Thank you! Do you use so many couplings to protect the nipples???
Some of the terminology that goes along with the pipes is finally starting
to make sense--and it didn't come to me particularly easy. ;) If it
wasn't for the Internet I might have my 4 by 4's and 2 by 4's bolted
together by now. Instead I'm preparing to build a "millipedes" with twelves
to fourteen 48" legs---heavy ones too! I seem to learn something new every
So it would start out at 1 1/2 inches thick (before flattening). Will that
for a 7' by 30" top (I realize there are other variables, and I'm planning
a 3' section
in the middle which will have to deal with gravity on its own...)? You may
my preliminary design pictures at a.b.p.w.
What if I were to cut the lumber into two inch wide strips instead and glue
the (factory) faces?
For one, I'd be "guaranteed" good glueing surfaces, no?
By the way, I used my raincheck and picked up the last of my 15 pipe clamps.
I picked up another rub brick too--I wore the first one out...when those
screws in the rub brick hit the concrete it's worse than chalk on a
chalkboard....I'm still cringing.
I wore the darn thing out and then some.
You are making a mountain out of a mole hill<G>.
1) Start with a 2x8 and sand one side with some 100 grit.
2) Rip 2x8 approximately in half.
3) Glue and clamp sanded faces together with factory edge down for
registration (Alternate clamps up/down).
4) Repeat above to make 10 sets for a 30" wide bench.
5) Repeat process above making 5 sets, gluing sanded faces together.
6) Repeat process making one set 18" wide and one set 12" wide, gluing
sanded faces together.
7) Repeat process to form 30" wide top, gluing sanded faces together..
8) Head to the drum sanding shop and end up with 30" Wide x 73" long x
3-1/2" finished top ready for final trim.
9) Return home, Pop-A-Top, maybe 2-3, and enjoy the fruits of your
Question for the CW folks:
Where did the phrase "Pop-A-Top" come from?
I'm not sure where Pop-A-Top actually started out, but where I used to
hear it, when you heard it, the lights came on and that meant you had to
Thank you for the detailed directions! If I'm going to make a mountain out
of a molehill I want to do it right! At this point, the idea of a 3"+ top
to make me drool.
I've been putting more thought into vises and drawers. The machinist vise
doesn't seem as right anymore (the problem is that's what I grew up
with...). I saw a likable
looking "Emmet vise" in "The Workbench Book" (by Landis). That made me
too. I haven't checked availability or prices. Some dang fool requested the
at the library, so I had to return it. So I ordered it from Amazon (along
book along the lines of "fun with concrete").
I think among my first posts, we were talking about minstrel style banjos...
I try to keep working towards these goals...I'm on my 2nd rub brick, and am
getting pretty good at SketchUp. Came home and raked leaves.
I have a job. Life is good. Hope everyone herely mostly feels as good, or
Bill, I'm with several others here. I built mine out of SYP. Very
heavy and stable. After a couple of years, I planed the top, thinking
the wood had probably moved and I would be reflattening it. Not so! I
merely removed some shallow scratches, and when I saw I was taking
uniform thin shavings, decided that I wouldn't take the chance of
messing up a good thing going after a few errant chisel marks.
If you have a jointer and planer, it can make stock prep for the
glue-up MUCH easier, but unless you have an aircraft carrier size
jointer, you will not flatten the finished bench with that. Some have
suggested taking it to a commercial shop to get the top finished on
their wide belt sander. That would be a lot easier than doing the
rough flattening with planes (as I did). But I don't see how that
process could make it flat (if that is important to you). Maybe
someone who has used that approach could address that. After the final
flattening of my bench with my #8, it is nowhere convex, and concavity
is on the order of 0.001" per foot. Specifically, anywhere on my top,
I can only fit a 0.002" to 0.005" feeler gage under the center of a
four foot straightedge.
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.
Typical drum sander has three, 48" wide, sanding drums, about 12"-15"
diameter, each driven by a 20-25HP motor with coarse, medium and fine
Operates much the same as a planer taking off the high spots about
1/64"-1/32" per pass.
You definitely end up with a flat surface.
A drum sander doesn't have the feed rollers that a planer has, it has
a conveyor belt underneath, and a fairly long table. So it is better
at flattening than a planer if you flip it over after each pass. But
it depends on how thick the stock is and how bad the problems were.
It's much more effective to use a sled and shim under it and flatten
one side then flip it over, that's really the only way to get it
*flat* if it was bowed or twisted to start with. But for something
workbench top size it really should end up flat without much trouble
as the thickness means it's not going to deflect very much. If you
glue it up with a serious bow or twist in it then you may have issues,
but if it's reasonable to start with it should end up pretty darn
But if that's what you have to resort to then I'd say you're better
off buying a premade slab from Grizzly or Ikea.
Drill all the parts before you glue them together - pass a length of
allthread through each set of holes and tighten the nuts. No external
clamps required. If you like you can put another peice over the end of
the althread, or better yet counterbore the outer boards and put plugs
in on the "front" side to hide the fasteners. The workbench will NEVER
Sensitization sucks--one of the best painters at Enormous Aerospace where I
used to work walked into the plant one day, picked up the same spray gun he
had been using every day for 20 years, puffed up like a balloon, and had to
be rushed to the hospital. He couldn't even come into the plant anymore
A club I belong to has a rule on all club functions--NO STRAWBERRIES--one of
the founder members walked into a party one time and keeled over--turned out
that there were strawberries just sitting in a bowl and unbeknownst to him
he had become sensitized--he didn't even touch them, they got him from
across the room--and we'd rather have him than the strawberries.
What kind of projects do you want to do? If you're talking furniture
crafting or cabinetry then you need a flat top somewhere for a reference
surface--on the other hand a machinists vise sticking up will get in the way
of that kind of use. If you're looking for a mechanic's bench throwing
something together from 2x4 and 2x6s should work fine. If you want it to be
immobile then fasten a 2x4 cleat to the studs on the wall and fasten one
side of the benchtop to that--it's not going to go anywhere unless you
manage to knock the building down.
Ideally if you're doing both mechanical and woodworking projects you want
both anyway--no matter how careful you are you're going to get metal chips
and oil and whatnot on the mechanicking bench and using it for woodworking
will result in the chips scratching your finish and oil and grease getting
onto the unfinished wood.
This is an excellent book:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
I think it's appropriate for you because it covers a wide variety of
approaches the topic of "workbench" ... from traditional european to
Japanese to conteporary plywood designs... even a chaper on the ubiquitous
A great book book if you're not sure what type of bench to build. And by
"bench", I mean, loosely defined, shop work surface.
That said, I have arguably 4 "workbenches" in my shop. Different
shapes/designs and materials work better for differnt operations.
For instance my TS outfeed table is made from a sheet of melamine. It's
totally inappropriate as a "pounding surface" but it makes a fantastic
assembly table and finishing space because it is flat, I can get in three
sides of it and neither glue nor finishes stick to it.
A single bench is just about never good at everything. It really depends on
what you want to do with it.
Hey Bill, I built my (large) workbench from 2x4s. After 18 years it
is banged up, stained, gouged, etc. From time to time I use a belt
sander on it to clean it up a little.
I know about formaldehyde. Once I worked in a new building and
several of us got headaches every day from the outgassing of man-made
materials (particleboard, carpeting, chairs, ceiling tiles, glues,
etc.) You can "age" ply in the garage for 3-4 months, but I would not
recommned it if allergic.
Thank you for all of the thoughtful suggestions. Since I grew up with
one workbench, I hadn't considered having more than one, but that's makes
more sense--one to "fix mechanical things or open a can of paint" on
and one to pursue woodworking on. I am interested in developing skills
in luthiery (e.g. setting up the bridge or sound post on a fiddle) and
building a whole instrument or three. I'll start small :) It hadn't
really thought about
how oil from one project could really muck-up woodwork in the other.
I'm going to review all of the books and materials that were recommended.
I'm always grateful for your thoughts and suggestions!
BTW, I noticed Woodcraft has 2" thick granite surface plate (tool shop "A"
and a honing guide on sale this month. I intend to try the "scary sharp"
technique. I have a new plane and a new set of chisels that have never been
Please let me know whether you can vouch for this sharpening solution. I'll
thinking about workbenches! :)
A related note:
The absolutely coolest special-purpose workbench I have seen was at a
It had adjustible posts with pads that to which you could strap an iregular
(carved back) guitar. This allowed hin to secure the guitar for things like
The really cool feature was that the whole top could pivot along it's long
axis so that rotate the guitar into playing position (to test it) without
unsecuring it from the bench top.
I've got something very similar, and it's useless. Maybe the Woodcraft
version would be better, but mine doesn't seem to lock down tight or
match the contour on the chisel (that's probably part of the problem.)
You might get better results cutting an angled piece of wood (I hear Skil
makes an angle finder ha ha), and applying a rare earth magnet to the
top. Then add a couple small wheels.
"The potential difference between the top and bottom of a tree is the
reason why all trees have to be grounded..." -- Bored Borg on
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