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Old 9th December 2011, 02:12 AM   #1
Lavcat is offline Lavcat  United States
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Default Workbench Top

I plan to get a new workbench top primarily for soldering and metalwork. As of now I am thinking to use maple butcher block 60"x30"x2.25". This Bench Tops & Components | Tops | Square Edge Work Bench Top - Maple 60" W x 30" D x 2-1/4" Thick | 601782 - GlobalIndustrial.com or something like it. Is there any reason I should consider a different material or depth?

I figure an ESD surface would be great for soldering but not so good for metalwork.

As always suggestions and advice welcome.
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Old 9th December 2011, 03:28 AM   #2
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You can De-static wood workbench surfaces by first paste waxing to seal wood then misting with a fine soap film like 409 or even the cheap spray cleaner from a dollar store, as long as you have a grounded plate along an edge for the conductive film to ferry any charges to.
They make conductive formica type laminates that would hold up fair to metal work, but not like maple. The conductive laminates are quite expensive. I'd go with the soap film. To see just how well it works try dragging your finger over the faceplate of an old analog meter and see how static affects the needle, then try the same after letting a soap film dry on it.
Doc
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Old 9th December 2011, 07:14 AM   #3
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Maybe it's just tradition and nostalgia, but it seems to me that the maple butcher block would be a good choice for an all-around, general purpose workbench top.
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Old 9th December 2011, 07:45 AM   #4
dhaen is offline dhaen  Europe
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Default Linoleum covering

The original flooring material, not the modern replacement polyvinyl chloride substitute.
It's durable; heat resistant; does not create static by friction, though I would not consider it as good as a proper ESD mat.
Choose a minimal pattern, otherwise it can be hard to see small parts on the surface.
The only down side it that the edges can crack, so it's best to protect them with a wood surround.

My present covering has been in almost daily use for about 6 years now. Both optical and non-optical mice work well.
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Old 9th December 2011, 03:47 PM   #5
Lavcat is offline Lavcat  United States
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What I've done in the past, when I had a company, is to put ESD mats down on top of wood surfaces. That is what I'd probably do again if I work with ESD sensitive devices. But at the moment I have neither an ESD mat nor any projects that need it. Maybe by the end of next year!
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Old 15th December 2011, 10:18 PM   #6
Lavcat is offline Lavcat  United States
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Today I ordered the workbench top that I linked above. The cost of the shipping was almost as much as the cost of the top itself! Plus I will have to figure a way to get it off the truck myself. Hope it's nice when I finally get it in place.
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Old 18th December 2011, 05:12 AM   #7
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Perhaps I should have mentioned earlier that most kitchen cabinet suppliers carry laminated counter top at very reasonable rates. Don't know about now but a decade ago -when I last priced it- it was as cheap as $10 a linear foot for normal counter depth.
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Old 18th December 2011, 07:46 AM   #8
Lavcat is offline Lavcat  United States
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The built in counters in my kitchen are 24 inches deep. I wanted something deeper (also thicker) for a workbench. I have some nice oak butcher block on a kitchen island but the local company that supplied it is no longer in business.
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Old 18th December 2011, 01:01 PM   #9
poynton is offline poynton  United Kingdom
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White laminated kitchen worktop !

Cheap and you can see stuff on top easily.



Andy

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Old 20th December 2011, 01:35 PM   #10
cliffyk is offline cliffyk  United States
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I had the counter tops made by a local kitchen cabinet maker, using black conductive "Formica", one 30" x 15.5 feet plus a smaller 30" x 48" were $850. Far from cheap however as this is likely that last shop I'll ever put together I decided to do it right...
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