Securing Maple Worktop for Woodwork Bench Top

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Forum topic by ondablade posted 08-30-2009 01:20 PM 1329 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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105 posts in 1949 days

08-30-2009 01:20 PM

Hi all. A friend gave me an unwanted 40mm (1 9/16in) thick 600mm (24in) wide glued woodblock maple kitchen worktop which i’m proposing to use to surface a built in pine bench on wall and floor bolted fabricated box section steel brackets. The trouble is i’m a bit unsure how to handle the potential differential expansion issues.

The existing bench top was made years ago from 100mm (4in) glued up roofing joists with no intention of its being used for woodworking. The plan is to flatten it accurately with the router using a levelling frame before seating the worktop on top.

My original thought was to screw the worktop down from underneath using oversize holes or slots in the existing bench to accommodate movement. Thinking a bit more about it though this may present issues when i drill through the proposed grid of circular bench dog holes. Even if i make the holes in the bench underneath oversize, it’d mean their support was reduced to the hole in the 40mm thickness of the worktop.

It’d be nice to just glue the worktop to the bench top, but it seems unlikely to be a runner – although maybe it would be a bit more realistic if anchored down the centre line with screws, and stuck down using a flexible adhesive…

All thoughts, experience and ideas appreciated…

-- Late awakener....

6 replies so far

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105 posts in 1949 days

#1 posted 08-30-2009 09:24 PM

Thank you Dave. I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts on dogs. So far i’ve been thinking of using say 1 in dowelling with square or circular ply tops screwed and glued down on to them. There’s a UK supplier (Axminster Tools) that does flip up recessed aluminium dogs too, although i’m wary of them – i don’t want to end up whacking my blades on metal, they can’t rotate to align with a non square workpiece, they may mark the work, and they would be much less flexible in use clamping odd shaped work than DIY dogs headed as required by the job. (i think)

I’ve never used, but never either quite figured out the advantage of using the traditional square type bench dog, especially in the brass that some suppliers use.

The thinking is (provisionally) to set out two or possibly three rows of dog holes down the length of the bench top, spaced to match two or three similar dog holes in an almost full width HD hardwood facing on the moving jaw of a pattern makers vice. The pitching would match the spacing of two dog holes in a similar facing on the jaw of a cast iron woodworkers vice on the LH end of the side.

PLan B on the maple top (been thinking since i posted ;-)) might be to cut the maple worktop into say 3in approx wide planks, place the two rows of dog holes so that they fall close to the edge of a plank. Then screw down the planks at one edge while jointing the other to the adjacent screwed edge using Domino loose tenons glued in one side only. If i leave a gap of say 1/16 in between the planks this would leave scope for movement – as in the case of a secret nailed wood floor.

It’d also mean i could glue/laminate a layer of worktop down the vertical front edge of the existing vice to act as a surface for the vice to clamp against….


-- Late awakener....

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1281 posts in 2488 days

#2 posted 08-31-2009 03:33 AM

Can you thicken the top in the areas where you want to put the dogs? Make it 4” thick? You could glue up some boards to make pieces 2 1/2” x 4” x the length and add it to the underside of the top.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

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105 posts in 1949 days

#3 posted 08-31-2009 11:46 AM

Yes! Good thinking John. Obvious when you say it, but i can rout a lengthwise slot in the existing bench underneath to take the extra lamination for the dogs, placing the maple board joints so the fixed line of gluing and screwing to the bench is underneath the line of dog holes ....

-- Late awakener....

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105 posts in 1949 days

#4 posted 09-09-2009 10:23 PM

Sorry Dave, i missed your reply. I’ve actually managed to sort out another piece of shop soiled worktop, and am laminating it to the existing one. That done i’ll replace the bench section completely with this and get away from the problem of overlaying the existing softwood bench top…..

-- Late awakener....

View PurpLev's profile


8476 posts in 2399 days

#5 posted 09-09-2009 10:42 PM

although you’ve already found a solution, I figured I’d drop in anyways:

if you were to use the existing pine top. and double it up with the maple – you could screw it to each other IN THE FRONT (where the dog holes are) using regular holes – and screw it in the back using elongated holes – this way the expansion is forced to happen in the back – but still have room to expand to. much like breadboards, and long tenons in bedposts are done.

although – like your new solution, I’d opt to just get away from the old pine top, and replace the whole thing all together.

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

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105 posts in 1949 days

#6 posted 09-10-2009 12:09 AM

Thank you Purp. That basically was the thinking for plan A above, and it’s do-able. The one issue is that i wanted if possible to place a second row of dog holes further in on the bench and in a line parallel to the row out at the front edge.

This would mean locking down the maple along that line too, which brought me to the idea of ripping the maple into say 3 in wide planks and using your method on each plank so that they end up like a secretly nailed wood floor – with one edge of each plank held down, and the other free to float on tongues/splines/dominos. Both planks with the dog holes would still have to be doubled to give enough strength, and sunk into routed slots in the old pine bench top.

This too is do-able, but while i may be missing something i just figured that if i could find another length of shop soiled worktop on the cheap that it might be as easy to just junk the pine top and double the maple all over – it’d get me away from the need to rip it into planks, or to worry about differential movement…..

Thanks again…

-- Late awakener....

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