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work bench surface recommendation please

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Cheryl Smith

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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:09 am

work bench surface recommendation please

would someone recommend a work bench surface please to stick to my mdf board...no glass as I dont like it, but something which keeps clean and will last ....
thank you
:D
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Dave Harrison

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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:37 am

Morning Cheryl. . I had 6mm polypropylene sheet on my old bench top. I think it comes in two surface finishes, I had the smooth one. (its the same stuff they make food chopping boards from)

Its solvent resistant and very easy to keep clean. It doesn't blunt blades as quick as the harder surfaces however it does score. (more of a problem if you use a keencut / cutting bar on your bench )

I would get 6 to 12 months out of one side before having to flip it over and start using the other side.

I Think I got mine from amari...


Having just moved into a new unit and made 2 two benches, I am currently cutting on the MDF. This time round I was thinking of using Stainless steel sheets as a cutting surface.
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DavidRogers

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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:43 am

Big fan of polypropylene.

3mm sheets (8x4) for about £30 each.

get around a year per side.

non-stick, doesn't blunt blades / snap tips. Not had any issues keeping it clean either.

Dave
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Philip Houston

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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:55 am

Hi Cheryl!
I've always used plate glass on top of a light surface. It's also my weeding area with a florescent strip light above it. (under a handy shelf )
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Cheryl Smith

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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:21 am

Thanks chaps,
as my production room is the living room in our house, at weekends I take the bench top off the trestles and lean up against a bookcase, so glass is out of the question as too heavy along with the mdf...I needed a surface as you are doing Dave, been using the mdf for cutting on, but ive found it too dusty now and bits are getting everywhere, no good for the laminating side of things...
I like the polypropylene idea, cheap clean, and at 3mm sheet, has to be light...no premature blunting of blades either...
Ill have a ring around for a supplier....many thanks again
Cheryl
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Cheryl Smith

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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:22 am

Dave Harrison wrote: This time round I was thinking of using Stainless steel sheets as a cutting surface.

why does the thought of this put my teeth on edge!!
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Mike Grant

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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:53 am

I have an old dibond sign on my worktop but don't cut on it, that's what off-cuts of foam pvc are for. I have one at 8' x 1' and a few smaller ones. Easy to move around and takes up very little storage. The long one hangs underneath the workbench on 3 screws.
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Steve Morgan

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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:46 am

I'm a fan of Polypropylene, as David says it'll last for at least a year on each side and the saving on blades alone makes it worthwhilw.It's not affected by water/cleaners and it's pretty lightweight when you need to move it
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Martin Pearson

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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:48 pm

Why do people keep mentioning the saving on blades? Yes glass will blunt blades quicker but they don't need to be at their best for trimming graphics on the bench.
I used the same scalpel for trimming on the bench all the time so no need to keep changing the blade because it wasn't sharp enough to trim vinyl on a job.
The glass would have lasted me a lifetime so if polypropylene is £30 a sheet & lasts 2 years I would have had to spend more than an extra £15 a year on blades which I doubt I ever did.

Sorry Cheryl, I know glass is no good for you :oops:
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Simon Worrall

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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:22 pm

Steve Morgan wrote:I'm a fan of Polypropylene, as David says it'll last for at least a year on each side and the saving on blades alone makes it worthwhilw.It's not affected by water/cleaners and it's pretty lightweight when you need to move it


http://www.salareinc.com/polypropylene_fans.asp

:wink:
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Ewan Chrystal

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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:31 pm

whats wrong with 3mm foam board? i was thinking about using that
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Martin Pearson

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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:35 pm

marks very easily ewan & after it has been used a couple of times the blade tends to get caught in an old cut line & doesn't go where you want it to lol.
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Ewan Chrystal

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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:50 pm

CANCEL THAT ORDER!!! Lol
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Simon Worrall

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Post Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:51 am

I have always used glass. Toughened, 10mm.
I have been cutting into it for years, and walking on it.
Its easy to keep clean, doesn't damage the work, you can slide canvasses face down on it without any damage. You can spray paint or glue on it and then scrape it off with a blade
.
For my desks and computer tables I use 6mm cork floor tiles without varnish. Feels warm and comfortable. And you can cut on it quite a few times over the same spot without seeing any cut marks. When it gets too bad just run a random orbital sander over it and it comes up good as new. This too doesn't harm the work.
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Dave Harrison

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Post Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:52 pm

slightly off topic but 3m 3647 floor laminate makes a good mouse matt... thinking of laminating my computer desk ! :D
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Cheryl Smith

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Post Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:47 pm

Dave Harrison wrote:slightly off topic but 3m 3647 floor laminate makes a good mouse matt... thinking of laminating my computer desk ! :D

I dont know if its off topic Dave....but its jogged my memory....did someone once mention about good quality lino backing being like a self healing mat.....maybe that would be a consideration....or was I imagining it?
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Cheryl Smith

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Post Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:55 pm

Simon Worrall wrote:
Steve Morgan wrote:I'm a fan of Polypropylene, as David says it'll last for at least a year on each side and the saving on blades alone makes it worthwhilw.It's not affected by water/cleaners and it's pretty lightweight when you need to move it


http://www.salareinc.com/polypropylene_fans.asp

:wink:
:o :roll:
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Neil Fox

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Post Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:41 pm

I purchased a large cutting mat, 2 meters x 1 meter. I have had it for 6 years now and it is still fine.
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Cheryl Smith

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Post Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:54 am

thanks Steve...would make sense if I never had to replace a cutting mat...wonder where I can get one that size... :-?
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Ian Johnston

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Post Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:14 am

Cheryl Smith wrote:
Dave Harrison wrote:slightly off topic but 3m 3647 floor laminate makes a good mouse matt... thinking of laminating my computer desk ! :D

I dont know if its off topic Dave....but its jogged my memory....did someone once mention about good quality lino backing being like a self healing mat.....maybe that would be a consideration....or was I imagining it?


your not losing your marble yet Cheryl :D
that's what i recommend, get an off cut non slip Linoleum Flooring, use the back of it,
Harry Cleary will vouch for it also,
only had to change once in 15yrs :D
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James Martin

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Post Mon May 27, 2013 4:06 pm

Just got some 10mm thick flooring from a customer and first impressions are good.
Been cutting on it and it barely shows the marks, and its heavy, just sits there without moving.
It's called 'Blade Runner' flooring and its used in gyms, locker rooms, ice-rinks and the likes.
Think it's about 35 quid a linear metre which is better than 250 for 10 mm toughend glass which would have been first choice.
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Cheryl Smith

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Post Tue May 28, 2013 8:58 am

got a sheet of 3mm Polypropylene..£30 hopefully it will last for years.... :)
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Michael E Jones

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Post Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:44 pm

Hi all

We've just joined the forum as we're just about to move into some new premises (the dining room just couldn't take it anymore). An invaluable source of information!

We've been investigating tops for some new workbenches and came across this thread (apologies for picking it back up again).

I just wondered if anyone can recommend where you'd be able to pick up a sheet of polypropylene (this appears to fit our requirements)? We're looking for something to cover an area about 2.4m long by 1.5m wide.

Any thoughts would be great. I've started with 'Google' however would be helpful if someone has a particular recommendation.

Thanks in advance.

Mike
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Harry Cleary

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Post Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:45 pm

These people stock it in Ireland. Not sure about UK branches.
http://www.365plastics.com/
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Adrian Hewson

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Post Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:30 pm

Cutting mats

We have four tables with 6mm toughened glass

One table with

http://www.signgeer.com/product/-off-th ... g-mats-369

and one table with

http://www.signgeer.com/product/-signge ... ng-mat-364

Different fitters and different jobs dictate
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Ewan Chrystal

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Post Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:05 am

Hi Adrian. What is the difference between the two signgeer mats?
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Adrian Hewson

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Post Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:15 am

Mats

Hi Ewan

The first one is softer and the prints stick a bit, the second one is harder and the prints do not stick but move freely.

The guys use them for different jobs.

But to be fair most of them prefer the glass
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Gary Birch

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Post Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:49 am

Re: Mats

Adrian Hewson wrote:

But to be fair most of them prefer the glass


I have to agree, having tried all 3 options, glass is so much better. We are fortunate that we have a glass merchant 50 yards away. We had a toughened 6mm sheet of glass last year and it was only £140 + VAT.
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Vic Adair

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Post Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:51 pm

Have to agree with adrian on the:

http://www.signgeer.com/product/-signge ... ng-mat-364

tried a sample of the clear one and didn't like it much. If i remember, it didn't heal the same and the knife tended to cut through it.

Never used Hardened Glass, would be nice to try that especially with a light under it as i'm finding it harder to see what i'm weeding lately :)
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Hugh Potter

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Post Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:02 pm

Mine is 12ft x 3ft in 6mm toughened glass, white vinyl applied to the underside - vinyl under is important to both diffuse the lights below, and for holding it together when you break one!

to be fair, when I broke one panel it wasn't when I dropped a 1lb lump hammer on it, not when I dropped a jigsaw from a shelf onto it, and not even when I sat my 15 stone on it, nope.. it broke when I slid a ruler along the thin gap at the front of the bench and clipped the corner of the next sheet... sounded like a gun going off!!

It does blunt blades fairly quickly but my current panels are 8 & 5 yrs old respectively, both cost around £50+vat each.

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