A Workbench's Progress #2: How to use a half-gallon of glue on one project.

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Blog entry by TheGravedigger posted 05-30-2007 05:02 AM 2279 reads 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: In the Beginning Part 2 of A Workbench's Progress series Part 3: How much wood will $80 buy? »

Now I needed some wood. Since low cost was a priority (the vise hardware was setting me back enough as it was), I decided on basic whitewood studs. I know SYP would have been better, but if I was going to screw up, I didn’t want too much money involved. Besides, I reasoned, if it became unusable in a few years, I would have gotten my money’s worth, and could simply build a new one with better materials and more experience. The vise hardware and jaws would be reusable.

So, here I was at Home Depot, looking at the “premium” studs at $2.49 each. Just grab 20 and go, right?


This one was bowed, that one twisted, the next one bowed and twisted. Then there were the ones with chunks missing or wane. Wane? On Premium studs? 45 minutes later I had selected 20 that I could live with, and made my way to checkout. I commented to the cashier that I had never seen wane on premium studs before. “Oh,” she said, “Premium’s the brand name!”


Back at the shop, I ran the studs through the planer to insure consistent thickness and flat gluing surfaces (well, mostly). I then rough dimensioned to 6’6” to allow for slip in glue-up and at least one screw-up cutting to final length. I decided to do the glue-up in stages: I would make four subassemblies of five boards each, and then glue those together for the final surface. I used four pairs of pipe clamps (all I had) for primary clamping and 8 F-clamps (again, all I had) for cauls to keep the surfaces aligned. I realized after the fact that adding biscuits below the top surface would have helped alignment and saved me a lot of work later

I never realized how much glue it took to face-glue 20 2×4’s. I used over a pint of Titebond III on the first subassembly, and then got smart and bought a gallon. By the time I had finished gluing up the entire top, I had about 2/3’s of this gallon left. Wow!

Eventually, the glue-up was finished and my son and I (the top weighed close to 150 pounds by this point) got it up on the sawhorses, I was presented with a solid piece of wood that had considerable undulations between the subassemblies.

Up till now I had taken no pictures, and suddenly had the bright idea of making a photo record of the project. The rough benchtop is below:

Rough benchtop after glue-up

Obviously I had my work cut out for me.

More to come.

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

9 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13798 posts in 4334 days

#1 posted 05-30-2007 05:06 AM

Looks like good progress. That is a lot of glue.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4551 days

#2 posted 05-30-2007 05:54 AM

“premiums the brand name!” LOL.
That top will last you a life time.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4398 days

#3 posted 05-30-2007 12:16 PM

that’s a great table top .

“Premium” .. kinda like companies called “Green” or “Healthy” when they are far from Green and far from Healthy….. geez… but it works. We buy it… why, oh why are we so naive…

Looking great! Glad you thought of the camera before it was too late.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 4323 days

#4 posted 05-30-2007 04:05 PM

That’s one I hadn’t heard before “Premium’s the brand name.” What a marketing ploy. Some knuckle head earned his pay on that one. I wonder how many people have purchased them thinking it was the quality of the wood, not the name of the brand. :)

Now for the the hard part….getting a true flat top on that. Be patient, get a good set of winding sticks, a belt sander with a couple of belts and a crape stick to clean them with. I think there are a couple of articles on the Fine Woodworking website about doing this. Let me know if you can’t get to them and I will try and help you out.

Don’t forget to build a heavy base for this….my first bench was too light. It caused me no end of problems. Now I just use it as an assembly table.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View RickInTexas's profile


45 posts in 4290 days

#5 posted 05-30-2007 08:10 PM

Look’s like the top is coming out great. Looking at the end grain, the wood looks better than the “whitewood studs” that I see locally. Here they look almost pure white and an 8’ stud feels like a toothpick in weight. I agree with Greg in that they have a great marketing ploy if they got the brand name of the lumber to be Premium, I got a great laugh out of that one. Is the plan to leave it on saw horses for the time being, or are you building a base for it? If your building a base, I’m interested in what type of design you have, since I’m contemplating a bench for myself.

-- Rick - Spring, TX

View mot's profile


4922 posts in 4274 days

#6 posted 05-30-2007 08:20 PM

You’ve got some hand plane work ahead of you, but thankfully it’s not rock maple. Nice job and thanks for starting the photo record!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 4261 days

#7 posted 05-31-2007 12:17 AM

To Greg3G & mot: You’re right, surfacing was the hard part. That’ll be coming up a couple of installments down the road.

To RickInTexas: The sawhorses are just temporary. I’ll be starting on the base in a week or two. I’ve got the design pretty well nailed down in my head, and have a tentative lumber list. If I get bold enough, I may be able to rough something out in Google SketchUp. If I do (and don’t drive myself nuts in the process) I’ll try to post it.

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4325 days

#8 posted 05-31-2007 08:44 AM

I remember building mine out of hard maple. About 20 years ago and it is still going strong.

Don’t know if you are a golfer. Most golfers (duffers like Me) will switch to an older or less expensive ball when they get to a water hazard. Old golf teacher said not to do that. It allows you to not concentrate as much.

Same with woodworking. Always buy the best you can afford. If the wood is expensive you will pay more attention.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4376 days

#9 posted 07-01-2007 03:24 PM

Robert -

Absolutely beautiful glue-up! The surfacing is going to be fun :-)

Great photography!


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