My First Workbench #8: Day 8: Still gluing the top...

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Blog entry by RaggedKerf posted 08-20-2012 11:37 AM 1313 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Day 7: Progress and lots of it! Part 8 of My First Workbench series Part 9: Day 9: Still gluing...and my first tenon! »

To see this post with pictures, please click here!

Nothing nearly so exciting as yesterday’s progress for today. I got up early and glued up section number 3 of the top and did nothing else until the early afternoon. That’s when section 4 got glued up—-the best, smoothest one yet! It was going to be the back of the workbench, but because it looks so nice, I may make it the front!

Then I decided to try my hand at smoothing out the tops of the individual sections to see if that would make it easier on me when I got everything all assembled. And to my surprise and joy, it took less than 10 minutes of light planning and frequent checks with a 3ft level to flatten out an entire section!

I’ve seen all the great pictures of workbenches at places like Lumberjocks and admired the skill and ability people have in making such nice flat, sharp edged bench tops but…I never thought I’d come close to that myself. Yet, here it is—-not nearly perfection (it is my first attempt after all) but for me, it’s the best work I’ve ever created!

However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t made plenty of mistakes so far. For instance, I realized last night that I probably should have put all the hand planed edges (resulting in thicker boards, about 3.5”) in the middle of the bench and surround them with all the circular saw-trimmed boards (which are all a uniform 3” thick). Then the tennons for the legs would have a nice uniform surface to contact. Now, because I decided (looking down on the bench top) that I want such and such board here, and that one in the front, the hand planed, thicker boards are scattered all throughout the various glued up sections. The result? Nice looking on top, but underneath, she looks pretty ragged.

Will this affect my ability to seat the legs properly? Only time will tell. Maybe by Tuesday.

I can’t dwell on it, though. I’ve got to focus on shaving the sides of the glued up sections for a nice snug fit, planning the tops to get it about as smooth as I can before the top appears as a whole, and assembling the base. That should keep me busy for a while I think.

However, I am left with a bit of a problem. Glue up #2. I admit, it was sloppy.

Not as bad as the first one, but not nearly as nice as the third and nowhere near as nice as the last glue up. So…I don’t think I’ll have too much problem planning down the high points (the rest of the length of the 4 boards is pretty similar as far as squared up on the top) at the end.

This is the real kicker: click here to see the pictures.

This is the left end of glue up #1, which I originally thought would be the front left corner of the bench. How I let this slide out of square so bad I don’t even know (and may not even want to know).

My question to all you more experienced woodwrights out there is what is the best way to fix this? The first plank (farthest to the left) is up about 1/8” over the top of the others. The next, is about that far below the level I want for the top. The next two are back about where the first plank is. I get that I could simply plane the three boards down to meet the lower board…but won’t that make the entire top lopsided or will I have to angle it so this side of the bench will just be thinner? Or, is there some way to…I don’t know, fill it in to bring it back to level?

This section may end up ultimately against the wall, so as far as ugliness, I’m not all that concerned. No dog holes or mortises for the legs have been cut at this point. So I have a little wiggle room.

I ask you, what would you do?

-- Steve

2 comments so far

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3991 days

#1 posted 08-20-2012 05:40 PM

You could scab in a piece in the void on that second piece in. Once it’s glued in, then plane it flat. Otherwise, you’ll sacrifice quite a bit of thickness if you bring the other pieces down to meet that misaligned one. Just my .02.

-- Robb

View RaggedKerf's profile


425 posts in 2177 days

#2 posted 08-20-2012 09:47 PM

You know, I could use one of the thinner cutoffs from when I trimmed the edges of the 2×4s with the circular saw…you might be on to something! Thanks for replying! I knew I’d be able to get some help here.

-- Steve

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