Using old maple flooring for work bench top

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"Tim Douglass" writes:
<snip>

If you are going to laminate this material into a top, why is uniform thickness important?
Lew
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Uniform thickness from one board to the next is not. Uniform thickness along the lenght of the board is else you wind up with wedge shaped, or wavy boards which will not laminate especially well.
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"Secret Squirrel" writes:

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.
Lew
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On Thu, 23 Sep 2004 18:42:59 GMT, "Lew Hodgett"

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.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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On Thu, 23 Sep 2004 18:42:59 GMT, "Lew Hodgett"

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.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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"Tim Douglass" writes:

Yep.
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 time.
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.
Lew
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On Fri, 24 Sep 2004 00:20:12 GMT, "Lew Hodgett"

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, though!
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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"Tim Douglass" writes:

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>.
Lew
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On Fri, 24 Sep 2004 05:18:00 GMT, "Lew Hodgett"

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.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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"Tim Douglass" writes:

It's not the cost of the blades but the change out that is a PITA.

Agreed.
Been there, done that.

Building a fiberglass boat develops some different skills that just working with wood.
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.
Lew
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Lew,
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 man" :-)
I know where you are coming from though. My previous delta snipemaster-12 was a trauma to change, not unlike my jointer.
-steve

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"Stephen M" writes:

My investment in tools is strictly short term.
Buy the necessary tool to get the job done.
When the boat is built, will sell everything and go sailing.
At least, that's the game plan.
Lew
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On Fri, 24 Sep 2004 19:45:32 GMT, "Lew Hodgett"

Ha !
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".
--
Smert' spamionam

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"Peter De Smidt" writes:

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 them.
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 sander.
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" thickness.
Return home, edge the top, mount in position, and enjoy.
HTH
Lew
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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).
Alex
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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. Jack

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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 snipped-for-privacy@charm.net
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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 experience.
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 blade.
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 glue joints.
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 straight edge.
Good luck, it will take a while. Ed Bailen
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"Ed Bailen writes:
<Snip a lot of good skinny>

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.
Lew
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