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Best way to laminate a workbench top with short stick?

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Forum topic by RichardDePetris posted 05-02-2016 12:19 AM 2112 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RichardDePetris

59 posts in 1381 days


05-02-2016 12:19 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question joining

Over the past couple of years, I have amassed a sizable pile of pallet stackers. Every time I’m at the Borg, I stop at the lumber department to see if they have any interesting culled lumber. Usually the offerings are scant, but I always manage to scrounge a few pallet stickers from the trash bin.They are usually Southern Yellow Pine and have a 3/4” or 1” inch groove where plastic tie-down straps rest on to secure lumber during transit. Unlike regular pallet wood, they have no fasteners, except for the easily visible and removable staple. Best of all, they are free (as in fries).

I’m planning a workbench build and I would like to use the pallet stickers as stock material. I plan on sawing the grooves off, leaving anywhere from 3/4” to 1 1/2” inch of stock thickness and then laminate them together to build up thicker stock.

It should work well for legs and rails, but the top poses a challenge. Given that this will be a small workbench, the thickness can be 1 1/2” to 2” and the thickest side of the sticker is 1 1/2 to 2”. The length of the top, however. will be around 5’, significantly longer than the stickers.

I am contemplating two options. The first one is to just stagger the laminations like a wood floor. The second one, is to laminate the stock depth-wise instead of lengthwise. I haven’t seen many workbenches using this lamination style, but it is common in butcher block counters and tables.

This leads to my questions. Will any of my two options compromise the structure or flatness of the top? Thanks in advance.


16 replies so far

View mramseyISU's profile

mramseyISU

506 posts in 1241 days


#1 posted 05-02-2016 01:21 AM

I built a 6’ bench out of 3’ long boards and so far it seems to be in once piece. I guess that makes me qualitied to answer. What I did was built it in sections. I staggered the joints so it looked like it was a subway tile pattern. You’ll probably want to take a full length board and the face glue a half length board and then face glue a full length board to the first full length board. You can then build off of that.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

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Rick M

9810 posts in 2075 days


#2 posted 05-02-2016 01:34 AM

I would stagger the rows and scarf the end grain joints.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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benchbuilder

284 posts in 2146 days


#3 posted 05-02-2016 02:10 AM

I believe I would laminate two full lenghts together with the grove still on and facing each other, giving you more thickness. Doing this and then scarf these laminates together with more laminates to get your length plus some extra to allow for cutoff at the ends. You will waste less wood and get nice long sections to work with.

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RichardDePetris

59 posts in 1381 days


#4 posted 05-02-2016 08:48 PM

Thanks everyone.

I really like the idea of leaving the grooves on (get your groove on), but the ends of the bench will have a 1 1/2×3/4 hollow showing. I guess I can add breadboards or if I am feeling crafty, I can glue a square plug at the end using contrasting wood. I might try a combination of a loose tenon and scarf joint since the groove can be used as a mortise. Interesting idea!

Does leaving the groove make the top any more fragile? A heavy hammer blow shouldn’t go through it? Right? I think the thinnest side might be around the internal groove might be around 3/4”. I imagine the internal grooves may make the top lighter, which is a good thing if I have need to move it around. I can always drill well holes to the groove from the top and fill the grooves with lead shot if more heft is required (kidding).


I believe I would laminate two full lenghts together with the grove still on and facing each other, giving you more thickness. Doing this and then scarf these laminates together with more laminates to get your length plus some extra to allow for cutoff at the ends. You will waste less wood and get nice long sections to work with.

- benchbuilder

View splatman's profile

splatman

586 posts in 1094 days


#5 posted 05-03-2016 12:02 AM

Sort the lumber by width, groove width, and groove depth. Glue together 2 like boards with the grooves facing together, and glue a stick (cut to double groove depth x groove width) into the grooves, like a spline (like in the bottom of the image). Better: glue together 4 at a time. Cut 1 in ½, so you can stagger the boards like this (top):

Or glue 6 or more together like in the middle.

After the glue is dry, plane and laminate together those ~8’ long splined groups side-by-side to make your bench top.

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RichardDePetris

59 posts in 1381 days


#6 posted 05-03-2016 12:07 AM

Did you intend to have an illustration because my browser just escaped the hell out of your ASCII graphic cs. LOL!

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splatman

586 posts in 1094 days


#7 posted 05-03-2016 12:43 AM

Yes, I did draw some ASCII art, but I suspect LJs does not like it. I saw the same issue you describe when I posted the message. I spent the next ½ hour creating an image with Paint.net. Lesson: ASCII art and LJs does not mix.

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RichardDePetris

59 posts in 1381 days


#8 posted 12-13-2016 05:43 PM

I am still in the planning stage. I’ve decided to go with Splatman’s suggestion. I am planning to use an angled scarf joint for gluing the board end to end. The problem is how do you clamp scarf joints together so that they are closed up?

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BurlyBob

4604 posts in 1961 days


#9 posted 12-13-2016 05:48 PM

Check out the workbench smackdown forum. Fridge built a bench just like your talking about. He’s got lots of photos. I’m sure he’d be a good resource for advice.

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Rick M

9810 posts in 2075 days


#10 posted 12-13-2016 06:23 PM

Guitar makers run into that all the time, for the most part you just clamp the scarf together. The end grain on end grain doesn’t slide as badly as side grain. When I’ve done it, I clamp the sides to keep them together then clamp the top. Don’t get carried away with the glue.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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RichardDePetris

59 posts in 1381 days


#11 posted 12-13-2016 07:00 PM

Boy, I overthought this one. The two angled ends will be clamped just like a regular face lamination and will slide in position revealing no gap.

TheFridge’s workbench is inspirational. His approach is way more ambitious than mine. He uses different species and lengths, wjhile Imam worried about the basics.

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MrUnix

5432 posts in 1894 days


#12 posted 12-13-2016 07:28 PM

I was given a truck load of those things several years ago (found on CL for free), but they were white oak, not pine. I’ve often thought about what I could use them for, and this thread has given me some much needed inspiration :)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Holt's profile

Holt

126 posts in 2324 days


#13 posted 12-13-2016 07:47 PM

You could use a finger joint router bit to attach the pieces end to end instead of using a scarf joint. My Ikea beech has the strips joined in that fashion.

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

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RichardDePetris

59 posts in 1381 days


#14 posted 12-14-2016 03:19 AM

What would be the advantage? I think you also have to clamp the boards lengthwise to ensure the fingers are tight.


You could use a finger joint router bit to attach the pieces end to end instead of using a scarf joint. My Ikea beech has the strips joined in that fashion.

- Holt


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Holt

126 posts in 2324 days


#15 posted 07-25-2017 01:22 PM

I think the only real advantage would be alignment


What would be the advantage? I think you also have to clamp the boards lengthwise to ensure the fingers are tight.

You could use a finger joint router bit to attach the pieces end to end instead of using a scarf joint. My Ikea beech has the strips joined in that fashion.

- Holt

- RichardDePetris


-- ...Specialization is for insects.

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