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.