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Forum topic by chainsawdan posted 12-20-2015 02:08 PM 623 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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chainsawdan

5 posts in 797 days


12-20-2015 02:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oak workbench milling traditional

So I got a pile of oak 4×4s basically for free. I’m planning on building a workbench, they’re currently acclimatizing to my shop. My issue is that they all have pith(the reason the are free). I don’t want to be talked out of using them as I’ll never be able to afford a solid hardwood bench otherwise. My question is what would be the best way to construct the top to avoid it moving? Should I use tongue and groove? I considered drilling a few holes across it and pinning it with a few large dowels. Would I be safe to just laminate it and pray?


10 replies so far

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johnstoneb

2143 posts in 1632 days


#1 posted 12-20-2015 02:15 PM

Wood moves That a fact. You have 4×4’s they are not going to move all that much and it will be pretty much equal all 4 directions.. I would glue them up maybe a few dowels or biscuits to keep lined up while clamping. 4” thick bench is going to be heavy. You might want to resaw down to 3” and have some 1” stock left for other things. That would lighten things up a bit. It’s your bench, your choice.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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chainsawdan

5 posts in 797 days


#2 posted 12-20-2015 02:26 PM

Ya, I know, my concern is more that they are sawn out of the center of the log and whether or not the movement will tear my bench apart.

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jdh122

879 posts in 2277 days


#3 posted 12-20-2015 02:33 PM

I would rip them down the “middle” (ie wherever the pith is in each board) on the tablesaw. And then glue it all back together.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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jdmaher

384 posts in 2039 days


#4 posted 12-20-2015 03:29 PM

Log centers often have great straight-grain wood on either side of the pith.

Haven’t done it with 4×4s, but if I see a couple of long 1 or 2×12s at a big box with an obvious center, I’ll take ‘em and rip out the pith and glue ‘em back together. Wind up with really good, straight grain, wide-enough, stable boards.

I guess on 4×4s, I’d be more careful not to rip out too much, just the minimum. I’d probably use biscuits – just for alignment. When you get all those pieces glued together, it’s gonna behave like a monolithic slab.

Nominal 4×4 is only 3.5”. Are yours a true 4” thick? If they’re 3.5”, I don’t think that’s too much for a bench top.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4448 posts in 3420 days


#5 posted 12-20-2015 04:03 PM

If you’re planning on using hold fasts you will need to counter bore from the bottom of the surface a bit. That way the hold fasts will be able to “cock” in the holes. My bench top is 2 1/2” thick. the hold fasts work well with that dimension.
I only mention that ‘cause it’ll be easier to counter bore before you attach the top.
Just a thought.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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chainsawdan

5 posts in 797 days


#6 posted 12-20-2015 05:01 PM

They’re a true 4” thick, I figure I’ll lose a 1/2” jointing and flattening them though. I was planning on dog holes and holdfasts, I always thought the thicker the better for holdfasts.

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johnstoneb

2143 posts in 1632 days


#7 posted 12-20-2015 05:04 PM

The pith causes cup usually. In a 2×12 you have 12” of wood to cup and only 2” to counter it. A 4×4 the stress is more or less equal all the way around. I have never seen a 4×4 cup.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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jdh122

879 posts in 2277 days


#8 posted 12-20-2015 05:13 PM

The concern with thicker benches is that the angle for a holdfast to “cock” in the hole is too small (hence the suggestion to add a relief on the bottom side). But I’m not sure 3.5 inches is a concern – my bench is made from 2X4s on their side and holdfasts hold very fast in it.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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daddywoofdawg

1010 posts in 1035 days


#9 posted 12-20-2015 05:21 PM

I have some oak 4×4 formerly used as pipe pallets,yes a 4×4 will twist,I have a few.
I would rip a 1” board out of the center I.E 1/2” either side of the center,then mill and glue back together.

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daddywoofdawg

1010 posts in 1035 days


#10 posted 12-20-2015 05:22 PM

I have some oak 4×4 formerly used as pipe pallets,yes a 4×4 will twist,I have a few.
I would rip a 1” board out of the center I.E 1/2” either side of the center,then mill and glue back together.

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