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Old 10-21-2011, 09:18 PM
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Default A Pegboard Workbench Top

So the other day I received an e-mail asking if it is feasible to make a pegboard top and dogs to fit it. Of course it is. This thread is a spin off from my thread on Make Your Own MFT Top. I will show how to make a MFT type top using pegboard. No 20 mm holes, just pegboard and its existing holes. The objective is to keep the cost as low as possible and use easy to find parts. I checked Home Depot and Lowes to be sure I'm using parts that are readily available.

pegboard-workbench-top-pegboard-assy-cut2.jpg


I decided I wanted a 48" x 26" top. My primary concern was I only wanted to buy 1 sheet of pegboard. Next consideration is I wanted it to fit on top of my home made MFT. I will have enough pegboard left to make another top about 48" x 21".

Here is what I need. It will be explained as I go along so you can determine what and how much you need.
  • 1 - pegboard 96" x 48"
  • 9 - 1/2" square dowels, 3 feet long (standard length it is sold in)
  • 1 - 8 oz bottle TiteBond glue. No need to buy Titebond 2 or 3, you don't want this top to be getting wet.
  • 4 - 1/4-20 (or 6 mm) bolt 3 1/2" long, threaded only the first inch. Cheapest ones you can find.
  • 2 - 2 x 4, 96" long, for making an optional base.

If you don't have many clamps you may want to buy 25-30 of the following:
  • 1/4-20 bolts, 1 1/2 " long
  • 1/4-20 nuts
  • 1/4" Fender washers (these are wider than a normal washer, they should be around 1.25" diameter).

First we need pegboard. Don't get the real cheap stuff that is only 1/8" thick, get the 3/16" thick one. Make sure the board is not warped. My first one was slightly warped and after cutting it in half, I couldn't get holes to line up. Check the holes spacing and be sure it is consistent and make sure the holes look clean. It might not hurt to check if the holes are 1/4" or 6 mm (.236"). I assumed all the sheets had 1/4" holes but it looks like the Chinese can't figure out how to make 1/4" holes. If your holes are 6 mm, try to use 6 mm hardware instead of 1/4". The 1/4" bolts and thread will ruin your holes. I had the store cut my pegboard sheet in half so it is easier to handle. If you have the store cut yours, put a mark near that cut so you identify it later when trying to align the holes.

First problem - a track saw is designed to have the saw blade cut into the table top by 1/8 to 1/4 inch. No matter how much you think you can keep it at 1/8 inch, it won't happen and any deeper and you have cut through the pegboard. So we need to thicken the top. I experimented with 2 layers of pegboard but decided it still wasn't thick enough. I sandwiched strips of 1/4" plywood between the pegboards but it isn't quite enough space. So I decided on 1/2" square dowels. It can be found with dowel rods in the moulding section. To keep the pegboard from sagging, the square dowels should be placed every 6" and parallel to where the saw will be cutting.

Now let's head home and get to work.
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: A Pegboard Workbench Top

Assembling the Pegboard

pegboard-workbench-top-rail-peg-dogs.jpg

Cut the heads off of the 4 bolts that are 3 1/2" long. Sand and round over the cut end. A small belt sander turned upside down or on its side works good for this. These bolts will be used to help align the top and can be used as dogs afterwards.

pegboard-workbench-top-align-top-bottom.jpg

Lay your pegboard on a work table (or floor or whatever) and cut to approximate size. Notice one face is smooth and one is rough. The smooth face will be placed outside and the rough side will face each other when assembled. Stack the pegboards on your work table this way. Use the bolts from above in each of the corners and test the hole alignment (the long bolts should be standing straight up and not angled, use a small machinist square to check). Eyeball the rest of the holes. It may be necessary to rotate one of the pegboards to get all of the holes to line up. Once you are happy with it, relocate the alignment bolts inward and out of your way. Cut the pegboards to final size while stacked and aligned. I like to have my final cuts go right through a row of holes, this assures they are straight and square. Now remove the top pegboard and set it aside, noting how to re-align it later.

Now we will glue our 1/2" square dowels in place. Lightly sand the rough face of the pegboard on the table so it will take the glue better. Place the dowels around the perimeter and cut to size as needed. Now add the interior pieces. I counted 6 columns of holes and the add a square dowel to go between the 6th and 7th column. Continue until your are close to the center and then go to the other end and do the same. Now try to equally space the dowels. Once you are happy, mark where the dowels will go so you know where to glue later. I started by glueing the outside frame first. Practice how to use the glue sparingly. Right now you can clean up any squeeze-out but when you glue the top pegboard on, you won't be able to clean up. By the time everything is glued to the bottom layer, you should have it down pretty good. I chose to clamp about every 6 inches. I'm sure most people will say you need the clamps closer together but we don't need much strength from the glue.

pegboard-workbench-top-pegboard-glueup1.jpg

If you don't have a bunch of clamps, do as many dowels as you can. Allow 2 hours for the glue to dry and do more. If you few or no clamps, you can use the bolts and fender washers to apply pressure and act as your clamps. Buy an extra square dowel and cut it into 1.5 inch pieces. Use these on the opposite side of the washer from the dowel being glued. I put the bolts at the junction of where the cross dowels will be going. This way each bolt can hold the outside frame and the end of the cross frame.

I used some concrete blocks and an old radio transformer to hold down the center section while the glue is drying. Much easier than a bunch more clamps or bolts. While your waiting, mark on the outer frame where all your cross frame sections are. Not only will it help you know where to clamp when the top is on but it will keep you from placing the saw kerf on top of a cross frame member.

pegboard-workbench-top-pegboard-glueup2.jpg

Allow at least 2 hours for the glue to dry. After that apply to the top of the dowels and apply the top pegboard. Use your long bolts to align the top and then clamp the pegboard. I highly recommend using bolts here so you know the top is staying aligned. Allow it to dry overnight.

Your top is now done and if you want, you can stop here. However I recommend making a base for it.

Last edited by Qwas; 10-21-2011 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: A Pegboard Workbench Top

Making the Base


pegboard-workbench-top-base.jpg


The base provides two functions, it raises the top off the work area so the dogs and Rail Dogs can go through the holes in both layers and it provides a reminder of how deep to adjust the plunge saw to. The base can be as simple as you want or as complex as you want. The base is simply a box to sit the top on. If you need to practice any box making skills, here is your chance. You can do a lap joint (but the boards against one another), a miter joint, drawer lock joint, or even dovetails. I chose a simple 2x4 construction with miter joints. My miters didn't turn out very well so I used screws to hold it together. Using a router, I put a 3/8" deep lip on the side of the 2x4. This allows the pegboard top to sit 1/2" taller than the base, plenty of saw blade depth. Next, I did a couple of passes and went 3/4" to allow for plenty of "ledge" for the pegboard top to sit on. A 1/4" ledge should work fine but you might want to do at least 1/2", entirely your own call and how much space you have to your first row of holes. The 2 x 4 can have cut outs so you can reach under the top. I don't know of a reason for doing this but it can be a spot for the artistic side of you to come out. You might make a cut out for a carrying handle. You can paint or finish the base also. I chose not to. A finished base might make you less apt to saw into it.

pegboard-workbench-top-pegboard-assembly.jpg

Another option instead of a base is to put feet on it. The feet only need to be 2 or 3" long. It can be as a simple as a small piece of lumber to a sofa or dresser leg.

Last edited by Qwas; 10-21-2011 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: A Pegboard Workbench Top

The Final Product

pegboard-workbench-top-pegboard-assy-cut.jpg

pegboard-workbench-top-straight-edge.jpg

Here is the final assembly, prepared to cut. The cut came out as accurate as you would expect. The second picture shows a different type of saw rail or straight edge. This straight edge / clamp has a jig for saws and routers. With all the jigs coming out for circular saws, this method should work with any of them. I put black T-nuts on top of the Rail Dogs so they would show up a little better. You could do the same thing with any guide or straight edge or the Festool guide rail (no need to use the groove under the rail).

Here are some bench dog ideas: 1/4" (or 6 mm) bolts, bolts with washers (use 2+ washers to increase thickness), drill bits, shelf pins, screwdriver shaft, golf tees, 1/4" toilet screws (be sure it is the 1/4" size and it still may need a small amount sanded off the sides). Anyone remember them dogs that came with the Jet Parallel Clamps and holders? 6 mm setscrew in them, another fine option if you have the 6 mm holes.

If you use bolts, don't force the threaded bolt in the hole, thread the bolts on. Forcing them by pushing them down will ruin your holes. The sharp thread will tear the board around the hole.

So how about your comments, and ideas. I still have enough pegboard to make another one but I'm waiting to see what other ideas come up. At least post a picture and show us your pegboard top.

Last edited by Qwas; 10-21-2011 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:29 PM
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Default Re: A Pegboard Workbench Top

Steve,

Great design! I just bought a domino and have a flat workbench and realized what a pain it was going to be to clamp individual pieces down to make mortices. Having blown my budget for a while, I can't afford the MFT. In looking at your design I have two questions:

What are the holes in the outside edges for in the square dowels?

For cross cuts, are you cutting completely through the top layer of peg board? Many thanks for sharing.

John
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Old 10-23-2011, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: A Pegboard Workbench Top

Thanks. I was wondering what holes in the square dowels and then it hit me, Those are magic marker dots so I know where the cross members. It came in handy when assembling the top pegboard but is also useful to make sure you don't line up the saw with the cross members.

Yes, I'm cutting completely through the top pegboard.

I bought the pegboard, 10 dowels, and 2 of the 2x4s for around $40. That shouldn't hurt the budget too bad. Usually the big box stores have some precut pegboard and you might be able to save some money buying them.

If you build one, show us your pictures. And to the forum.
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Old 10-24-2011, 03:16 AM
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Default Re: A Pegboard Workbench Top

Will do and thanks for the feedback. Can't wait to build one to get better use of the new domino. Showed it to a buddy today and he was pea green with envy (pun intended)!
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:42 PM
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Default Re: A Pegboard Workbench Top

Steve,

I like it. I used your dogs (and rail dogs) and an MFT top to make a homemade MFT. I use bench cookies as my legs.

My only suggestion for the pegboard MFT is to line up two of the 1/2" square dowels so that one sits directly under the edge of the rail and the other sits 3/32" away, with the blade going between them. Just a thought to eliminate tear out.

Steve
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:55 PM
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Default Re: A Pegboard Workbench Top

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJSteve View Post
Steve,

I like it. I used your dogs (and rail dogs) and an MFT top to make a homemade MFT. I use bench cookies as my legs.

My only suggestion for the pegboard MFT is to line up two of the 1/2" square dowels so that one sits directly under the edge of the rail and the other sits 3/32" away, with the blade going between them. Just a thought to eliminate tear out.

Steve
Great thought!
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: A Pegboard Workbench Top

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJSteve View Post
Steve,

I like it. I used your dogs (and rail dogs) and an MFT top to make a homemade MFT. I use bench cookies as my legs.

My only suggestion for the pegboard MFT is to line up two of the 1/2" square dowels so that one sits directly under the edge of the rail and the other sits 3/32" away, with the blade going between them. Just a thought to eliminate tear out.

Steve
Sure, now you tell me, after it's assembled. . It's a good idea that I will use on the next one I make.
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