Ahh so, a matter of definition.
Never gave the wedge idea a thought.
If you use epoxy thickened with microballoons, you could care less whether
you are using wedge shaped material.
It is very forgiving stuff that epoxy.
Gaps, to be brief. Often when running things past a not-so-good router
fence you get waves, at least that is my experience. It means that you
can't bring the boards tightly together to glue them up. Even if you
manage to pull them together with clamps you will have stresses in the
top that will likely lead to cracks down the road.
I bet you mean uniform board to board! Ignore my other response in
that case. I meant that it is very hard to get any individual board to
a consistent thickness using either a jointer or router set-up. My
experience with used flooring is that there are often variations in
thickness of as much as 1/8" in a single board.
Agreed, it is not only hard, it's impossible IMHO.
Agreed, which is why I suggested the belt sander and epoxy approach.
Clean up each side of the board /w/ a 24 grit belt sander, then stack wedge
shaped pieces as req'd to approach keeping things even (kinda like selecting
grain pattern for a top).
Laminate the whole shebang together with microballoon filled epoxy.
You definitely are best off only laminating 2, maybe 3 pieces together at a
Just snug the clamps, let the epoxy do the work.
My approach will definitely take some time, but all the brick outhouses
within 500 miles will fall down before that top comes apart.<G>
When cured, head to the top shop and get it sanded level.
I'm pretty much ok up to this point. I would, if this were my project,
want to keep the glue lines as minimal as possible, both for the sake
of appearance and because most glues are real death on cutting edges.
One of the reasons for a wood bench instead of steel is that it is
much friendlier to you chisels or what-have-you when you accidentally
do a bit of shaping on your bench top. I'm not sure how much of a
problem it really would be, but it is something to think about.
I still see this as the perfect opportunity to justify a planer,
That is an absolute, but IMHO, this is strictly a belt sander job unless of
course you use the planer to remove the ridges on the underside of the
flooring after sanding off the poly on the opposite side.
Why take a chance and screw up some nice new planer blades?
BTW, if some filled epoxy that presents a filled gap of maybe 1/32" on a
bench top to a chisel causes a
problem, so be it.
BTW, isn't that why Scary Sharp exists<G>.
It costs about $45 for a set of blades for the DeWalt 735. I believe
that they are double edged. I haven't tried it, but I suspect that you
could easily plane off all the varnish with one set of blades. We're
only talking 110 square feet, IIRC. I'm a bit inclined to treat things
like planer blades as a disposable commodity on a job like this. Back
when I did a lot of remodeling I discovered that sometimes it is more
efficient to just use something up doing a job. We treated skilsaws
and blades that way, since they were frequently the fast and easy way
to cut through things like multiple layers of roofing. I actually once
reduced a carbide tipped framing blade to a smooth disk cutting in
three skylights. It was an inexpensive blade and trying to preserve it
would have taken so much time that it wasn't worth it.
The valuations are different on a home-shop project, but I'd still
rather burn up a set of planer blades than try to remove all that poly
with a belt sander - and you would definitely need to run them through
the planer after that to take out the wows, unless you are a lot
better with a belt sander than I am.
It's not the cost of the blades but the change out that is a PITA.
Been there, done that.
Building a fiberglass boat develops some different skills that just working
A belt sander /w/ 24 grit belts, a 9" right angle sander /w/ 16 grit disks
and my favorite, a 4-1/2" right angle sander /w/ 24 grit disks are the tools
of the trade.
After while, you develop a touch using these tools.
Different strokes for different folks as the saying goes.
You gotta get a new planer. I can't say for sure about the 735, but my 733
is a 10-minute job at the most. The first time I did it, "it was like wow
I know where you are coming from though. My previous delta snipemaster-12
was a trauma to change, not unlike my jointer.
I know people who build a few boats in a year. I know people who've
been working on their boat for a decade or two now, and it's coming
along just fine, thanks for asking. I don't know _anyone_ who has
built (past tense) their boat "over the short term".
This is a job for abrasives.
The fine art of machining comes later.
First, use a belt sander and get rid of all that poly varnish.
Use a 24, maybe a 36 grit belt.
Not only do you want to get rid of the poly, but you want to create a good
bonding surface for the adhesive.
Next, you are going to want to use some 3/8" all thread to hold these pieces
together, so locate some 7/16" holes, say on 12" centers and thru drill
Next you want to glue these boards together, me, I'd use epoxy, but maybe
you want to use TiteBond II, which also will work.
Use the 3/8" all thread as clamps as you proceed with the glue up.
When you have completed the glue up, time to head to the commercial drum
Have them sand off the tongues and the grooves leaving a flat top and bottom
with the 3/8" all thread pieces located in the middle of the approximate 2"
Return home, edge the top, mount in position, and enjoy.
After all I've read...
I think it would be a simple matter of cutting the tongues off the boards
with a table saw, after you have cut the boards to the length you want
the bench to be, by whatever means. Leave the grooves there, no reason
to alleviate the strength of the wood, they go on the bottom and the de-
tongued sides are the top, boards gang-glued side-by-side on the 2" faces
after stripping with stryp-eze. You could even spend a shot more and fill
those grooves with epoxy for more strength (just a tiny idea thrown in).
This is exactly the top on my bench. I got it from a friend. His
father made it a long time ago. The grooves were trimmed to 1/8 and
the tounges were trimmed off. The really nice thing is the perfect
3/4X3/4 inch square holes every six inchs in 2 rows to match tail vice
dogs. I mounted it on 2 2x2 inch runners running accross the bench and
extending 6 inches out the front side. This allows easy access to
clamp all sorts of things to it. Also the front side dog holes are
clear so you can stick clamp post up thru the bottom. Its about
22X60X2 inchs total, weighs a ton. works great. Mine is oak not maple
by the way.
I would say definitely use the table saw, pushing that much stock over
a router table is no fun (my opinion anyway) I'd also use the tablesaw
to take off the varnish layer, set your fence so the blade just kisses
the surface and exposes bare wood. If you have a good quality 24 tooth
rip blade it would be the one to use.
Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
On Wed, 22 Sep 2004 15:39:51 -0500, Peter De Smidt
Several years ago, my nephew bought half of a gym floor to use for
flooring in his new house. There was a LOT of maple flooring left
over when his house was done. In exchange for a lot of weekends spent
cutting off staples, I have unlimited access to the remaining maple.
Over the years, I have made a number of desk, table, and bench tops;
both edge glued and face glued. Here's what I have learned from
1. If it was decent wood, it would not have been used for flooring.
The grain is going to go every which way in any given piece.
2. Buy or borrow a metal detector. (Little Wizard works well.)
Check every piece of wood twice to make sure you've gotten all of the
old nails or staples out. It only takes one to destroy your tool
3. Buy a good glue line rip blade for your saw. I've been very happy
with the Freud.
4. The existing finish has got to go. Stripping will work if you are
only going to put an oil finish on your bench top. If you are
thinking of a varnish, you will need to remove enough wood under the
old finish to make sure you are working with fresh wood. If you are
edge gluing, this also goes for the edges as floor waxes will have run
down between the planks when you waxed the floors.
5. I have a planer. On the tops I have done so far, I have planed
off the grooves. If I were doing a workbench top, I would leave them
on and, as prevoiusly suggested, make a top with several layers of
edge-glued strips. That will be the most efficient use of your wood,
and the grooves will have no measurable effect on the strength of your
6. If you do decide that you must face-glue the strips, go ahead and
take the grooves off any way you can. When you are ripping the
strips, start by ripping just the tongues off, and use that for the
top surface of the bench. If you really really want to take the
grooves of the other edge, set your rip fence to leave just a little
hint of the original grooves. Depending on how you pulled up the
flooring, the grooved edges of the plank are not going to look to
good, and they are going to be the bottom of your benchtop.
7. You will want to make sure that the ends of abutting pieces are a
perfect mate. I made up a fence that is screwed to the panel-cutting
sled on my table saw. There are two toggle clamps on each side of the
saw kerf. I set two abutting strips under the clamps so they meet in
the center of the kerf, clamp them down, and run them through. Then I
mark them so I now that those two pieces go together.
8. Your biggest problem is going to be in the glue-up stage. When
you start tightening up the clamps, the wood is going to start moving
in all different directions. You might consider biscuits to keep the
pieces from moving too much. You will need to be clamping the pieces
face-to-face, and from end-to-end if you are using more than one piece
in a layer. You also want to clamp each new strip down against your
construction surface. I recommend starting with a 2 x 2 angle iron
the length of your new top clamped to a flat, plastic-covered,
surface. use this for a reference clamping surface as you build up
each layer of strips. Let each layer dry and scrape off the dried
glue before going on to the next layer. (Unless you are nailing each
layer together in addition to the glue.) In my case, I made "planks"
that were 2" thick and 10" to 11" wide so I could run them through the
planer to clean them up. The plastic-covered surface is your
reference surface. Each strip should be glued in place with the
tongue edge down.
9. Be prepared to spend a lot of time with a belt sander to flatten
your new bench top. If you are thinking of planing it flat, go back
and look at item 1. It ain't gonn'a work.
When you are done, clean up the ends with a rough pass on a circular
saw, and then use your long router bit to skim off 1/32" using a
Good luck, it will take a while.
IMHO, trying to level out a top with a belt sander is not only frustrating,
but a total waste of time cuz you ain't never going to get it flat.
Go to a commercial top shop and have it run thru that nice 48" drum sander
that has at least 3 belts, each driven by about a 25 HP motor.
For less than $50, if you are patient and willing to wait, you get a flat
top and no knots in your gut which makes the brewskis taste much better.
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