Best type of material for alcove shelf/desk

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I am looking to build a shelf/desk in an alcove. The alcove is 96cm wide and for argument sake the depth would be 100cm so looking at 1m sq sheet of material. The desk would support laptop, monitor, mouse, keyboard, etc and would be supported by a baton along the 2 sides of the alcove but not the back. I hope to have it appear as wood (ie not painted) and want to know best suggestions for material to use. For example would plywood be strong enough to support a meter span? What thickness would not bow? Should I build in parallel strengthing and if so should it be at the ends or hidden in the middle. Finally if I was to want to paint it would MDF be a better choice.
Many thanks
 
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3.9 scaffold board old or new cut in 4 gives you 36" suspect 27" will be more than enough depth so flexible
 
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Thanks @big-all I had not considered a scaffold board. Any suggestions if I want a single sheet of material for the whole 1m sq?
 
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any sheet material will need support on all edges with batons and say 44mm edging on the front
other options are worktop but your limited to around 625 or 925mm
you are far far better going for between 18x27" and shelves above and below for storage
 
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