so I get samples and pitches on a large variety of new products. A few years ago, mostly for commercial projects at that time, a product called luxury vinyl flooring came out. It had an amazing warranty, was very thick, self healing, and came in many different styles. We had a nice custom home project where the client was allergic to carpet and didn't want the maintenance of hardwood and didn't want too much tile. We used a luxury vinyl that looked like wood. Nobody could tell it wasn't really wood, including our cleaning person that called about what product to use to clean the "wood floor". It had texture, and once down actually felt like wood. I ended up putting some of the leftover flooring on a gunsmith bench and a reloading bench. You can beat the stuff with a hammer and put a dent in it. Come back an hour later and it's self healed and you can't tell anything was ever done. It's an amazingly resilient product. We have since used it in quite a few projects, both residential and commercial. In fact, many large national chains now spec luxury vinyl flooring for their facilities because of the longevity and lack of maintenance required.

It's available as sheet goods (rolls) as various shaped squares/rectangles that go down like tiles, and as luxury vinyl planks. You can get colors and a wide variety of patterns. We had a parade home this year with a luxury vinyl plank flooring and nobody could believe it wasn't really wood.

I am building a new shop, including a stand for a new Esteem grinder, and several of the work benches will use luxury vinyl on the tops. Easy to install. If you do the tile type, or planks, if one ever did get completely ruined, it's easy to take one piece out and replace it. If you cut it with a sharp knife you won't ever be able to see it.

Might be worth a look. Everyone that I have recommended it to for different types of benches have been really happy with it. You can end up with a bench that looks like it has a really nice wood top if you like.
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  #11  
Old 11-20-2014, 12:18 PM
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SVanderkolff SVanderkolff is offline
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Dryside
Can you tell me which manufacturer you use. I looked up the "luxury viynl siding and it seems everyone makes one and I am sure they are not all the same quality.
STeve


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  #12  
Old 11-20-2014, 05:27 PM
drysideshooter drysideshooter is offline
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Google luxury vinyl flooring, not siding. Shaw makes several varieties, Earthscspes has a line, DuChateau also has a nice selection.
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  #13  
Old 12-03-2014, 09:22 AM
Rocket_Jason Rocket_Jason is offline
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My bench tops are just plywood (2 stacked 3/4" pieces).

But, I was lucky to find two marble tops from old coffee tables. They are about 2' by 3'. Work great for cutting things on, flat sanding, checking the flatness of a tapered tang, etc.


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  #14  
Old 03-04-2015, 10:59 AM
Lonestarr Lonestarr is offline
 
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Location: Richland Washington
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Hi Stephen I am not a knife maker, but I have several different benches...I use several layers of cardboard under a heavy duty Naugahyde top cover when I do not want scratches on what I am assembling...I use plain steel when I weld or fit up objects....I like formica all around for leather and engraving...I, as well as some of the other posters, use a protective cover when doing knife cutting.....I have found during many years of shop work that one surface does fit all jobs.....hope this helps Bob
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