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Bench top lamination question

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Forum topic by red0ak posted 06-16-2016 02:35 PM 504 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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red0ak

10 posts in 173 days


06-16-2016 02:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question trick tip

Making a workbench top with two laminated slabs and a tool well in-between. Each slab should be 12” wide x 4” deep. Is it better to laminate two quartersawn 2×12s, four flatsawn 2×6s, or six flatsawn 2×4s? Assuming the dimensions are real, after planing. Plan is to use SYP. Need to figure out the cut list…


15 replies so far

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gargey

467 posts in 239 days


#1 posted 06-16-2016 02:47 PM

Dude, look around. Zero examples of laminated 2×12s… 10,000 trillion bajillion laminated 2×4s. Think they might be doing it for a reason?

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Richard H

489 posts in 1144 days


#2 posted 06-16-2016 03:03 PM

I wouldn’t say there are no examples. The Roubo style workbench made popular recently used laminated tops with the pieces on their edge for stability and thickness but there are numerous examples of solid timbers being used for a top instead especially in the English workbenches. Two 2X12’s especially quartersawn glued together would make a pretty stable top and I highly doubt it would be any more susceptible to warping than a bunch of 4” flat sawn pieced glued on edge to each other.

Before the Roubo that’s shown in my projects I had a bench made from 4X6’s. it was ugly but very solid and I never experienced any issues with stability even using off the rack construction lumber. I only had to get rid of it because I didn’t have the room to move it because I glued the legs together instead of making the knockdown. Otherwise I would probably still be using it.

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bondogaposis

4028 posts in 1814 days


#3 posted 06-16-2016 03:30 PM

The best way is to use 2×12s and then cut out the pith and other defects then rip them to width and laminate them vertically. There a lot of waste, but construction grade lumber is cheap, so why not?

-- Bondo Gaposis

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red0ak

10 posts in 173 days


#4 posted 06-16-2016 04:31 PM

Thanks for the responses.

I see a lot of examples with smaller boards laminated, but I understood that to be for reducing cost and since they are more available. I ask since there are several mills near where I live so SYP 2×12s come up a lot on CL. I’d rather understand reasoning than blindly follow other’s examples ;)

I’ll go with the 2×12s. If they are pretty clean I’ll laminate them together otherwise rip them smaller.

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1833 days


#5 posted 06-16-2016 05:41 PM



The best way is to use 2×12s and then cut out the pith and other defects then rip them to width and laminate them vertically. There a lot of waste, but construction grade lumber is cheap, so why not?

- bondogaposis

This is what I did, with douglas fir, and it worked out well for me (although I only went 2.25” thick).

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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brtech

896 posts in 2386 days


#6 posted 06-16-2016 05:51 PM

Unless this isn’t construction lumber, you can’t get a 4” thickness out of two layers of 2×12, and you can’t get a 12” width with six 2×4s OR get a 4” thickness. If it’s really 8/4 finished S4S and a full 12” wide you can.

You can cut two 4” x 1.5” pieces out of a construction 2×10 and lose a small amount of pith and/or edge damage and laminate 8 of those to make 4” x 12”. You can do the same with a 2×12 and get a much nicer slab.

With eight 2×4s you can get a 12×3 1/2 thick slab.

Lots of benches really are laminated 2×4”s which gets a 3 1/2” thick top. Two construction 2×12s only gets a 3” top. Since it’s hard to get really straight construction lumber, we often plane the rough lumber down, which further pushes you into ripping 2×10s or 2×12s to get the parts the size you want, straight enough, and without the rounded over edges.

Bring your moisture meter when you pick your lumber out. You don’t want to be making your bench out of wet wood.
SYP is really hard for a softwood, and it makes a great bench. Mine is two 12 x about 3 3/4 split. I used 2×10s but if I did it over, I’d use 2×12s”.

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red0ak

10 posts in 173 days


#7 posted 06-16-2016 06:19 PM



Unless this isn t construction lumber, you can t get a 4” thickness out of two layers of 2×12, and you can t get a 12” width with six 2×4s OR get a 4” thickness. If it s really 8/4 finished S4S and a full 12” wide you can.

You can cut two 4” x 1.5” pieces out of a construction 2×10 and lose a small amount of pith and/or edge damage and laminate 8 of those to make 4” x 12”. You can do the same with a 2×12 and get a much nicer slab.

With eight 2×4s you can get a 12×3 1/2 thick slab.

Lots of benches really are laminated 2×4”s which gets a 3 1/2” thick top. Two construction 2×12s only gets a 3” top. Since it s hard to get really straight construction lumber, we often plane the rough lumber down, which further pushes you into ripping 2×10s or 2×12s to get the parts the size you want, straight enough, and without the rounded over edges.

Bring your moisture meter when you pick your lumber out. You don t want to be making your bench out of wet wood.
SYP is really hard for a softwood, and it makes a great bench. Mine is two 12 x about 3 3/4 split. I used 2×10s but if I did it over, I d use 2×12s”.

- brtech

Ah just learned how to quote others. Ok, so if it will result in a better slab, then I’m back to ripping and laminating smaller pieces. Makes sense. Definitely want to take time on this and do it right. What kind of moisture is a good level to start building for SYP?

The best way is to use 2×12s and then cut out the pith and other defects then rip them to width and laminate them vertically. There a lot of waste, but construction grade lumber is cheap, so why not?

- bondogaposis

This is what I did, with douglas fir, and it worked out well for me (although I only went 2.25” thick).

- BinghamtonEd

Was looking at douglas fir, SYP seems to be a little cheaper here though. Was thinking about using DF for the legs. Another case for ripping.

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red0ak

10 posts in 173 days


#8 posted 06-16-2016 06:24 PM


Unless this isn t construction lumber, you can t get a 4” thickness out of two layers of 2×12, and you can t get a 12” width with six 2×4s OR get a 4” thickness. If it s really 8/4 finished S4S and a full 12” wide you can.

You can cut two 4” x 1.5” pieces out of a construction 2×10 and lose a small amount of pith and/or edge damage and laminate 8 of those to make 4” x 12”. You can do the same with a 2×12 and get a much nicer slab.

With eight 2×4s you can get a 12×3 1/2 thick slab.

Lots of benches really are laminated 2×4”s which gets a 3 1/2” thick top. Two construction 2×12s only gets a 3” top. Since it s hard to get really straight construction lumber, we often plane the rough lumber down, which further pushes you into ripping 2×10s or 2×12s to get the parts the size you want, straight enough, and without the rounded over edges.

Bring your moisture meter when you pick your lumber out. You don t want to be making your bench out of wet wood.
SYP is really hard for a softwood, and it makes a great bench. Mine is two 12 x about 3 3/4 split. I used 2×10s but if I did it over, I d use 2×12s”.

- brtech

If things don’t work out from the mill on CL then I’ll be getting construction lumber. Reasoning for the numbers in the original post was to keep the math easy. But yes, the smaller dimensions you noted will be taken into consideration. I’ve still never understood why the construction sizes are physically smaller. Was it one of those things where it used to be true but then they shrunk over time to sell less wood for the same price? Smaller trees perhaps?

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brtech

896 posts in 2386 days


#9 posted 06-16-2016 06:49 PM

SYP is quite a bit harder than DF, so I’d use SYP if you can get it for the top. Matters less for the legs, but it probably would look a bit better if they were the same material (or a much different material). I’d aim for 6-8% MC before I started building. When I did mine, I planned ahead, bought the lumber, stickered it in my shop and waited it out.
It twisted a bit, but I got what I needed.

The original reason 2×4” didn’t measure 2” x 4” was that they started with rough sawn. Carpenters would plane on site. When they started selling S4S, they started with a nominal 2×4 rough sawn and sold the finished piece as whatever size it came off the planer. What we have now is further reduced by cost savings cuts, but at least it’s a standardized size. They clearly rounded down from wherever they started :)

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red0ak

10 posts in 173 days


#10 posted 06-16-2016 07:04 PM



SYP is quite a bit harder than DF, so I d use SYP if you can get it for the top. Matters less for the legs, but it probably would look a bit better if they were the same material (or a much different material). I d aim for 6-8% MC before I started building. When I did mine, I planned ahead, bought the lumber, stickered it in my shop and waited it out.
It twisted a bit, but I got what I needed.

The original reason 2×4” didn t measure 2” x 4” was that they started with rough sawn. Carpenters would plane on site. When they started selling S4S, they started with a nominal 2×4 rough sawn and sold the finished piece as whatever size it came off the planer. What we have now is further reduced by cost savings cuts, but at least it s a standardized size. They clearly rounded down from wherever they started :)

- brtech

Thanks.

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red0ak

10 posts in 173 days


#11 posted 06-16-2016 07:05 PM

What finish did you guys use or would recommend? I’ve read a lot of different ones googling around. Top ones seem to be BLO, shellac, and wax.

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brtech

896 posts in 2386 days


#12 posted 06-16-2016 07:07 PM

On a bench? None!

If you want to use BLO, go for it, but I didn’t bother. Shellac would be a very poor choice because it isn’t very durable. I wouldn’t want wax: I want friction between the work piece and the bench so it doesn’t move when I work it. Mine has no finish.

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red0ak

10 posts in 173 days


#13 posted 06-16-2016 07:59 PM



On a bench? None!

If you want to use BLO, go for it, but I didn t bother. Shellac would be a very poor choice because it isn t very durable. I wouldn t want wax: I want friction between the work piece and the bench so it doesn t move when I work it. Mine has no finish.

- brtech

Makes sense.

View MC's profile

MC

147 posts in 1810 days


#14 posted 06-17-2016 08:38 PM

I am currently building a workbench out of SYP. I started with 2×12s and ripped to a 5 inch width. Time will tell if this was the best solution for stability.

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red0ak

10 posts in 173 days


#15 posted 06-17-2016 08:55 PM



I am currently building a workbench out of SYP. I started with 2×12s and ripped to a 5 inch width. Time will tell if this was the best solution for stability.

- MC

Yea that looks really nice. Ok I’m sold, I’ll do it that way. Could’ve just listened to bondogaposis the first time… :)

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