Workbench – laminating the top

On to making the top for the bench.

I ran out of junky wood to use so I broke down and went to the local BORG for some 2x10s. I picked up some 12-footers and cut them in half in the parking lot so I could fit them into my car.

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I ripped the 2x10s down to about 4 inches and jointed and planed them all the same. Each one was then put up on the old bench and smooth planed to remove the mill marks.

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I laid out 9 of these boards on the bench, resting on long clamps and did a couple of rehearsals of gluing and clamping them together. A dry rehearsal, as I didn’t use glue: just wanted to make sure I had enough clamps.

Gluing up the laminates then was done by dribbling glue on each face to be glued, running the glue all over each surface with a flexible piece of scrap wood and then mating one to the other. This was repeated for the lot, but with some hammer blows where some got stuck and aligning others that slipped due to the wet glue. It wasn’t as hard as some make it out to be, but definitely you’re fully engaged from beginning to end.

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I had a lot of glue squeeze-out and cleaned this off when the top was clamped using some shavings off the floor. I didn’t mind having a mess as I knew I’d be cleaning it up.

After setting up overnight, I took off the clamps to reveal the new top. Not too shabby.

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I started to clean off the surface with a jack plane, checking for twist with some winding sticks. The top was quite straight and true.

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I flattened the underside of the lamination and then used that as a reference to flatten the top. This was done using hand planes and was a lot less work than I thought it would be. Daydreams of building a system for using a router or finding a massive jointer were put aside when I just worked away by hand. It is true that some things are just quicker by hand rather than spending your day building a jig.

Just to try it though, I did run the top through the thickness planer. My 13-1/2″ width just fit inside. The top was a bear to maneuver, I don’t know what the weight is but it weren’t light and I’m not a small guy. I put the bottom that I had hand-jointed to the bottom and planed the top. This made a nice surface along the length, but with some unfortunate sniping towards the ends.

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To get an idea as to how things might look so far, I took the leg frames and set them up with the new bench top. I clamped the lot together and then looked to see what I’d do with the rest of the top.

I set up the model allowing for a tool well and a shorter back section. Also, since I abhor racking in a bench, I toyed with putting an apron on the back legs.

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Then, looking too much at Benchrafted’s Roubo plans, I thought of doing a wide rear section with a 2″ removable spacer.

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Indecisions, indecisions.

So, I figured I’d do a short section with a wellboard. I can always add to it again if I like.

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Next up: Working on the legs.

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