|Project by THEBIGRED1||posted 05-20-2011 12:23 AM||2186 views||1 time favorited||22 comments|
As this is my first attempt at posting a project, I would to thank you all for looking….and your patience as I become more familiar with the site.
As I am a cabinet maker by trade…..... it is refreshing to see a sit like this. With a tough economy and really tight time lines in my shop the zest for the craft itself has fallen away to some degree. I wish to share this project with you all….and other projects in the future in hopes of getting back to my roots. The very reason I chose this as my career. This project for example only gave me 96 hours total to complete the project…....I doubled those hours…..after everyone realized the challenges to follow. Fortunately, we made up for it in the end with mat. savings.
This bench that is off to the spray room is 24” wide…....and nearly 60’ long. The appearance of 5 1/2” thickness is really a 1 1/2” top slab with four 3/8×5 1/2” aprons glued on after (two each side)....with a plywood core. This after realizing that the oak alone was enormously expensive as a solid slab with 300 lamination’s 3/8” x 5 1/2” x 144’........not to mention the 450lb weight of only one section of this bench. Truly, over kill and wasteful in my opinion. The same look and durability could be achieved without depleting our oak supplies to that degree. With the approval of the plywood core from the architect, I knew I could still make the Co money and give a good product.
The challenge’s became apparent in the 64 lamination’s alone. Only 3-4 thousandth’s off on each lamination and your 1/8….or more off your mark and there is steel to fit into. The steel was ordered weeks in advance…...and was far from perfect itself. While I personally thought they did a great job in fabrication…..there is the simple fact that the welds distort the steel. I had quit a time fitting each section inside the 5/16” hollow steel…..as each one was different. Every connection was marked due to this custom fit.
In addition to material thickness…....there is glue do deal with….....and simple clamp pressure. While in the form, I had to revisit the clamp pressure over and over again in a scramble to overcome the dry time…....even while extended set glue was used. I realized after the first glue-up in this out of the ordinary project that achieving a set width with these factors was impossible. So I fashioned a radius jig and flush trimmed the blank to the proper width, then glued on the four 3-8” x 5 1/2” aprons to achieve the width…..plus some wiggle room to sand into the steel. We have about 150 pipe clamps in my shop and I sure had them tied up in the multiple glue ups! And feeding the 200lb blanks into the time saver thickness sander was a challenge. And helping that radius through the planer and the sander was a challenge as well I assure you. All and all I was able to get it done with great results and ease the owner’s worries about time spent. I chose to drill 3/8” holes and use drywall screws with a washer to allow expansion/contraction with so much wood involved…..as well as down size the plywood core to allow the blank to shrink a bit.
All and all? The steel and bench should chime in about 2,000lbs.
Thanks for looking friends,
-- Never give in to speed over quality.....when you are done that is all that matters.