How to glue end to end pieces on laminated workbench?

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Forum topic by Adrian A posted 11-18-2010 12:47 AM 4562 views 1 time favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Adrian A

169 posts in 3138 days

11-18-2010 12:47 AM

Ive made several glued up panels where I take strips of hardwood, and glue them together edge to edge. But how do you do it if you want to glue face to face and you have random length strips of wood that arent as long as the entire workbench?

Much like in this picture

I get that you can just clamp to make all the faces tight with each other, but whats the proper technique to get all the strips tight on the end to end grain portions? How would you clamp it?

Thanks :)

11 replies so far

View newwoodbutcher's profile


780 posts in 3086 days

#1 posted 11-18-2010 01:00 AM

I would use a lap joint

-- Ken

View rance's profile


4267 posts in 3396 days

#2 posted 11-18-2010 02:18 AM

It seems that the guys gluing up the ‘Weave’ cutting boards effectively do what you are attempting. I’m guessing one row at a time, with just butt joints. Lightly clamp parallel to the board next to it, long clamp to close up the ends, then tighten the previous clamps. I’ll be watching the other replies. Good question Adrian.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View rance's profile


4267 posts in 3396 days

#3 posted 11-21-2010 08:22 AM

Adrian, I actually looked at one of these benchtops (from WC) this weekend and they join the end to end grain with those zigzag joints, giving them just a little more strength. I think you can buy those bits to do your own now. HTH. Google, google, it is called a finger joint. Lookup Item #822175 at WoodCraft.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4110 days

#4 posted 11-21-2010 05:54 PM

Its called a finger joint. Its used in commercial applications all the time because its much cheaper to get lots of short pieces of wood than longer pieces that don’t have knots or flaws.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3176 days

#5 posted 11-21-2010 07:38 PM

I’m with Jarrod – scarf joint. I’ve used it many times in this application and it works well. Simple, strong and no need for fancy and expensive cutters.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View AaronK's profile


1507 posts in 3700 days

#6 posted 11-21-2010 08:23 PM

the long grain joints are so strong that I doubt you even need to join the end grain. any one of the methods suggested is a good choice, depending on your already available equipment and how many pieces you need to join.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3086 days

#7 posted 11-21-2010 08:44 PM

There needs to be no joinery for strength end to end—all the weakness of that joint is compensated for with the two pieces on the sides. So the quest is for joining the ends so the piece can be handled as one in the glueup.

I’d be inclined to use a biscuit—-#20—and butt glue the piece up and let it sit overnight. Cut the “wings” off and dress the sides so it’s clean and off you go.

You can also glue end grain with epoxy, but then you’re into much more work to dress it both for the side glue joints and eventually flattening the top.

Here’s another thought. Let’s say one in three of your pieces gets a butt joint. Glue up three pieces, two full length with the butt jointed piece in the middle. Once you have those Threebies, dress them flat and then glue ‘em all together.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View woodgu's profile


63 posts in 3010 days

#8 posted 11-22-2010 02:12 AM

Depending on what you are looking for in appearance, you can use a biscuit, a spline, finger joint, or a lap joint. I don’t think strength will be an issue (as mentioned above) due to the long grain gluing surfaces of the pieces on either side of the two pieces being joined.

My humble opinion….

-- Phil G

View shipwright's profile


8185 posts in 3034 days

#9 posted 11-23-2010 02:46 AM

I’m with the scarf joint advocates but I wouldn’t go 45 Degrees. If you’re going to bother scarfing, go 8:1 and it will be as as strong as any other part of the board. That said, in the benchtop context the butts can just be butts as Aaron said.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Jiroma's profile


4 posts in 3148 days

#10 posted 11-23-2010 11:07 PM

I’m kind of hoping this is a daft suggestion, so that someone comes back and tells me why its not right. Could you lay down a sheet of 1/8th ply or mdf and glue all your strips together and to the sheet all in one. It would mean the whole panel could be done in one go with simple butt joints and clamped or heavy weights layed on the top of the job. Obviously the ply would have to be on a perfectly flat surface to begin with.


View steliart's profile


2893 posts in 2924 days

#11 posted 01-21-2012 02:46 AM

A year after this post, I am facing the same end grain to end grain delema at a 10” distance midle piece of a Meranti top. Unfortunetely there’s not enough wood for either a scarf joint or a lap joint and the finger bit is $160 without shipping!!! 8-)
So my thought is to go a bit decorative, I’m gonna joint it with a very slight scarf joint, just to make the joint line as close as possible and for strength to hold it tight with one or maybe two thick Dutchman inlays. Also there’s the choice of a spline which is much easier.
Hope this works :)

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

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