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Anyone use granite as a workbench material in their shop?

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  • Anyone use granite as a workbench material in their shop?

    I'm not talking about surface plates, I'm talking about actual work bench tops. I was given a couple pieces of 3/4" black granite counter tops, somewhere in the range of 4'x3' or so. I have no use for them in the house, so I was thinking about doing some custom built in workbenches in my garage and adhering them to the tops to have "clean" benches that can be easily wiped down for clean work, rather than using my wooden top benches which always have grease and other crap on them.

    Can anyone think of any downsides to this?

  • #2
    Downsides? I suppose it depends on what the actual use will be.
    Sounds to me like it would make a very nice clean bench.

    The only downsides I can think of are:
    Weight (could also be a plus)
    Sharp edges (these can be rounded off)
    It could crack if something really heavy was dropped on it.

    I would just make sure that they were fully supported by a 3/4" piece of plywood.

    Mitch

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    • #3
      Jimmer12;
      Sounds like a sweet find. Granite is relativaly soft as far as rock goes so that should explain a lot. Especially for as thin as it is. Also shock, dropping heavy things, center punching, large forces, small impact area, not good. Makes big cracks and fissures. Exercise a little care and it will be nice. You can cut to fit with an abrasive blade on a skilsaw. Set with tile adhesive. You can get the blades at the lumber yard. Now for the second piece--send to 800 Solar Lane, Yakima WA.
      From the State of Lemmings, where three counties out of twenty-seven call the shots.

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      • #4
        They would be first cousin to a REAL surface plate when you are finished!
        This will probably start a war, but when I toured Rock of Ages quarry and finishing plant in Barre Vermont, (New Hampshire? I dunno, they are close together,) I asked about their surface plates. Their engineer confirmed that they are ground on the same finishing line as the tombstones. The only difference is they spend a lot of time measuring and recording on a certificate exactly how flat they are. All this to say that the one before a surface plate and the one after were probably headstones, without certificates, but they all were flat.
        Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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        • #5
          Interesting to hear you say that. I have the sink cut out from the new granite counter tops I just had installed. Double sinks, so the cut out is about 24"x18" and the counter is 1.25" thick. I am very tempted to bring in that cutout to work and see if I can get someone in inspection to check it on the CMM and tell me how it compares to a certified surface plate.

          Originally posted by Duffy View Post
          They would be first cousin to a REAL surface plate when you are finished!
          This will probably start a war, but when I toured Rock of Ages quarry and finishing plant in Barre Vermont, (New Hampshire? I dunno, they are close together,) I asked about their surface plates. Their engineer confirmed that they are ground on the same finishing line as the tombstones. The only difference is they spend a lot of time measuring and recording on a certificate exactly how flat they are. All this to say that the one before a surface plate and the one after were probably headstones, without certificates, but they all were flat.

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          • #6
            On cutting:
            If you cut it with an abrasive blade in a circular saw, do it outside. It will generate an amazing amount of dust.
            ----------
            Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
            Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
            Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
            There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
            Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
            Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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            • #7
              Does not seem a suitable benchtop material for my shop. I have heavy butcher block and steel plate benchtops. Steel plate is good for welding just ground the plate and it's easy to clean. Steel makes a good "whiteboard" for sketching with a sharpie too. Butcher block is quieter.

              Granite is neither, not good for welding nor is it good for beating on stuff. Your shop may be different.

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              • #8
                4'x3' 3/4" thick? Sounds like 'cultured' granite. Many of the 'stone' counter tops are made of resins and stone dust and chips. That may make them more impact resistant but they would certainly have a lower 'melting' point.
                After all that the price is right, and if they don't work out either laminate over them with butcher block, old bowling lane stock or steel plate.
                Your shop must be different than mine... in certain areas it is difficult to tell what the bench top is made of... had to see

                paul
                paul
                ARS W9PCS

                Esto Vigilans

                Remember, just because you can doesn't mean you should...
                but you may have to

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Duffy View Post
                  They would be first cousin to a REAL surface plate when you are finished!
                  This will probably start a war, but when I toured Rock of Ages quarry and finishing plant in Barre Vermont, (New Hampshire? I dunno, they are close together,) I asked about their surface plates. Their engineer confirmed that they are ground on the same finishing line as the tombstones. The only difference is they spend a lot of time measuring and recording on a certificate exactly how flat they are. All this to say that the one before a surface plate and the one after were probably headstones, without certificates, but they all were flat.
                  I had wondered about that. Guess I should stop by the local tombstone business & see how much they would charge for a 24 X 36 X 4 piece of granite.

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                  • #10
                    While it would look nice I wouldn't have it on my counters. As others have said it's a rather soft material and will crack easily with sharp blows. That is the last type of material I want for a counter-top in a shop! I have a piece cut out for a backyard grill i recently finished. Yes it's smooth and nice looking but I would never want to get anything heavy near it as it can shatter. I am using the left over piece as a poor mans surface plate and building surface for models.

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                    • #11
                      Dr Stan, a tombstone with a chunk out of the corner is not worth much. The insurance has probably paid out and it is just a liability to the company. They may be grateful to have you haul it away!
                      Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Duffy View Post
                        Dr Stan, a tombstone with a chunk out of the corner is not worth much. The insurance has probably paid out and it is just a liability to the company. They may be grateful to have you haul it away!
                        Now that's an even better idea.

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                        • #14
                          I'm planning in the other direction. When she's finally rid of me, there's a 3'x4'x6" tombstone waiting in the workshop with "Crown Windley" engraved on the side and an old calibration sticker next to it.
                          Location- Rugby, Warwickshire. UK

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                          • #15
                            Well for the record I'm not planning to use this as my only bench, or to beat the crap out of stuff on it. Like I said it will be a clean bench for assembling things that need a clean space. I also have a bench made with 2x10 planks as a top, where my bench vise is mounted, and that would be for my rough work.

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