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Thread: Fire door workbench top?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    6

    Default Fire door workbench top?

    Hi folks, has anyone use a fire door as a workbench top? I have an old workbench frame which is solid enough and my uncle suggested it to me, he has one I can use. It's not solid wood apparently veneer with honeycomb core. It's heavy and seems fairly flat apart from a few slight bumps towards edges.
    I'm thinking it's a bad idea as I wanted something to hand plane tops/backs/sides to thickness and should maybe invest in a solid oak worktop, obviously these aren't cheap so I'd rather not but just thought I'd ask if anyone else has used a fire door.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    North Somerset UK
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    82

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    give it a try. I use three layers of 19mm chipboard screwed together for my bench top and works fine. If top gets damaged I can flip the top sheet and when that is done i just replace the top layer. Screws are well countersunk and you don't need many, just enough to stop top sheet moving about. Solid timer tops are nice to have but have their own issues with timber movement and damage.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Stockport, Cheshire.
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    I've rigged up a fire door as a bench after building a base for it. It's heavy and inside it's laminated with strips of solid wood. The bench is very stable, and doesn't move around when planing for example. The fire door idea came from Pete Howlett, who uses them himself. Go for it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    536

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    I used a door for a bench in my other house. Flat and I built RC airplanes onit.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    Thanks guys. Sounds like I should give it a go. My bench frame is for 4ftx2ft but the door is 2m wide, guess I'll add some support either side but as its not a solid wood door hopefully shouldn't be an issue.
    Other option is a kitchen worktop, plenty of these around reasonably cheap. Will try the door and take it from there. Cheers

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Wales, UK
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    Absolutely. Get a 45 minute rated solid core. You can purchase them in a variety of widths and lengths in the UK. I have used the hollow core and now use 8' x 3' x 1.75" 'blanks' bought from Huws Gray our local builders suppliers. These are solid core - essential for screwing threaded inserts into for sanding fixtures and the like.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Derbyshire, UK
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    Can I use a workbench top as a fire door though?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    UK
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    1,138

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris667 View Post
    Can I use a workbench top as a fire door though?
    If it's thick enough and weighs the same as an average car, sure you can. Many years ago I was offered very good money to fit 4 fire rated doors. Too good to refuse, except I found out why when they all had to be carried up 3 flights of stairs with each flight turning a corner. No longer my idea of fun.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
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    I think the key to making this work is to make sure the connection to the base is absolutely solid, and the base needs to be strong and inflexible. If you're going to be hand planing, you ideally want to have zero racking of the bench during that operation. It's also good in hand planing for the overall weight of the bench to be heavy enough so it doesn't shuffle along the floor or whatever. If the bench is strong enough but not heavy enough, you could potentially attach it to the floor or a wall. In instrument making, chances are you won't be using a lot of wood with big knots, grain reversals, etc. that require a lot planing force, or have to hog off a lot of wood from work pieces, so the requirements for bench strength and mass maybe aren't as great as in general hand tool woodworking.

    If it's a solid-core door, you have a decent chance that this will work. A non-solid core door might also work, depending on the location and dimensions of the solid parts in the door. Attaching the base to the hollow honeycomb part probably won't be satisfactory.

    It needs to be "flat enough" in the area you plan to use for planing so that it can be a flat reference surface. For ukuleles, the area that needs to be flat enough is not very large - a little bigger than the typical size of front, back, sides, neck, etc. For making furniture with larger parts, it's good to have a bench top that can be planed flat if it doesn't start out flat enough. This isn't going to be possible with a door.

    With all that said, I do have a work table with the top made from a light-duty hollow core door, and it has been a useful thing to have. I just don't use it for planing.

    EDIT: Just noticed that this is a zombie thread, and the OP has probably long since solved his workbench issues. But perhaps someone else will find the advice useful....
    Last edited by Uke-alot; 03-25-2021 at 07:32 AM.

  10. #10

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    A solid door should do the job just fine. There are lots of solutions when it comes to having a workplace. I've recently had to change my patio doors and I've decided to use old ones in order to build myself a long table where I can cut, paint or do anything related to my passion. I have bought the doors from https://doorsdirect2u.co.uk/product-...y/patio-doors/ and I am thinking of speaking with them about some tools because I want to upgrade my gear. I am so grateful for having a place where I can put everything since I am using a garage that's enormous.
    Last edited by StephenShort; 04-22-2021 at 02:13 AM.

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