Hi, I'm making a maple workbench top and I need to glue it up. The plans
(the Veritas Modern Bench) call for epoxy because of the long working time
or PVA or yellow glue. The epoxy was REALLY expensive, the PVA and yellow
are not expensive but the working time is not as long. Do I need to worry
about their water vulnerabilities? (Not that I'm gonna be working in a pool
or anything.) If I do need to go the epoxy route, where can I get it, and
You COULD use epoxy, but the extended working time doesn't really buy you
much, in comparison to the added costs and additional fuss. None of the
"build your own heritage bench" articles I've seen in the last 5 years used
anything other than PVA glues to laminate a benchtop...
I used Titebond Original and McFeeley's screws to do mine, but then, it was
layering good grade plywood into a 2.25" thick top, which I regularly
abuse. A reject firedoor from the oops pile at the doorbuilder makes a
pretty good benchtop, too.
If you're planning on regularly getting your benchtop wet, you may need to
take another road.
Any compelling reason to do the entire glue up at once? Can you do two
halves and then glue them together?
Good luck cleaning up the epoxy, if you go that route. Same for gorilla
glue; the squeeze out is much more difficult to deal with than yellow glue.
As long as you don't drool much, I can't see that waterproofing is so
I would stay away from the PVA's, because as others have noted, they
creep over time. Epoxy is overkill, and as you found, expensive.
Also, the glue-up will be complex enough without worrying about mixing
a two-part adhesive. I have used polyurethane glue (Gorilla) for
years, and am quite happy with it. It's priced between the PVA and
epoxy. It is strong, can fill small gaps without significant loss of
strength, is waterproof, and simple (one-part). Squeez-out is easily
dealt with by allowing the glue to cure, and scraping away the
resulting foam. Wear gloves, though, or your fingers will be black for
IIRC DAP makes WeldWood. A powder glue that is extremely strong and has a
pretty long work time. Mix with water as needed and if it dries on your
fingers or clothes it will be there for a very long time.
Spend a little time (with the wood, clamps, etc.) to rehearse every
detail of what you are going to do, and anticipate the problems that
will arise, then figure out a way to deal with them, and you will
probably be well under the time limit. Do the rehearsal right before
bedtime, and sleep on it. :)
A caul is a (pair of) boards, sometimes with a slight "belly" to them,
that you would use to clamp to the top and bottom of whatever you are
gluing to keep them lined up.
And if you have that many boards you are gluing together you either need
a very efficient roller (and technique) to put the glue on the boards,
or, like someone said, put them together in sections.
My suggestion would be yellow glue. Specifically, TiteBond type 2. It
doesn't creep like PVA and is water resistant.
You would still have the problem of open time but that is easily solved
by not trying to glue the whole works up at once...just glue together as
many as comfortable. For example, glue together half a dozen; then glue
together another half a dozen; then another six; finally, glue together
the 3 sets of half a dozen. (Note that "half a dozen is not a
suggestion, just an example). Doing it this way also means a better
over all job because less clamp pressure will be needed for fewer pieces
should the edges be less than perfect. Additionally, the edges of the
glued up sets can be joined (if needed) before the sets are glued
Epoxy is handy so - for future reference - the #635 epoxy. It is handy
to also have some Cabosil available (same source). It is a very light,
fluffy and fine silica which is used to thicken epoxy. (Epoxy works
best if the joints are *NOT* perfect; if they are *too* less than
perfect, the Cabosil lets the epoxy fill the gaps.)
Titebond II is a cross-linking polyvinyl acetate - PVA - and does creep
unlike urethane glues (Gorilla).
Plain old TiteBond would work just fine for a workbench glue-up. So would
TiteBond II. I'd go for TiteBond Slow Set myself as it would give me 15
minutes for the 'oh craps!' that creep into glue-ups of that complexity.
Creep is only a problem in joints under tension such as a bent glue
lamination. Hell, a workbensh top is not under any tension. Me thinks we
sometimes put too fine a point on things. BTW, did you go to TieBonds
site? - a wealth of imformation.
Pete Stolz wrote:
> Hi, I'm making a maple workbench top and I need to glue it up. The
> (the Veritas Modern Bench) call for epoxy because of the long working
> or PVA or yellow glue. The epoxy was REALLY expensive, the PVA and
> are not expensive but the working time is not as long.
When it comes to adhesives, after epoxy, everything else is down hill.
You indicate epoxy is "REALLY expensive".
I submit that is a relative term.
Yes, epoxy will be probably 3-6 times more expensive than say TiteBond
II which as about $13-$14/gallon the last time I bought it, but that
cost is not necessarily the final determination.
What percentage of the cost of the total project, does the cost of the
My guess is less than 10% of the total project.
Use something that is 50% of the cost of the epoxy and your total
savings are only 5% of the project, but you finished project will have
it's value reduced by far more than 5%.
Glue the strips in groups of 3-4, the glue these groups together.
When everything is glued up, head to the commercial top shop and have
them sand it flat.
As in polyester resin? That would offgas styrene and would require a lot more
ventilation, VOC mask etc. I'd use good quality epoxy and know that there are
fewer nasty chemicals in the air as a result. You do have to protect your skin
as epoxies, when uncured, are toxic and can cause allergies.
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