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Forum topic by JoshuaS posted 02-25-2017 04:51 PM 1464 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JoshuaS

15 posts in 657 days


02-25-2017 04:51 PM

I’ve got a plan to build a Paul Sellers bench using 1” thick Baltic birch ply. Sketchup images attached. I’ve seen other bench designs using plywood that have mortise and tenon joinery, but this is taking it a bit further and I’m wondering if it’s ok. Do you think this will result in a solid bench? Assuming, of course, that I can make the joints fit tightly…


17 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

8302 posts in 1323 days


#1 posted 02-25-2017 04:55 PM

I think that would be a pretty solid bench. It only looks like maybe 3ish sheets of 1” ply so the cost wouldn’t be too bad I guess.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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RustyHacksaw

129 posts in 1100 days


#2 posted 02-25-2017 05:40 PM

The cost of that seems way higher than if it were 2×4’s like the original. Is there a benefit to the plywood?

But yes, I would say it would be plenty strong.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4478 posts in 2188 days


#3 posted 02-25-2017 05:41 PM

I’m quite sure it will be solid. It certainly won’t look traditional. I seems to me that building up the legs and stretchers will be a lot of additional work compared using lumber for those components, that wouldn’t be worth the small savings in materials to me.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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JoshuaS

15 posts in 657 days


#4 posted 02-25-2017 07:39 PM

Thanks for the replies. Two 4×8 sheets are $300, so that’s about three times as expensive as 2×4 construction. However, it should be almost twice as heavy, very stable, and if I did the cut list right there should be enough plywood left over for a small tabletop project.

View Rick_M's profile

Rick_M

10628 posts in 2217 days


#5 posted 02-25-2017 10:38 PM

It’ll be fine. Rob Cosman, a very respected woodworker, has a bench built from MDF. It’s not his only bench, but he built it to try it out and has a video about it.

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

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FLFIRELT

2 posts in 514 days


#6 posted 02-25-2017 11:40 PM

Looks like a solid plan to me.

Out of curiosity how much is 3/4 Baltic birch? It’s been a while since I’ve bought 1” but I seem to remember a huge price jump from 3/4 to 1”. Just a thought to maybe save some cash by changing dimensions a little and possibly getting it even beefier.

View xmastree's profile

xmastree

47 posts in 817 days


#7 posted 02-26-2017 01:46 AM



Looks like a solid plan to me.

Out of curiosity how much is 3/4 Baltic birch? It s been a while since I ve bought 1” but I seem to remember a huge price jump from 3/4 to 1”. Just a thought to maybe save some cash by changing dimensions a little and possibly getting it even beefier.

- FLFIRELT

That’s what I was thinking..

-- Every tree is a Chistmas tree with its gifts hidden inside.

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JoshuaS

15 posts in 657 days


#8 posted 02-26-2017 03:15 AM

Thanks a lot for the input, you’ve given me the confidence to proceed. I did consider 3/4” but that will require more cutting and laminating. If the extra cost means I can bang it out faster then it’s worth it to me.

Cheers!

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robscastle

4513 posts in 2041 days


#9 posted 02-26-2017 03:24 AM

I think all the gypsy’s trailers were built from plywood

-- Regards Robert

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7779 posts in 2635 days


#10 posted 02-26-2017 03:28 AM

I have a great solid plywood workbench. Your joinery ideas seem quite similar. You may want to have a look at the build blog here: http://lumberjocks.com/shipwright/blog/31955
The project post is here: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/70677

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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nkawtg

263 posts in 1088 days


#11 posted 02-26-2017 03:33 AM

Solid, yes. But I’d be worried about flatness.

View JoshuaS's profile

JoshuaS

15 posts in 657 days


#12 posted 02-26-2017 04:40 AM

Beautiful work there! Thanks for the links.

I thought about covering up the ply edges but in the interest of speed I’ll just go with them. Baltic birch doesn’t look too bad in my view.


I have a great solid plywood workbench. Your joinery ideas seem quite similar. You may want to have a look at the build blog here: http://lumberjocks.com/shipwright/blog/31955
The project post is here: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/70677

- shipwright

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JoshuaS

15 posts in 657 days


#13 posted 02-26-2017 04:43 AM

I’m counting on the BB being flat. Shouldn’t it be?


Solid, yes. But I d be worried about flatness.

- nkawtg


View clin's profile

clin

751 posts in 833 days


#14 posted 02-26-2017 06:59 AM

I built a workbench base by laminating baltic birch. Here’s the link to the project page. Solid doesn’t begin to describe it. It’s absolutely rigid. I can raise one leg 1/32” and the nearest leg will rise up the same amount. No detectable flex in the frame.

Most of this project describes making the torsion box top, but there’s a pic of the base in it.

Click for details

Laminating the plywood has the advantage of giving you very precise mortises. The laminating is a lot of extra work. You need a lot of clamps, and likely need all your clamps for one piece at a time. So it will take several days just to clamp, assuming you leave them in the clamps for at least a few hours.

I wouldn’t make the top from plywood. it’s not uncommon to have to flatten a top by hand planing, or more elaborate techniques. That’s not something you can do to plywood for effectively.

If you are inexperienced making mortises, I would say it is easier to laminate the legs, then to cut mortises, But, a workbench build is a traditional first project and a good one to get experience on. So, I would give serious thought to making it traditionally. Also, consider using drawbores on the M&T joints if you cut them yourself, not if you use plywood. That will make very tight M&T joints.

-- Clin

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JoshuaS

15 posts in 657 days


#15 posted 02-27-2017 05:56 AM



I built a workbench base by laminating baltic birch.

That’s an awesome build.

So, I would give serious thought to making it traditionally.

Yes indeed! I’m still on the fence…

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