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Benchtop joinery recommendation

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Forum topic by dschlic1 posted 01-27-2014 08:39 PM 1070 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dschlic1

330 posts in 1433 days


01-27-2014 08:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question pine tablesaw milling joining

I want to make a new top for my work bench. I have access to some pallet wood which has 4×4 members of yellow pine. I am looking at making the bench top about 2 to 2.5” thick. Over all dimensions of the top is about 24” deep and 60” long.

I am looking at laminating the bench top ala butcher block with edge grain upwards. I do not have either a joiner nor a thickness planer. I intend to use a straight piece of 8’ long plywood and my table saw to cut the necessary straight sides.

Most tops I have seen of this type glue the boards together side to side. I was wonder if I cut mortises/grooves in the boards and use a loose tenon if I will have less issues with aligning the boards. Because I do not have a planer I really need to get the boards to glue up flat and square.


9 replies so far

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

350 posts in 1570 days


#1 posted 01-27-2014 10:12 PM

I wouldn’t recommend orienting end grain up. I think It will be more work, more time, and the resultant bench will be weaker and is unlikely to remain flat. That said, there has to be a first for everything. If you built I’d love to see pics.

Before you go too far down that path though, a good book is workbenches: from design and theory to construction and use by cristopher schwartz. If you still want to go end grain up after reading it, I say more power to you. It’s your bench! There are far too many roubos skulking about… ;)

Best of luck!

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1699 posts in 1418 days


#2 posted 01-27-2014 10:36 PM

Nicholas, I think he was talking about laminating the boards so the edge grain, or quarter sawn face if it’s a flat sawn board, would be shown on the top of the workbench. And if I’m understanding this correctly it should be just fine. I’d also check out Paul Sellers videos on building a work bench. He has some great info there.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

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dschlic1

330 posts in 1433 days


#3 posted 01-27-2014 10:43 PM

Richard Wootton is correct. There are three sides to a board, face, edge and end. In any case this is pallet wood the 4×4 at least most of them are cut from the center of the tree. However the price is right:)

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1713 posts in 1646 days


#4 posted 01-27-2014 11:05 PM

There is basically no way to ensure that the laminations will end up flat, even if you add biscuits or tenons. It’s more work for little real benefit. Because even if you cut dados (the more correct term for grooves) for alignment, if the stock isn’t perfectly square and true, you’re going to have to join warped boards. And you’ll need some way of making sure the top is flat after gluing it up even if you were super careful.

You should watch Paul Sellers’ workbench videos on YouTube, and follow his lead by buying a good hand plane.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Kelby's profile

Kelby

134 posts in 1874 days


#5 posted 01-27-2014 11:22 PM

Pine is a soft wood, and not ideal for a benchtop. Free is good, but you also have to think about the amount of time you’re going to invest in building the bench. It might be worth springing for some maple.

As far as getting the top flat, you need to do that with a handplane. Even a planer isn’t the right answer, because the planer won’t resolve any issues with twisting.

-- Kelby

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

350 posts in 1570 days


#6 posted 01-27-2014 11:23 PM

Oops. Sorry about that. I saw “butcher block” and read “end grain” rather than “edge grain” which is what you actually said. Ignore my post above completely and listen to these other gentlemen…

+1 check out the Paul sellers bench build vids.

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1713 posts in 1646 days


#7 posted 01-28-2014 01:13 AM

There are two schools of thought re: the hardness of the bench wood. One school says, “if you’re going to take the time to build a good bench, why not use hardwood since the cost of the materials isn’t significant?” They generally make their benches from maple, beech, or other moderately priced hardwoods.

The other school of thought says, “if something is going to get dented, I’d rather it be the bench than the work piece.” To them, pine is a perfect material, being stable, easy to work, and likely softer than anything that gets dropped on it.

Neither is wrong.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View dschlic1's profile

dschlic1

330 posts in 1433 days


#8 posted 01-28-2014 06:27 PM

The yellow pine I am using has a density of about 35 lbs/cuft and a hardness of 690. Cherry for example has a density of 35 lbs/cuft and a hardness of 950. So this pine is very similar to cherry in relation to its mechanical prosperities.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3022 posts in 1261 days


#9 posted 01-28-2014 06:49 PM

I built mine out of Yellow Pine after reading Christopher Schwarz on the subject. Works great.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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