Building The Holtzapffel Workbench #7: Final Top Glue Up

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Blog entry by Mike Lingenfelter posted 03-23-2008 04:10 AM 5217 reads 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Update on large wooden screws Part 7 of Building The Holtzapffel Workbench series Part 8: Top and Base Come Together »

Well I found the time to do the final glue up of the top today. Man the top it getting heavy and difficult to manage on my own. I was just able to send the last couple of sections through the planer, on my own. For those of you doing a large glue up like this, you might want to get a second set of hands when you get to this stage.

Here are the last couple of sections that will go through the planer. There are two large sections and 1 last board I needed to add to make it a full 24” wide.


I’ve never sent something this wide through my planer before. I found out you need to take an even lighter pass for something this wide. Nothing bad happened but the planer did bog down a little, on my first pass.

Here’s the top sitting in the clamps. I’ll leave it there overnight.


I think I could have used a couple more clamps, for this glue up. With something this wide, I think you need the clamps a little closer together. I think I was able to pull things together, so I think it will be ok.

I think I’m really in the homestretch now. Tomorrow I think I will square up the ends and maybe get the base put together. If I don’t get the top attach this weekend, it will get attached next weekend.

14 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4011 days

#1 posted 03-23-2008 04:31 AM

Man, that’s a nice top!

With as much beef you have on those pieces more clamps wouldn’t have made much difference.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3844 days

#2 posted 03-23-2008 04:33 AM

Hi Mike,

This is really beginning to come together. Did you use any biscuits to align the two halves together or did you just glue it up? I like the idea of using the planer to level the top. Much faster than using a hand plane and much less exercise as well.

thanks for the post. I am looking forward to seeing the final result.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3791 days

#3 posted 03-23-2008 04:45 AM

wow thats coming along great. i was thinking about building a workbench soon but if you say you needed more clamps i better get some more before i make a workbench. i think though that i will make an assembly table like Marc did because my concrete floors are nowhere near flat. i love seeing this project come along and i can’t wait to see the finished project. i eagerly await the next entry!

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4136 days

#4 posted 03-23-2008 05:03 AM

Gary you might be right, I was able to pull it together with what I had. The key I think was getting the the surfaces flat and square to each other. That wasn’t an easy task with their size. I did run them through my jointer, but it was hard keeping them square to small fence on my jointer. Overall I think I did pretty good.

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4019 days

#5 posted 03-23-2008 06:27 AM

Boy, that looks really good! Will you be hand planing the surface for a final flattening with that jointer plane of yours?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4136 days

#6 posted 03-23-2008 06:37 AM

Yes it will need some hand planing to get the top flat, but it’s pretty close. When I decided to build a bench I knew I would need to plane the top. That’s one reason I got the large #7 Lie-Nielsen plane. I’ll be giving it a workout soon.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3985 days

#7 posted 03-23-2008 12:07 PM

Good looking top, Mike.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 3768 days

#8 posted 03-23-2008 12:17 PM

With regard to the number of clamps used: The reverse of what you stated is true. The wider the piece the fewer clamps are actually needed because clamping force radiates out at about 45 degrees in each direction. As long as there is an overlap of clamping force you’re good to go. So on your top the middle joint has more than enough but the glue up of the skinny guy on the outside is probably lacking(if you glued all three pieces at the same time). Probably would have been better to use all the clamps on that one thin piece and then glue up the two remaining pieces later. To make an analogy think of edge banding a piece of plywood. If you rip the banding into a 1/4in thick strip and then try to glue it you’re going to need a LOT of clamps ( and have a tough time keeping it in place ;-). Better to glue a piece say two inches wide and then rip it to leave the 1/4 This exerts the clamping force over a much wider length of edge.

But at any rate that is a great looking top.

View Tom Adamski's profile

Tom Adamski

306 posts in 3793 days

#9 posted 03-23-2008 02:49 PM

Very nice top. Your efforts will be worth it both in the fine bench you’ll get to use and the inspiration to others.


-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsman can hide his mistakes.

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3908 days

#10 posted 03-23-2008 05:21 PM


-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 4014 days

#11 posted 03-23-2008 05:58 PM

Looking great Mike, nice to see you’ve been making good consistent progress. Definitely on the home stretch :)

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4136 days

#12 posted 03-23-2008 05:59 PM

Thanks for all of the comments on clamping the top. I think all of you are correct. I now remember reading an article about clamping strategies. I think what grumpycarp said was covered in the article, now I need to remember which magazine I read it in. Did anyone see that article?

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 3768 days

#13 posted 03-23-2008 06:14 PM

fine woodworking last year some time

View kem's profile


56 posts in 3741 days

#14 posted 03-24-2008 12:31 AM

That top looks fantastic! I’m dreaming of getting to this point and having the awesome feeling of putting the jointer plane to a beautiful top like that. I’ve got a lot of steps before I get there, but, like Tom said above, this is an inspiration!

-- Kevin

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