Workbench top: two species of wood?

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Sometimes you need to be careful what you wish for. I got a few pieces of 5"x15"x7' Douglas fir glulam beams, and am nearing completion of a rather heavy workbench using them. Although the top will be 4 inches thick, and very stiff, I am beginning to be a little concerned that the top surface will be a bit soft, so I am thinking of putting on a layer of hardwood for durability. My concern is that differing rates of expansion over the 29" width of the top will break the glue joint between the two types of wood. Thus, I have a few questions for the ng:
1) Am I too worried? The bench is in an unheated garage, and the climate here near Seattle is very mild, so I don't anticipate that the wood in the bench will change that much in moisture content over the year.
2) Can I just try to pick a hardwood that is fairly close in wood movement to Douglas fir? I am going to try to use some recycled flooring, so obvious options are hard maple, red or white oak, or hickory.
3) If I do glue on a layer of hardwood, what might be the best glue choice? I know some glues are not flexible at all, such as hide glue, but others are much more forgiving, like polyurethane. What might be a good choice?
Thanks for your help.
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"Scritch" wrote:

Consider putting down a sacrificial piece of 1/4" hardboard held in place with either fiddles or double backed tape at the corners only.
Simple, neat, easy and low cost.
Lew
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Scritch wrote: ...

What on earth do you intend to be doing on it? Unless it's going to be a mechanic's (as in heavy truck) bench, can't imagine what would be doing that would cause _that_ much problem w/ Doug fir...
imo, $0.02, ymmv, etc., etc., etc., ...
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Chisel slip when chopping dovetails
Dropping sharp, hard boards on benchtop
Hammer slip when nailing
etc.
Come to think of it, however, my first workbench was made out of 2x4's (fir), and got very chewed up, but I *was* rebuilding motorcycle engines on it...
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On Thu, 13 Nov 2008 20:52:26 +0100, Scritch wrote:

If you've paid a bundle for that nice hardwood board, which would you rather put a dent in?
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I promise that whatever hardwood you use, it won't be as hard as a chisel or a hammer.
todd
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You guys are crackin me up. It's a workbench, not the White House banquet table. Aren't workbenches made to get banged up? Isn't that kind of their sole purpose?
Reminds me of drummers who wear gloves to handle their cymbals. Umm, what about when you're hitting them real hard with big wooden sticks? :-)
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-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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drumsticks don't sweat.
scott
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The point is, do you want to make stuff (music) with your tools (instruments), or sit and admire how shiny they look all set up in the basement? :-)
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-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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On Fri, 14 Nov 2008 02:01:30 +0000, MIKE- wrote

or worse still, wear gloves while playing..
or more worserer even, wear gloves while bench pressing..
ah.. benches, yes...
Sacrificial hardboard top, if you must an' you want to re-flat the surface every few years by chucking and replacing it. That way it'll have good surface for lay-ups and assemblifying stuff an' you'll never be scared of ruining it
Else a used (but not abused) workbench with a few dings, worn bits, blood stains etc.looks rather nice, don'tya think? the patina of function gives it some credibility. Of course crap stuff won't ever take on that used, aged and bedded-in look.. it just falls apart. Think Ikea "furniture" vs. say, Shaker or (insert favourite style here.)
<obtuse ramble> Ever been to someone's house where they keep the soft furniture covered in the shrink wrap it came in from the store, to "keep it nice"?
I haven't seen it for a few years. I don't go to total strangers' houses very often but when I was doing deliveries and installation jobs in college vacation time, I would occasionally encounter this weird phenomenon, together with carpets covered in clear pvc mats so you could walk on the carpet without, er, walking on the carpet.
In the north of England, back in the 'fifties, it was common to have one room in the house NEVER used, but kept for "best" This was in a house that only had two downstairs rooms and a kitchen.
Of course, the only occasions that warranted using the best room - the 'front" room, or "parlour" were entertaining the Vicar with a cup of tea and a ceremonial biscuit (cookie) and laying out a recently departed member of the household. It was never used as a drawing room, for example, and the door to the street was permanently locked and may have gone for several years without being opened. Normally the only reason to go into the room would be to dust it, wind the clock and add yet another layer of polish to the undisturbed polish on the furniture.
The room was essentially a museum; full of fine things, and like the artefacts in a Pharaoh's tomb, maybe for use in the afterlife.
I have seen workshops like this.
No dust.. I mean NO dust, like even creating sawdust would be "abusing" the set-up, but they are a display area for a collection of tools which are some sort of trophy acquisition and a statement about masculinity or somesuch. Mr Wood Whisperer does a lovely skit on this.
A tool ain't a tool unless it's drawn blood at least once and any furniture you've not had sex on at least once is not yet part of the house, though the picnic table on the front lawn has a different agenda, maybe.
</obtuse ramble>
Yeah, hardboard. But French polish it.
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Bored Borg wrote:

Not just England--my parents always had a "living room" in which living was not allowed except when they had a party. Just as well, the furniture was selected for appearance, not comfort.

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Bored Borg wrote: > <obtuse ramble>

That was entertaining. I get the feeling you'd be good company for a cup of coffee.
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-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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Bored Borg wrote:

What cut? :)
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dadiOH



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Bored Borg wrote:

Why?
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-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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Practice and SHMBO will really like it.
TGIF
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On Sat, 15 Nov 2008 00:29:45 +0000, MIKE- wrote

so it looks classy
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Yes but I was a bit p****d off when when I made a mess of mine before I'd even finished building it!
I am currently building a new bench and it has this lovely laminated Beech top (actually a solid beech kitchen worktop) I had to break off and do something else which involved cutting up some plywood. The new bench was occupying most of the free space in my workshop so I just clamped it down to that.
Now, it's always a good idea when using a circular saw to make sure your cut is clear of whatever your work is fixed to................
I now have a slash about 1" deep and 10" long running across one corner of my new bench. It's worse than anything on my old bench, which has seen over 20 years of service :-(

Sweat is acidic enough to corrode the metal and affect the sound.
--
Stuart Winsor

For Barn dances and folk evenings in the Coventry and Warwickshire area
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Stuart wrote:

It's like getting that first dent or scratch in a new car. You're actually relieved to get it over with. :-)

Well, yes and no..... and all the more reason to touch 'em.. a lot. I'll explain...
Technically yes, the sebum secreted by human skin is acidic and therefore corrosive to metals. High end cymbals are B-20 Bronze-- 80 percent Copper, 20 Percent Tin, with trace Silver and a few proprietary trade secret metals.
Anyone who has bronze art will tell you the extent of corrosion that takes place, even when it's left out in the weather. That pretty green patina we all love is about all that would ever happen. If they can dig up artifacts that are thousands of years old with little more damage than some patination, I think my cymbals will survive my lifetime.
So, about those cymbals. Very few of them are in raw state, meaning most either have a protective coating applied, or they've been buffed so shiny, they are virtually impervious to sweat. (My cat peed on one of mine and it produced a cool patina almost overnight, so if you're looking for a good patination formula, well..... see the cat.)
But let's just say there is no protection and the cymbals are raw, like many of my older ones. As a younger dude, I made the mistake of cleaning a cymbal loaned to me by my drum teacher. I brought it back all shiny and new looking, with a grin on my face. I was proud, expecting all kinds of thanks and kudos from my mentor. I'll never forget the look on his face as I handed him his vintage 60's Zildjian A ride. He looked at it and said, "What's this?" When I told him it was the cymbal he loaned me, he got this look on his face I'll never forget. It was a mix of sorrow and rage, with a touch of bewilderment, which immediately translated his thoughts to me, "What the hell did you do!?"
That was my first lesson in learning that corrosion does in fact effect the sound of a cymbal, as you correctly pointed out..... in a GOOD way. But young pups, like I was, don't know this because they haven't been around long enough to hear their cymbals age. Cleaning all that "corrosion" off the cymbal takes away a lot of the character and dryness in the sound. It brightens it up too much and makes it sound like any other cymbal you can go down to the music store and buy. Problem is, you have to wait another 20 years for it to sound good. :-)
All that to point back to by original analogy. Young inexperience drummers care more about having shiny new equipment, while experienced drummers just want to make great music. The same can be said for woodworkers and our tools.
--

-MIKE-

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<SNIP>
Thank you for the explanation.
As a guitar player (12 string acoustic), I know that after a while strings begin to sound dull and lifeless. Of course some of the deterioration is due to wear but they do need to be changed regularly. When very new they sound over-bright but then settle into a more mellow sound before, eventually, becoming "dead". I had sort of assumed it would be similar with cymbals, requiring occasional cleaning when they became too dull sounding.
Stuart
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Stuart Winsor

For Barn dances and folk evenings in the Coventry and Warwickshire area
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It would be nice to get it out of the showroom though first ;-|
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Stuart Winsor

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