There are many types of work bench tops available on the market today. You can find tops that are made of metal, ceramic, hardwood and particle board. Each of these surfaces has their specific characteristics and functions. When you are looking for a workbench, the proper work bench top intended to accommodate your personal project requirements will make your hobby, leisure or work time easier.
Solid Wood Work Bench Tops
Solid Wood is a popular choice when looking for a versatile top for their workbench. Wood is forgiving of many abuses and can handle most stress and pressure of weight. Choosing a depth of the wood will also give you a variety of options for strength. If you wish to install a heavy duty vise on your workbench it is best if you choose a thicker board, an inch thick or more. Solid wood holds up to many different things.
Plywood Work Bench Tops
Plywood is also a very strong and versatile choice for workbench tops. With plywood you have a choice of widths and because of the way that it is constructed it is a great choice for any vise work. You can modify a plywood work bench top to accommodate tools being set in the back of it for easy access, or you can attach small bins to hold small hand tools and fasteners.
Ceramic Work Bench Tops
Not as highly recommended, a ceramic work bench top would be good if working with heat. Ceramic can withstand a lot of heat and insulates rather than transfers the heat to other things. If your hobby is wood burning or soldering projects then a ceramic work bench top would be a great option. You won't have to worry about fire accidents if a heat resistant and fireproof ceramic work bench top is used.
Particle Board Work Bench Tops
Particle board is not a strong choice for a work bench top. When you wish to keep costs down in the construction of your work bench then particle board is an option. It is very inexpensive. Particle board crumbles and is not very strong. It is essentially sawdust and wood particles compressed into board shape with a glue-like adhesive. It is difficult to drill holes in the surface to mount things and if you try to attach a vise to it you will possibly find that you will have problems using it. A heavy vise would not work at all because the tensile strength of the wood would not handle the stress. Once the veneer is compromised the integrity of the wood is lost.
Metal Work Bench Tops
Metal is a great medium for workbench tops. It does not burn and is resilient. Some of the best purposes for a metal workbench top would be in projects that involved plastics or soft woods. If the metal workbench top is exposed to a lot of pressure or impact it will ding and dimple which does not make for a smooth work surface. It is also difficult to attach a heavy duty vise to a metal workbench top. Of course the depth of the metal being used is a factor, a thicker metal surface is less likely to dimple with an impact.