Laminating Hardwood Planks

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Forum topic by Greg S posted 10-08-2010 02:41 PM 4179 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Greg S

17 posts in 2832 days

10-08-2010 02:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: work bench workbench laminate oak

All -
I just finished building my shop and now I’m going to build a nice work bench. My workbench will be multi-purpose as I enjoy restoring old cars (read “beating parts with a hammer from time to time) almost as much as I enjoy woodworking. My question is this – I have quite a bit of red oak I’ve been drying for 3 or so years that I have no other plans for. It’‘ll be approximately 3/4 when I’m done planing, and I plan to abuse this bench so I want it to be thicker than 3/4. The frame of the bench will be made from steel, so the bench frame will be plenty sturdy. My plan for the top is to laminate it to 2 (maybe even 3) boards thick. My current plan is to simply get it flat & straight then overlap my courses of oak and maybe ship lap the edges for more strength. Another possible idea I had, if I go with 3 courses thick is to run the first coarse one direction, then the second course perpendicular, then the third course the same as the first, so it’s perpendicular to the second course as well.

Has anyone done anything similar for a similar purpose and if so, can you share what worked/didn’t work well for you? Thank you for any feedback you provide!

-- It's only wood

3 replies so far

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3319 days

#1 posted 10-08-2010 05:07 PM

Yep. Only thing to add is if your boards aren’t long enough to span the entire length, stagger the end joints. If you want to get fancy, you can finger joint the ends, but clean butt joints are fine.

Oh, and your last idea? That’s been done. It’s called “plywood”. ;D

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3677 days

#2 posted 10-08-2010 05:18 PM

I would be weary of shiplapping them in 2-3 layers like you mention, and would Definitely not change directions, as all the wood movement will just rip that top apart in time.

as suggested – just rip your boards to 2”-5” wide, and glue them vertically to get a 2”-5” thick top (depending on your preference of course – although thicker = better)

or, you could laminate 2-3 sheets of plywood. all depending on how you want your bench to look, and what you’re trying to get – either will be sturdy and work well for a multipurpose bench. the plywood may be easier to accomplish (spread glue between sheets, then screw together to clamp them down from beneath – once glue dries, you can take screws out, or leave them in)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Greg S's profile

Greg S

17 posts in 2832 days

#3 posted 10-08-2010 05:23 PM

Thanks guys. Great suggestions! I may go the butcher block route – need to get the oak used up anyway to make room.

-- It's only wood

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