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Forum topic by Loupe posted 01-13-2017 10:01 PM 837 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Loupe

11 posts in 507 days


01-13-2017 10:01 PM

Has anyone built a work bench top out of Glulam? I don’t have the tools right now to plane the pieced top. Just starting my shop. Looks like it could save time and money. Thanks. Michael

-- Michael


10 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3546 days


#1 posted 01-26-2017 02:09 AM

Isn’t there a lot of (hard, scratchy) glue in glulam? It might be kind of hard on the wood of projects and perhaps your sharp edged tools. A hand plane or router sled can make short work of flattening a bench top.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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Loupe

11 posts in 507 days


#2 posted 01-26-2017 10:48 PM

Thanks Mark. I appreciate your response. Actually, I just use a big glulam in my shop for Ridge beam and it looked pretty smooth. But I’m new to this. I will take your thoughts into consideration.

-- Michael

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

477 posts in 1303 days


#3 posted 01-27-2017 12:20 AM

They typically use plastic resin glue for glu-lam beams. It’s really hard stuff but it’s just glue, not metal. It’s not going to nick the iron on a plane if you drop it.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View jmos's profile

jmos

796 posts in 2203 days


#4 posted 01-27-2017 12:39 AM

November 2009 Popular Woodworking had plans for a bench they called the Gluebo (riff on Roubo) that used LVL beams (I was able to buy the digital back issue.) I used those plans, with a few modifications for my bench. I blogged the build if you want to look it up. One thing they did was to cut the beam down, flip the slices on edge and glue it up, rather than just using the beam as is. This puts the lamination on their sides. Again, easier to look at the pics than explain.

That was 2012, and it’s been a great bench. I would have no reservations about recommending it to anyone. I’ve never noticed any issues with scratching work or dulling tools. It has also been dead flat. I had some chip-out when drilling the dog holes, but none since then, and I primarily use holdfasts for work holding.

Happy to answer any specific questions you may have.

-- John

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Loupe

11 posts in 507 days


#5 posted 01-27-2017 05:59 PM

Thanks Jmos. I just checked out your blog. You did a great job on that lvl bench. I only can hope my bench will come out close to that. I guess I have to get a book on benches. Was going to wing it but looks like a lot to take in. Does anyone have a preference of a good book on work benches? Need all the help I can get.

-- Michael

View Rick_M's profile

Rick_M

10606 posts in 2214 days


#6 posted 01-27-2017 06:22 PM

There are several great books on workbenches. Scott Landis, c Schwarz, Lon Schleining, another fella from the 70s but I can’t remember the guys name; but I think he was the one who basically rediscovered the Roubo.

Anytime I see discussion about LVL people say they are very expensive. ?

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

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jmos

796 posts in 2203 days


#7 posted 01-27-2017 09:56 PM

Thanks Loupe. I liked Schwarz’s books, but I’m sure the others are good too.

As far as expense, looking back at my blog post, the LVL was “1 ¾”x14” LVL for $6.20/lin ft (or $2.65/bf)” back in 2012. I do remember it was a lot less expensive than 8/4 maple. So, not really expensive, but not dirt cheap either. I’m sure construction lumber would be cheaper, but the LVL is wearing a lot better than I would expect 2”x4” to wear.

-- John

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3546 days


#8 posted 02-26-2017 07:00 AM

jmos that is really interesting that the ‘downsides’’ I was concerned about are really not an issue. It just goes to show you the value of practical experience LOL!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View MinnesotaMarty's profile

MinnesotaMarty

114 posts in 1051 days


#9 posted 02-26-2017 02:58 PM

Loupe, great to see this post. I am a builder and always thought lvl’s would make great bench tops. I just purchased at an auction of a small lumberyard about 30 pcs, of 14” to 16” wide x 5’ to 14’ long lvl’s for the ridiculous price of $1.00. Some are weathered and it was a chore getting them home but building a bench top is on the list for that material.
Also, great blog on the bench.

Thanks,

Marty

-- I can see the cheese heads from here and it is great.

View John's profile

John

223 posts in 1415 days


#10 posted 02-26-2017 04:42 PM

I didnt use lvl or glulam for my bench, but I used to build houses for a living , so i have experience working with them. I feel like either would make a great workbench top, but i wouldn’t use lvl for the “undercarriage.”
Once you flatten the top, (i would use a router sled), i would highly doubt you would need to flatten it ever again.
I was actually just about to order a couple of glulams for my bench, but the lumber i used for it kinda fell in my lap.
I don’t think there would be much of a downside to using an engineered wood product like that, other than i wouldnt be as pretty as real wood. It is a workbench though…..
Just my two cents…..

-- I measured once, cut twice, and its still too short...

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