First Workbench #2: Finishing the top

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Blog entry by NicholasS posted 11-21-2012 02:17 AM 5375 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Starting the Top Part 2 of First Workbench series Part 3: The Base »

I took a long hiatus from working on my bench but started in again a few months ago and. I put together the other half of my bench top just like the first half. I put it together in two halves because I wanted to take it to a friends to get it planed perfectly flat and his planer couldn’t plane the whole top in one piece. I changed my mind though and did the whole thing by hand. At one point I thought I would have to give up because I just couldn’t get the two halves square and fit together without any gaps. It looked really bad at one point and I stopped working on my bench for months and had pretty much given up on the idea of doing it by hand.

I wanted to get done with this step so bad I just glued it up and thought I would just plane it flat but it would have been impossible and structurally unsound so I unglued it and gave up … or so I thought.

One day I went to my workshop (ie basement) and sharpened up my planes and started working on the bench top just to try one more time before getting it machine planed. I didn’t think I would be able to get it to the point where I thought it needed to be but I thought it couldn’t hurt to try. I worked on the sides of the two halves for a few minutes with my newly sharpened planes and then laid them together to see how far off I was and to my great shock they joined up almost perfectly! A few more passes with my jointer plane and they were ready to glue up. I then planed the face side as smooth and square as I could get it and the top was assembled.

The bottom was still nowhere near square but I thought it only really mattered if the top was square and if I went to all the effort of squaring up the bottom I would lose a lot of the thickness of the bench top. I couldn’t believe how nice the top turned out considering when I got the “boards” they still had the bark on them and were sitting in a pile of junk wood ready to be burned.

The top had a lot of holes in it so I filled them with an epoxy. I hope the epoxy holds up over the years. It seems pretty strong to me but that doesn’t mean after enough years of the wood shrinking and expanding it won’t just fall out.

Now it’s on to the base!

2 comments so far

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 2078 days

#1 posted 11-21-2012 01:14 PM

good work

-- Joel

View MarkSr's profile


215 posts in 2074 days

#2 posted 11-25-2012 06:39 AM

Good Job NicholasS, did you glue that top in three sections or just two? Just wondering, either way it was a tough job and it looks like it came out very nice.

Keep sending in the pics so we can see the finished bench

-- Mark, ”...NEWBEE: On the road to learning a lot; but; a lot more to learn…” ("My Granddad used to tell me, if you didn't learn something new today, it just wasn't worth getting out of bed")

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