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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 557 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RichardDePetris

45 posts in 1147 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.


7 replies so far

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mramseyISU

419 posts in 1007 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

7910 posts in 1842 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

265 posts in 1912 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

45 posts in 1147 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

558 posts in 861 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

45 posts in 1147 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

558 posts in 861 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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