Workbench #2: Top and Base Glue-up

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Blog entry by VTWoody posted 03-29-2008 04:13 PM 2903 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Initial lumber and milling Part 2 of Workbench series Part 3: Base and sundries »

Okay, I think I failed to emphasize in the first post how much of a learning experience this was for me. I knew that I would learn a bunch before I started, but I definitely didn’t know how much. The more time I spend in the shop, the more I realize I do not know, and wish I could spend more time and have more room, and have more time, etc.

This entry is going to be about the next stage of this process of building a workbench. At some point after I had milled up the many pieces for the top, I decided that I did not just want it to be Douglas Fir all the way across the top. I just thought it might look a little too bland. I think it was around the time I was doing the initial glueeup of the top 6” sections.

You can see if you look closely in the next photo that I didn’t have them all completely the same height. I did this because I intended to run them through the planer as sections. I think that in retrospect that I would have liked to have had the top a little thicker and that I might have put more thought into this particular part rather than what I did. It did end up working out, but I still would have liked it thicker.

The next picture shows all four of the top sections glued up and planed.

Like I said before, I wanted a little more visual appeal, and I had seen a photo in one or both of the books I was reading that had a bench with accent strips in a darker wood with that darker wood also being the apron around the edges. I had noticed that my local Woodcraft had some nice 8/4 Sapele and thought that the dark brown Mahogany color would look good around all of the Douglas Fir. I also thought that the vises would be a little bit more effective with the denser wood as the main wood. Here is a picture of the 3/4” wide sections that I put in between the 6” Douglas Fir chunks.

This next photo is the first of many things that taught me how to better tuneup my machines. In this case, the planer. I have the Delta 13” planer, and while I love it, when I first got it, and when I was first using it, there was definitely some snipe involved in all of my workpieces. You will notice in the bottom right hand corner of the picture on the end of one of the Douglas Fir sections that there was some definite snipe. I loved the look of the Sapele with the Fir, but I ended up having the cut a little more of the ends off because of the Snipe than I had wanted to. My Father-in-Law was over for dinner one night and he noticed the snipe and asked what it was. I told him, but it irked me that I had to deal with it. I eventually went through the manual for the planer reading every word and then checked a few other sites and realized that if you cant the tables up just a fraction that almost, if not all, of the snipe goes away. One major woodworking machine tuned up.

Since I had the chunks for the top about done, I figured I would want to start working on the base so that I could have somewhere to put the top once I got it all glued up. This whole process involved a great deal of moving things around for each subsection of the whole workbench to be built with the size constraints of my garage (and the incredibly lame placement of our chimney, which by the way, doesn’t work because it is cracked in several places, so it uses up 10 square feet of shop space and wall in a place that is very inconvenient) Here are the blanks for the legs, feet, and top of the base. You might notice that I have a couple of extra blanks, but the way the cutlist worked, I had a few extra pieces that wouldn’t go anywhere else, so I milled a couple of extra in case.

The next few pictures are of the glueup of the legs with their readymade tenons. I think I will leave the finetuning of the legs, mortising the feet and top and the glue up of the base for the next entry. Thanks for reading.

Oh, and I almost forgot, along the way (since I drew it out so long), I was able to purchase and receive a few tools as gifts that definitely helped out in the process. The first of these that was truly significant was the new Starrett 12” square that I picked up. My old one was a cheapie from HD and it turned out that it wasn’t all that square to begin with and was the reason that some of my earlier stuff wasn’t quite square.
Here is a picture of the new square…well worth the extra money, that is for sure.

8 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3818 days

#1 posted 03-29-2008 04:31 PM

Hi VT Woody,

I really like step-wise construction posts. Yours is very interesting. I have one of these on my to do list so I will be following your posts with interest.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View kem's profile


56 posts in 3714 days

#2 posted 03-29-2008 05:26 PM

The sapele really looks fantastic in that top! And I envy that starrett combo. I have their 4” double square and absolutely love it. I’m looking forward to the next installment of your workbench adventure.

-- Kevin

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3993 days

#3 posted 03-29-2008 06:14 PM

Looking good!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3878 days

#4 posted 03-29-2008 07:12 PM

Sweet. Looks like a no nonsense bench. I like it.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3987 days

#5 posted 03-29-2008 09:35 PM

The sapele looks really nice Woody, I was thinking of doing something similar on my bench and seeing how great yours looks seals the deal :)

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3984 days

#6 posted 03-29-2008 11:32 PM

That is one good looking bench. Keep us posted.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3958 days

#7 posted 03-30-2008 01:16 AM

That oughta work.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1229 posts in 3995 days

#8 posted 04-03-2008 09:26 AM

Nice bench, be careful about moving it, check my blog about liftling heavy objects by yourself. My workbench project broke my arm. Yours is looking very good sar far and thanks for the blog series. Bob

-- Bob A in NJ

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