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:
Obviously I had my work cut out for me.
More to come.
-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog: http://littlegoodpieces.wordpress.com