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Old 12-13-2007, 02:34 AM
saramos's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Northridge, CA
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Default RE: Buying steel for workbench?

Do a search of the phone book or online directory and try and find a metal supplier. If you can't find one, look for a metal fabricator and ask them for a source (they may even be able to supply you. What you are looking for is cold rolled steel. You do not want stainless and you do not want steel with a rust coat. The metal supplier near my house sold the steel by the sheet. One 4' x 10' sheet of 16 Gage cold rolled steel with one cut (I had them cut a 4' x 8' piece and a 2' x 4' piece) for about $100.

Teachu2 is correct about the support. I built a table which uses some steel shelving units for the base and a top make kind of like a hollow core door. It is sheeted on both sides with 3/4" MDF and has an internal frame made of 2" x 2" in a 2' grid. This is all banded with 1' X 6" pine that is set 1/16" higher than the top sheet of MDF. This way, the steel sits flush with the sides.

Cold rolled steel will rust, so you will need to protect and maintain it. What I do is wax the steel. I prefer this to paint because it won't scratch like paint will, and if any CA or epoxy gets on it, it can be simply scraped off. If rust spots develop, which they will, I use fine 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper and re-wax. After a build, I'll do a good cleaning with solvents, sand out any rust, and re-wax, then it's good to go.

I took the time to scribe a 1" grid on mine. Sometimes it's nice, but it was a lot of tedious work.

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