Tim S.

Beginner Designing a Long Workbench/Countertop

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I have a room in a finished basement which I'm beginning to turn into an office/makerspace/work area.  Along the full length of one wall, I'd like to build a long workbench.  This would be 12.5' (150") long, and 30" deep.  I would like it to look good, but be functional as an interior workspace.  This doesn't have to be dining room table quality, but I also don't want it to just be 2x4s thrown together like a garage workspace.

I was assuming I would frame up the bench first -- Install 2x4's along the 3 walls for support.  Connect with a beam/s across the front, and studs connecting the two long beams at intervals.  (Sorry, I don't know the right terminology here)

I know this is a long table, and I would need support in the middle.  I am not planning on having any cabinetry underneath.  At what intervals would I need to place additional legs/supports?  Instead of legs going straight to the floor, I was thinking of mounting a beam at an angle so it's connected back the wall for support.  

I have yet to figure out what I want for the countertop.

This is the first type of project like this for me, although I have done other woodworking projects before.  Am I on the right track?  Are there any blog posts or articles online that I should be reading to learn more about this type of project?

Thanks for any ideas you have.

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For a 12.5 ft span, I would probably go with 4 supports. One at each end and 2 evenly spaced between. You could build them from 2x4, like triangular trusses, installed with one side against the wall, so the hypotenuse forms the angled brace you want.

A good top would be 2 layers of ply, with a hardwood edging, perhaps lipped to accept a 'sacrificial' layer of 1/8" hardboard on top. When that gets beat up, just replace that layer.

Now, if you describe the sort of work you plan to do, you may get some very different suggestions!

:D

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I was going to say the support separation will depend on the top. A single sheet of 3/4" ply I'd go every 16". A top that is 12.5' long would be longer than a single sheet of plywood so account for the seam and make sure the seam location has support.

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Thanks for these ideas. I like the idea of extra support at the seam. 

Highlander, this is going to be somewhat of a catch-all space.  Doing electronics/soldering, arts/crafts projects with kids, legos, puzzles, and working from home (all computer work).  I'm open to any suggestions for an appropriate top!

Edit: I'll also add that the wall it's on is going to be a pallet wood wall. So as much as I love the idea of a butcher block/wood finish on the counter, I also don't want clashing wood patterns.

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x2 I would use laminate as well.  I use it quite a bit in my shop and wtnhighlander is right about the light color if you want to mark on it. I have white for my router table  and I mark on it quite often to remember fence settings. Its also great for glue becuase it pops right off

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My office desk is 125" long x 50" wide. The top is made of 2 pieces of kitchen counter top back to back and dowelled together, so each piece is the full 125" length. The material is some kind of glorified chipboard about 1" thick with a laminate cover on top. Surprisingly heavy. It is supported on tubular steel legs but there are no legs along the front edge where I sit. There are 6 legs along the back edge, 6 along the joint (straddling & supporting both pieces of the top) and a leg near each corner on the front edge. There is no rail under the front edge. In the middle of the length, going from the back to 6" shy of the front edge, I have a 2"x2" rail screwed to the underside of the top. In terms of support this might be similar to you supporting your benchtop on the front & side walls only with no supports under the front edge.

As an office desk supporting typical office loads it is fine. I normally have it loaded with lots of computers & other electronics and an embarrassing amount of general junk. I have no problems with its strength, even if I stand on it to change light bulbs. It is not sturdy enough for woodworking but for the type of work you describe it would be fine. Pushing down hard on the middle of the front edge I can deflect it by 1/4" or 3/8" but in normal use it doesn't noticeably flex. Your bench will be a bit longer than my desk but I think all I would do differently is add one or 2 extra front-back rails on the under side.

I second the suggestion for a light color for the top. My woodworking workbench top is black because I re-purposed some used material so had no choice about color. It is about the worst color for a bench. I hate it.

 

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Thank you for the expertise!  This gives me a lot to work with, and I've got a much better idea about supports now.  Sounds like laminate is definitely the way to go.

Time to put this into CAD.

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4 hours ago, Tim S. said:

Thank you for the expertise!  This gives me a lot to work with, and I've got a much better idea about supports now.  Sounds like laminate is definitely the way to go.

Time to put this into CAD.

Glad we could help, BTW welcome to the forum!

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