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Steel bench top question

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by CG, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. I built myself a very sturdy bench awhile back that has a flush fitting laminate top over 3/4 inch particle board. It works pretty well, but I find myself having to be too careful when I want to put a good pounding on something, so Ive decided to go steel.

    My top surface is 97 inches x 26.5 inches right now. I would like to have my new steel top extend over the bench an extra five inches all the way around (front and one side). That way I can also use the bench to clamp stuff down if I find a need.

    I want to be able to pound away on it without marring, and clamp stuff on the edge without it bending. My question is what would be the minimum thickness you guys would consider using for a bench top like this?

  2. rcoffey
    Joined: Dec 13, 2007
    Posts: 161


    1/4 is ok 1/2 is better
  3. Mine is 3/4" plate.
  4. Willy301
    Joined: Nov 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,426


    1/4 might likely bend after some years of heavy abuse, 3/8 would be minimum I think, but 1/2 is definitely better. The more the bench weighs, the less it will resonate from the hammering. You will not likely keep it perfect, it will mar, and ding, but that is called character ...

  5. Wild Turkey
    Joined: Oct 17, 2005
    Posts: 903

    Wild Turkey

    5" overhang is too much -- I've got a little under 2" and it's plenty to clamp.

    1/4" is plenty. If you're going to pound on things make a separate "pound upon". I've got two -- one is a little over a square foot, 1" thick. The other is a piece of railroad rail 3' long.

    Not gonna dent either one:D

    Problem with a bench is that there's "play" in the middle and it'll bouce things on the bench.

    If you're positive you'll need to pound on bench make sure the braceing underneath is heavy.

    Have you priced steel lately? I bought some 1/4" for a project and 1/4" x 26"x96" was close to $150, and that was discounted as a "drop" from someone else's order. 1/2" would be more than twice that.:eek:
  6. My wife works for a manufacturing company that uses a lot of steel. I talked the the guy that runs the shop about getting some steel for a bench top. I told him I was worried about the price. He told me when I decided what I wanted to let him know he would make sure I got it for a very good price. We will see what a good price is =)
  7. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,270


    Something to consider. I made mine from 2 layers of 3/4 plywood because with 1 1/2" of wood when i hit something with a hammer it don't bounce back like it will on a steel top. The best top i have ever worked on are 1 1/2" rock maple and they are salty but you can find them in government auctions from time to time. I once got 6 of them from a post office machine shop sale, sad to say i let them get away from me.
  8. Bar Ditch
    Joined: Aug 1, 2011
    Posts: 272

    Bar Ditch
    from Tacoma

    1/2'' plate is what you want.
  9. Dale Fairfax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,585

    Dale Fairfax
    Member Emeritus

    My "regular" bench has 1 1/2" of plywood for a top-covered with 11 ga. steel. Easy to clean; stands up to considerable abuse. I keep a piece of 1"' plate on it for small "hammer" jobs. I have a separate dedicated welding bench with a 1/2" steel top. It's drilled & tapped 1/2-13 on 12" centers so I can clamp things down with toe clamps and don't have to be close to the edge. I can beat the piss out of anout anything on it and not worry about hurting it.
  10. harley man
    Joined: Jan 24, 2009
    Posts: 152

    harley man

    1/4 inch will be good any more than that will be better yet. To a point, anymore than a 1/2 inch might be a waste of money.

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