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Bowling Alley Workbench #3: Back to Square1... Committed to new Design - legs are ready.

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 1894 days ago 7789 reads 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Design B...B...Because I said so. -more criticism please Part 3 of Bowling Alley Workbench series Part 4: Look at them Legs... »

so After setting on the last design (see previous post in this series) I went out to disassemble the bowling alley laminated top – the purpose was to remove all the nails, so that I can drill the dog holes, and also laminate it in a double stack to give me a 4” top on the perimeter (5” in from the edges – for clamping purposes, and leg attachments).

This idea turned to be disastrous. The nails are hardened steel, and twisted making the job of pulling them out
ridiculously almost-impossible. and the lumber being rock-maple didn’t really help much either. half of the nails pulled out after some cursing and fightings, the other half either snapped off in half (leaving half of the nail in the wood – without the nail head – making it even harder to get out) or just wouldn’t budge.

I spent a full day, and was able to take apart ~6 laminated board – half of them still have broken nails in them (so mission NOT accomplished even on those). this was a test piece and was only ~60” long- the real thing is ~25 of those, and at ~80” long.

I want to build a bench so that I can do woodworking – the idea of spending ~14 full days pulling nails does not appeal to me. I have decided to dump this idea, and go back to the drawing table.

The current idea now is to leave as much of the top as I possibly can AS IS, with the nails holding the laminations. while taking apart the MINIMUM amount of boards to give me (1) dog holes strips, (2) an extension (to keep the dog holes from having interferences from the legs), (3) leg vise (yes, gonna make it from the same material), and (4) a few more strips to double up the top’s thickness around the perimeter for clamping applications, and for a sliding deadman ( and later on a sliding 2nd leg vise). yes. it’s still quite a bit of nail pulling – but much less than the original plan, and some of those can wait for later, so the nail pulling can be done in steps. I’m still not keen about this nail pulling thing, but I already have some of the boards done… so it’ll be minimized.

this is what I’m planning to have (notice the top is made of 1 large piece that is what I’ll leave with the nails in):

the top will be ~2 1/4” thick of hard rock-maple. the edges will be skirted at 4” thick to hide the rails for the sliding deadman, and the vise mechanism. it will also be beefed up a little on the inside to make the edge of the top 4” for clamping applications around the edges.

here is what it should look like:

I have already committed to this design over the weekend, as I went to HD to pick up the lumber for the legs. while at HD. I noticed their lumber is marked as HEM-FIR and another as SPF – not being familiar with those species (I’m familiar with DOUGLAS-FIR but that seemed different, and SYP (Southern Yellow Pine)) I went to 2 of the local lumber employees at that store. 1 didn’t know what it means (“errr…. I think it’s some sort of FIR” – brilliant … I figured that much myself) and the other regarded the SPF (after getting back home and googling it – now I know it’s a combination of Spruce-Pine-Fir) as “Premium Lumber”... I asked him if he’s sure the ‘P’ stands for Premium and not for Pine…. another genius… needless to say – I went home researched those names, and went back to pick up the HEM-FIR which is slightly less capable of Douglas Fir -but since I only need it for the base, it doesn’t matter much. It has nice straight grain patterns.

After getting back home, I ripped the lumber on the Bandsaw to a more manageable size – which I then jointed 1 face (finally tuned the jointer perfectly and was getting great results) – then planed 2nd face on the planer and brought everything to uniform thickness. then jointed 1 edge on jointer, and ripped 2nd edge on the TS. this was the first “heavy duty” ripping job I’ve done on the Ridgid table saw and it performed beautifully- however I believe that using a ripping blade would work much better than the WWII in this case. At that point I setup a stop on my miter gauge at 32 1/2” from the blade, and cut the ends of the boards all to length. I left 4 boards at 33” (1 for each leg) which will be the tenon that will align the top with the base (I’m not too keen about routing any mortises in the top with all the nails- so I kept it to a minimal size and depth – just to align it, not really to fasten them together).

Next came the glue up process – it left some things to be desired. 1 leg I glued all 4 pieces at the same time as opposed to the other legs which I did in 2 halfs which I then glued up together. that one leg shows some gaps in the seems – I guess the cauls weren’t good enough at glueup time. live and learn.

After glue up – it was hand planing galore! there is just something so relaxing and satisfying in seeing those seem lines between the boards disappear as you plane them down. I used my #4 smoother, and a card scraper to even out the seems, and clean out the sides of the legs (not much to plane down, as the glue up was pretty much on the money). so here is what I’ve got to start with:

these are 5”x5”x32 1/2” with a 1/2” tenon sticking up from it. Next will be mortising and connecting each pair of legs together.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.



15 comments so far

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3033 days


#1 posted 1894 days ago

I used the bowling alley for the middle boards and used walnut, cherry and maple for the side pieces that I drilled for the dog holes.

I marked where the holes would be drilled and them used glue and nails to put my new boards on. I just kept the nails away from where the holes would be drilled.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2281 days


#2 posted 1894 days ago

I know Karson – my problem, is that except for the bowling alley, I don’t have any other lumber that I could use for the top -everything else I have it shorts (3’ max) and a combination of cherry/maple/mahogany/oak – pieces that are hard to matchup, and I’d rather use for smaller projects. I figured, if I can get just enough of this material off and clean it out- I’ll have something that will match the rest (not really in terms of color – I would actually rather get a nice accent if I could- but in terms of thickness and length)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 2387 days


#3 posted 1894 days ago

Man that is looking good! Did you decide to go with the Roubo base?

Sorry to hear about the difficulty in pulling the nails. Have you seen this review”:http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/647 on a tool for pulling nails.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2281 days


#4 posted 1894 days ago

Thanks sIKE, I mean it- you’re first response made the wheels start turning, and then Tim came and it just blew away. yes , it’ll basically be a Roubo, but with a 2.25” top with a 4” thick skirt.

I’ve seen that tool, and the problem is that the only reviews on it (even on Amazon) seems to be coming from the manufacturer. – mmmmmm, call me skeptic, but I need a bit more proof before pulling the trigger on ANYTHING ONLINE. I’m using a cat-paw and a hammer, and rockmaple is amazingly hard. not sure how much leverage this tool would be able to supply to get these nails out… although I am VERY curious about it -if only I could find it locally.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3033 days


#5 posted 1894 days ago

What I’ve also done is use an air tool that has a thin grinding blade. I’ve heard them called muffler tools for cutting rusted bolts off mufflers.

I used it to grind the nails off and would actually go below the surface and then pry the board off. Cut the nails again and then pry. I was able to take many boards off that way.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2281 days


#6 posted 1893 days ago

Thanks Karson, I’ll give this a try- I have a metal 4” grinder (and a 2.5”). did you leave the cutoff nail pieces in the wood doing that? or did you punch them out somehow?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View jlsmith5963's profile

jlsmith5963

297 posts in 1981 days


#7 posted 1893 days ago

It may be that you have already tried this but you didn’t mention it, so have you tried hammering them out? You can try either direction. In reverse its just banging on the point (trying not to bend the nail). You should be able to get some of the nail up and thus making the rest easier to pull. You can also try using a nail set and hammering the nail through front to back. Also turning the claw 90 deg to the ‘normal’ way of grabbing the raised nail allows you to pinch the nail in the claw and can sometimes provide better leverage. No matter what its going to be time consuming to get them all out…

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1467 posts in 2198 days


#8 posted 1893 days ago

I feel your pain, I re-claimed some 150 yr old red oak from a farm house being remodeled, There were a ton of nails and they broke off, just had to dig them out. Anyway the legs look good, glad to see your making progress!

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3033 days


#9 posted 1893 days ago

These nails are hardened and they don’t bend they break.

I would grind as much off as I could below the surface (Side) and then pry the board of the nail rements. If it the nail stuck in the piece that I was prying off I’d use a punch to drive it out.

Both the cutoff tool and the punch sets I got at Harbor freight

Since the invisable side (where all of the nailing is done) when you get finished. It’s no problem , visually or structuraly trying to get rid of as much nail as you could before you pry the board off.

On a bowling alley the nails are driven into the grove on the board. On mine the nails were hardened and went through 2 1/2 boards.

I’d try to get as much of the nail gone through grinding so the board would pry off. These boards are not glued to one another in the bowling alley the are just nailed together. The only glue that I found was when their was a end to end joint in the boards. Since the nails were random you had to be very careful sawing the alley.

I used a nail cutting board in a skill saw to get the blank down to the approx size )length) and if there was no nails then I’d trim it up on my table saw.

On this mini bench I added walnut to the sides and drilled my bench dos in there.

My mini work bench.
Click for details

My larger one.
Click for details

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2281 days


#10 posted 1893 days ago

Yes Kason, My top is the same – the nails are going through 2 1/2 boards – so in essence, there is a grouping of 3 nails every 6” or so in EACH board… it’s a nightmare. I’ll try the grinding method, and punching the remnants out with a punch (now I really have an excuse to get a punch set). Thanks for the tips – they are most useful at a time like this.

we’ll see- I might get lazy, and drop the skirt idea, depending on how much those nails bite back.

jlsmith – I tried hammering them, cutting them, pulling them, pushing them, sweet-talk them, took them to the movies, fancy dinner….nothing worked…

Timbo – since you have the experience. I’ll leave my garage open – could you stop by and kinda take them nails out for me sometime when you have a moment? – THANK YOU :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View jlsmith5963's profile

jlsmith5963

297 posts in 1981 days


#11 posted 1893 days ago

I had a nasty battle with some old 3” twisted shank nails when I was trying to reclaim some lumber from a remodeling I was doing… nasty bit of business… I wish you patience and perseverance.

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View normanfans's profile

normanfans

3 posts in 1306 days


#12 posted 1306 days ago

Not sure if this helps, but for all nail problems I use a Nail Hunter – but I suspect yours could be a deep seeded problem!

-- Norman - http://www.alertelectrical.com

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2281 days


#13 posted 1305 days ago

Thanks Norma, I do have a nail hunter, and it works well for some applications but not for this – not even close. But I did find a work process to deal with those nails and blogged about it.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View ChrisMc45's profile

ChrisMc45

94 posts in 1492 days


#14 posted 973 days ago

From the SketchUp drawing, the double-dovetails to hold the end-caps look very challenging! I am working through my own bowling-alley bench creation (solid-core doors from base bowling alley, not rock hard maple), using your works as inspiration. Very well thought-out thus far.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2281 days


#15 posted 973 days ago

Thanks ChrisMc45. looking back I’d probably do the dovetails differently (design wise). would be interested to see your own creation. you should post it!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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