I'm about to finally get started on building my workbench. The top will
be 2 1/2 or 3" thick, made by laminating (face to face) maple strips. I
am milling the strips from 4/4 and 8/4 plain sawn hard maple. I was
going to face joint each strip before thickness planing, but am
wondering if it is a waste of time (and wood) doing it on every strip.
Seems like just thickness planing would be enough for the interior
strips (especially the 4/4), since the top will be laminated.
Now I'm thinking about face jointing just the 8/4 before thickness
planing and only thickness planing the 4/4. Of course I would make sure
the boards are pretty straight to begin with. I would also pick the
adjacent boards so that they would not bow in the same direction. Seems
like after everything is glued up, bowing in the interior boards should
Mine is 3" thick from 5/4 material. I face jointed first, but then only
planed enough material off to mostly smooth the surface. (A few rough saw
makes burried in the laminations would not make a difference)
Necessary? Idunno, but I sure would not want skip it and find out that I
should not have taken the short cut later.
I glued up roughly 6" subassemblies and rejointed before the "big" assembly.
This was to minimze the hand-planing effort after final assembly.
What I did not do, but wish I had, was to ensure that the grain was either
flat or going in the same direction at the surface. I ended up with some
nasty grain reversal in the surface. That resulted in a bit of tearout when
hand-flattening with a plane.
If I were to do it again, I would laminate straight grain to the "top" edge
of any swirly pieces and make sure all of the down-will grain was going the
Above you will see some highighted words that are the crux of the situation.
"pretty straight" is NOT the same thing as "straight"
If you want a straight and flat bench top, start with straight and flat
wood. If you're talking about a little bend, actually, I guess I wouldn't
worry too much, but if there is any twist or cupping, that'll be an issue.
One thing to do is work in sections as wide as your jointer will handle for
the first glue up. That is, if you have a 6" jointer, make 6" wide sections
first, joint and plane those, then glue those together for your final width.
> I'm about to finally get started on building my workbench. The top will
> be 2 1/2 or 3" thick, made by laminating (face to face) maple strips. I
> am milling the strips from 4/4 and 8/4 plain sawn hard maple. I was
> going to face joint each strip before thickness planing, but am
> wondering if it is a waste of time (and wood) doing it on every strip.
> Seems like just thickness planing would be enough for the interior
> strips (especially the 4/4), since the top will be laminated.
> Now I'm thinking about face jointing just the 8/4 before thickness
> planing and only thickness planing the 4/4. Of course I would make sure
> the boards are pretty straight to begin with. I would also pick the
> adjacent boards so that they would not bow in the same direction. Seems
> like after everything is glued up, bowing in the interior boards should
> be eliminated.
> Any thoughts?
Why make a federal case out of a straight forward project?
A decent saw cut surface provides a good glue surface.
Positioning and clamping are going to require a relative long open time.
I use epoxy, not TiteBond, for this application.
Are you going to use threaded rods to position and hold strips?
Sure makes life a lot easier, at least it did for me. (Plug holes
after final assembly.)
Once assembled, head for a drum sander and get the lamination surfaced.
The lamination is going to weigh 100-150 lbs based on size.
A helper is a good idea for that trip to the drum sander.
I'm not sure I fully followed your description. I have however lamed up
maybe 100 items like this from cutting boards, grouped up 10 at a time
to kitchen island tops 3' x 5'. This is the process I've developed.
After ripping all the material I make several groups of glue-ups to
create 8" wide slabs. I do not joint the edges or the faces. As I start
to dry fit the lam I see if any of the faces need jointing and joint
only where I have bad nicks, warps, or low spots. If a board is warped
along the whole length I just try clamping it to see if it pulls in
flat, vs tryiing to plane it flat.
Then I take each 8" wide glue-up and flatten and thickness them to an
equal thickness. I happen to have a wide belt sander and it is a dream
for this. I have done it with a planer and a jointer but using hard
maple for this always, makes for the big possibility of chip out. I've
also belt sanded these flat.
Then I do a final glue up of the 8" slabs and do the same dry fit edge
check to see if they need to be jointed or not.
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