Milling and assembling new workbench top

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Forum topic by Dave11 posted 02-12-2013 01:49 AM 1923 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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33 posts in 2537 days

02-12-2013 01:49 AM

Am just moving into the hand tool world over the past year or so, and am in the process of making my first workbench top.

Was lucky to score some SYP that the home center near me only had by accident—they don’t normally stock it. But I took the straightest, most knot-free 2X12’s I could find.

After ripping them roughly into thirds, nearly a third of the nominal 2×4’s have a noticeable bow. Not any real twist or cup, but a lot of these boards became bowed when ripped.

Because I can’t find any other supply of SYP locally, I can’t really get any more wood to work with. I have enough if I use a few of the bowed boards. I’m planning to face-glue the assembly into a top that’s 3.5 inch thick by 24 inch wide by 84 inch long.

My question is—would it really be a risk to glue up these bowed boards as part of a more massive assembly? Since there’s no real cup or twist, it seems like the bow could be overcome by the many other straight boards.

If not, I’ll need to plane a few of the bowed boards, to get them flat, but then they will be of a noticeably thinner width than the others. Wouldn’t this look odd in a bench top?

Would appreciate any advice. Thanks.

5 replies so far

View Benvolio's profile


148 posts in 1900 days

#1 posted 02-12-2013 02:04 AM

maybe if you cross cut half way along the bow then do some magic flipping action the effective offset of the bow would be halved???

-- Ben, England.

View kdc68's profile


2649 posts in 2246 days

#2 posted 02-12-2013 02:26 AM

That’s pretty typical of SYP dimensional lumber at the home centers. The moisture content is generaly higher than 8 or 9%. The best step perhaps to have prevented some of this would be to have the lumber acclimate in your workshop for a few days. Stacking them flat with stickers inbetween to allow air movement. This won’t prevent warping or twisting, but would have reduced it. The mistake was when you got them home and ripped into thirds, the lumber was unable to release the moisture evenly, thus they warped. You may encounter more warped boards as they dry out.

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View bondogaposis's profile


4688 posts in 2320 days

#3 posted 02-12-2013 02:28 AM

Are you getting bow on the boards w/ pith?

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3362 days

#4 posted 02-12-2013 02:44 AM

Sam Maloof’s Workbench could be an option:

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View Dave11's profile


33 posts in 2537 days

#5 posted 02-12-2013 02:46 AM

Actually, the lumber had been in the shop already for a good month.

Regarding the pith, it doesn’t seem to have made the difference. The two outer boards were just as likely to bow (or not) as the one inner board.

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