Laminating thick hardwood stock

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by indianawoodbutcher posted 02-03-2011 01:31 AM 5536 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am seeking guidance from some more experienced LJs. Recently, I completed two projects that required me to laminate many thick boards together to make massive pieces. The first was my workbench. I tried to keep it simple by just using milled 2×4’s laminated together to make the work surface. The second project was my wife’s dinette table. I made a 40” X 40” bar height maple table that is 2 1/2” thick.

The issue I ran into with both projects involved keeping the pieces flush, square, even, etc. The dinette was especially challenging. I clued it all together, cut it apart, replaned everything and tried again.

At one point, I even drilled holes through each and every piece so I could insert a 3/4” threaded bars to pull the pieces together.

Ultimately, I eliminated the threaded rod and just did a lot of gluing, grinding and sanding. The table completely defeated my inspiration to work with heavy, thick pieces of wood.

I am probably not really spelling this out enough, but can anyone just give me some good tips regarding best practices for laminating thick stock.

I should mention that I do not have a joiner. I always have to use my table saw and planar to get the edges smooth and square. Not the perfect technique, but it works (sometimes).

3 comments so far

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3596 days

#1 posted 02-03-2011 02:14 AM

First, experience through practice will make this easier and will give you better results. I’ve made a few big butcher blocks and only used my tablesaw and planer. Good square cuts with clean sharp blades is all you need. Plus good clamping techniques. You can see that I set the pieces using parallel clamps to keep everything as flat as possible and then add pipe clamps for the needed pressure. Maple is one of those hardwoods, however, that requires a lot of clamping force….


I did 5 glue ups small enough to fit through my planer and then glued those pieces together to get my final block. Sometimes needed to clamp the faces together to keep them aligned. Did a bunch of dry runs before applying glue and then glued when I felt confident….

-- Childress Woodworks

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3161 days

#2 posted 02-03-2011 03:33 AM

Hey Indy, keep trying. You are closer than you think. And we are all visual learners here, hint hint. A photo or two would help to see where your process needs adjustment. Just don’t quit now when you are at the threshold.

Childress, that is a beautiful laminated top. Thanks for sharing.


View indianawoodbutcher's profile


34 posts in 2744 days

#3 posted 02-03-2011 04:42 AM

That is an awesome slab. One of my long term (in my mind) projects is to make a walnut top for our kitchen island. I just think it would be a great conversation piece if I can get it done. Since I tried the work bench and the dinette table, I discoverd the application of horizontal clamps to help align the pieces and keep everything even. I could use a few more heavy duty clamps to share the pressure.
Thanks for the pictures and advice. Really appreciated.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics