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Old 11-06-07, 01:48 PM   #1
I_bRAD
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Masonite on a bench?

We're building a new bench at the shop and I was thinking of using masonite as the work surface (on top of chipboard for strength) It's much cheaper than finished plywood, it wipes off easy and it's easy to replace if it gets too worn down is my line of thinking...

Anyone ever tried this? Does it hold up well?

Thanks for any input or alternate ideas!
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Old 11-06-07, 02:03 PM   #2
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I've done it. Worked fine for my purposes.
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Old 11-06-07, 02:08 PM   #3
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Maybe I should mention that I wasn't doing bike work on my bench. I used it for wood working and building models. I think a masonite surface would be fine for bike work, however.
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Old 11-06-07, 02:14 PM   #4
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My main bench is covered in 1/8" masonite, with a strip of oak banding the edges. I have two pieces of plywood, then the masonite, so I've got a solid hammering surface (and an anvil on it), plus a reliable clamping surface, and I can nail stop-blocks and such to the edge of the bench temporarily if needed.
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Old 11-06-07, 02:56 PM   #5
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Yeah, the masonite will just be the working surface, it'll be appropriately supported underneath. As far as actual work goes... the bench is pretty lightly used, mostly for setting tools/parts down and such, but I was concerned if the prolonged exposure to grease and oil might cause the masonite to go mushy.
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Old 11-06-07, 04:18 PM   #6
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I like to use a finished kitchen counter top from the local hardware store. They are very tough(At least as a bikeshop bench) I also like the slight lip in the front to keep stuff from rolling off and the backstop built in.
For a really tough bench top I like 1/4 sheet steel. Really durable and you can clamp your ground to it and just move the work piece around.
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Old 11-06-07, 04:30 PM   #7
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One more thing: my work bench was near a window...lots of sunlight. After a couple of weeks, the surface color faded from the exposure. I was left with a few dark rectangles & circles where I kept various boxes and cans. Didn't bother me, but something to be aware of if you're work bench is going to be exposed to daily sunlight...you might want to treat the surface with something.
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Old 11-06-07, 04:31 PM   #8
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I like to use a finished kitchen counter top from the local hardware store. They are very tough(At least as a bikeshop bench) I also like the slight lip in the front to keep stuff from rolling off and the backstop built in.
For a really tough bench top I like 1/4 sheet steel. Really durable and you can clamp your ground to it and just move the work piece around.
That's what I bought for my work bench. The laminate is easy to clean also. And, since it's white, I can see parts on it easier.



I think I paid about $40 for an 8 foot one at Lowes.
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Old 11-06-07, 04:32 PM   #9
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One more thing: my work bench was near a window...lots of sunlight. After a couple of weeks, the surface color faded from the exposure. I was left with a few dark rectangles & circles where I kept various boxes and cans. Didn't bother me, but something to be aware of if you're work bench is going to be exposed to daily sunlight...you might want to treat the surface with something.
Photochemical decomposition of the lignin in the masonite. Chemistry in action
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Old 11-06-07, 05:14 PM   #10
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That's what I bought for my work bench. The laminate is easy to clean also. And, since it's white, I can see parts on it easier.



I think I paid about $40 for an 8 foot one at Lowes.
Unbelievably tidy. AAhhhhhh... the shining!
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Old 11-06-07, 05:19 PM   #11
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They have regular and tempered Masonite, (darker color and harder).You can also get melamine coated masonite.

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Old 11-06-07, 05:22 PM   #12
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Unbelievably tidy. AAhhhhhh... the shining!
It was new. Doesn't look like that now The Second Law is catching up to me
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Old 11-06-07, 05:23 PM   #13
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Masonite works, drop a rubber pad on top to keep small parts from running off.
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Old 11-06-07, 05:27 PM   #14
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It was new. Doesn't look like that now The Second Law is catching up to me
Thermodynamics? Man, there's no escaping entropy; it just rolls and rolls forward, inexorably, entropizing everything in its path. Soon enough we'll all be just thermal radiation.


Of course, if you weren't talking about the 2nd law of thermodynamics... this makes little sense to you.
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Old 11-06-07, 05:27 PM   #15
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I glued a piece of masonite to an old steel boiler room door (heavy) for use as a workbench top around 40 years ago. I'm still using that work bench today. As soon as I can get a feel for how long it's going to last I'll let you know.
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Old 11-06-07, 05:30 PM   #16
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Formica will give you a nice relatively oil impervious surface, though formica stains
easily showing it has some porosity. An alternative would be a couple of coats of
polyurethane on tempered masonite, which would make it equally impervious to
water and oil stains (relatively, not absolute), compared to the untreated tempered
masonite. Light colored surfaces easier to track wayward small parts on. Hard rug
squares or rubber pads are good for keeping ball bearings from disappearing.
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Old 11-06-07, 06:09 PM   #17
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I glued masonite to the plywood of my bench and banded it with birch 1x2 then gave it 5 coats of urathane.
Looks sweet but I always hate to scratch it.
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Old 11-06-07, 06:10 PM   #18
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My benches are topped with 2 layers of 3/4" chip board and a layer of 1/4" Masonite. I've gotten almost 29 years out of the older one and see no reason I won't get another 29. OK, one reason, I'd be 92. No finish was applied but it's held up to plenty of hot brazing flux and spilled lubricants.
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Old 11-06-07, 06:38 PM   #19
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Cool, thanks for the input everyone! Looks like it's gonna hold up well.

I like the other ideas too, but I don't think anything is going to beat a 4 x 8 sheet for $16!

Don't care about stains, it's a workbench, not a dining table!
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Old 11-06-07, 07:40 PM   #20
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Unbelievably tidy. AAhhhhhh... the shining!
Good Lord, yes, neat and tidy. I really need to clean up my garage/workshop. The plywood top of my workbench has not been seen for months.
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Old 11-06-07, 09:31 PM   #21
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That reminds me! My workbench has a top! I wonder what it looks like?

(It's made of MDF, which works really well, by the way. Oil's soaked in in some places to no real deleterious effect, but you could go over it with resin if you're concerned.)
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Old 11-06-07, 11:21 PM   #22
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I used masonite to build the benches of the shop I wrench at. It's definitely tough stuff, and I like it better than Formica as things don't tend to bounce as far. Apply plenty of extra stickers for further dampening characteristics. If the stickers get looking shabby, clean and apply more stickers.
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Old 11-06-07, 11:32 PM   #23
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16mm MDF works well.

cheers
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Old 11-06-07, 11:33 PM   #24
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Hard rug
squares or rubber pads are good for keeping ball bearings from disappearing.
I like the magnetic bowls

Cool idea for a work bench would be to have one of those magnetic bowls or a magnetic plane built into the bench itself
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Old 11-06-07, 11:35 PM   #25
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Is masonite similar to particle boards or what pegboards/hardboards are made out of?

Last edited by roadfix; 11-07-07 at 12:04 AM.
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