Edge Jointing Workbench Top

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yan89

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Evening all

Just wanting some advice on how best to join some lengths of wood together for a workbench surface I’m building.

I’ve got 4 135cm lengths of timber (22x5cm) which has been machine planed.

I’m ideally wanting the width of the bench to measure 170-180cm, and the depth around 60.

I’ve got Custard’s edge joining guide thread which I will be following dilligently, and am comfortable joining 3 of the pieces together along their lengths, but wondered whether I’d be able to cut the 4th board into 3rds and extend each of the 3 best boards out by jointing say another 40cm onto each?

I know I could maybe lap the pieces as well as glue them, but wanted to ask first to see whether that was possible. Otherwise, would I perhaps be best served just cutting 2 60ish cm pieces out of the 4th board and joining them to either side?

As a side point, the wood has been kiln dried - do I still need to let it sit for a week or two before working it?

Thanks in advance
 

rogxwhit

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Hardly understood a word of the opening post! One thing that threw me is that the building trade doesn't use centimetres!!! They don't exist! We have millimetres and metres, and using any other units leads to confusion. Leave them to the dressmakers and such.

About wood from a kiln - well obviously there's no rule and it depends how good the kilning was, how long ago it left the kiln and what it's been up to since. But it can be a bit stressed and have uneven moisture straight after kilning, so let's say its safer to let it lie awhile. Or you can take your chances ...
 

yan89

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Hardly understood a word of the opening post! One thing that threw me is that the building trade doesn't use centimetres!!! They don't exist! We have millimetres and metres, and using any other units leads to confusion. Leave them to the dressmakers and such.

About wood from a kiln - well obviously there's no rule and it depends how good the kilning was, how long ago it left the kiln and what it's been up to since. But it can be a bit stressed and have uneven moisture straight after kilning, so let's say its safer to let it lie awhile. Or you can take your chances ...
Apologies - I’m not a tradesperson, and wouldn’t be here if I already knew what I was doing hence me asking for advice. The conversion from centimetres to mms in this instance though wouldn’t have been too difficult surely?

I will look through guides elsewhere as suggested by the person who replied previous to you.
 

rogxwhit

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Think I'm getting it now - you want to end-joint boards. And you'd stagger the joins? Well you'd have to stagger the joins! But they're quite big and chunky to have butt joints in the length and I'd be most concerned about the front and back boards where the butt is unsupported on one side in each case. So ideally you'd reinforce the join - yes, maybe by a glued lap. Cut very accurately ...

I'm not clear whether you have access to a planer because in the circumstances (with the butting going on), it would be best to glue up two staggered runs side by side, let the glue set then plane the edge for the next layer, and proceed like that step by step. So getting the best contact between adjacent faces. This wouldn't be needed if the lengths were continuous.
 
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thetyreman

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Charlesworth was amazing but I don't bother with the ruler trick, it's a bit of a rabbit hole, it's worth the effort for me to flatten the back of plane blades, however I do use his advice on setting up the cap iron, which greatly improved my hand planing experience, if you aren't using hand planes then you don't have to worry about it.
 

Droogs

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You really don't want to make it the way you are thinking about. Very weak design and will fail quite quickly. The best way using what you have may involve getting additional pieces if needed by sawing scarf joints. Rather than try to explain in a long post, watch the video below.

 

Doug71

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If you do go for the joining end to end it would be good if you could get 2 pieces of say 50mmx50mm which were full length and put one on the front edge and one on the back edge, it would help hold everything together.

You mention cutting the 4th board roughly in half and joining it on either end, this is known as a breadboard end (google it for examples). It is a traditional way of finishing tops but does take some rather involved joinery to do it properly as everything needs to float to allow for movement.
 

rogxwhit

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Since you've seem to have plenty of material width-wise, I think that you'd be better off ripping your 3 boards down the middle - which would make for more edge jointing but reduce the width of each staggered butt joint thus giving it more support. But this suggests that a rip saw and a planer are wanted & I dunno what you have.
 

MikeK

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The conversion from centimetres to mms in this instance though wouldn’t have been too difficult surely?

Sadly, it appears so. The maths required for such a complex operation simply do not exist today. Maybe someday there will be a breakthrough and it will be possible for the average person to convert centimetres to millimetres as easily as converting stones to pounds.
 

Droogs

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Sadly, it appears so. The maths required for such a complex operation simply do not exist today. Maybe someday there will be a breakthrough and it will be possible for the average person to convert centimetres to millimetres as easily as converting stones to pounds.
As an American @MikeK , don't you find that extremely difficult? Yeah I know, I can come back in 3 months for that lol
 

MikeK

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As an American @MikeK , don't you find that extremely difficult? Yeah I know, I can come back in 3 months for that lol

One of my bosses in my early career was from Yorkshire. He and his wife did a good job of indoctrinating me in the British culture, which included the stone. :)
 

yan89

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Thanks sincerely for all your responses.

In brief, I have a number of hand and power tools including a set of planes and chisels, and mitre and circular saws. I do not have a bench saw or a planer/thicknesser. In terms of skills, I am an absolute beginner - I have done a weekend course in fine woodworking and hand tool use, which did involve some power tool use though.

If it were absolutely necessary, I could access one - I do know a shop about an hour's drive away that I could visit to plane/thickness the wood, and my dad who is about 2 hours away from me has a table saw I could use.. the wood is already machine planed, but does need tidying to rid it of the machine marks and make absolutely square.

I've attached two photos - one is the exact dimensions of the 4 boards, and the other is the 'join' options my mind's eye had gone through. I suppose fixing together flat pack furniture has given me the impression that a bit of dowelling adds a lot of strength, and alongside a good glue-up, would've worked OK. I also have some 18mm thick hardwood ply which I'd toyed with the idea of sitting the worktop on to, to add a bit of additional strength, but am unsure whether any of this was a good idea or not.

I am 100% open to suggestions on this, and will look through all your posts at length, including the breadboard end although you mentioning the advanced joinery involved is slightly daunting. I'm meticulous and will follow instruction to the T, but it'll be my first time doing a lot of the techniques so obviously any suggestions should take that into consideration!

Thanks again
 

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rogxwhit

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In your second pic, you should be aiming for the lower configuration of boards - forget the upper two, completely! Forget about 'breadboard ends'!

This task is really crying out for a sawbench and a planer - the saw to rip each board in half as I suggested and the planer to clean and straighten the edges.

A solid, well set-up planer and an operator who is attentive could produce glueable edges straight off the machine. A poor machine / sloppy operator will leave you with a mountain of hand planing to do to edge joint 50mm wide boards. A problem remaining is the butted length construction because even a micro-step at the butt would prejudice the glueline. So you really want to glue up 2 aggregated lengths together, let them set then re-dress the meeting edge (which has a joint in it!) to accept the next 'layer' ...

And you'll need cramps ... with the butts you're going to need length cramps as well as width cramps ...

Glue is wet & slippery, and boards as they're being cramped will attempt to slide around ... it could drive you crazy - you have to work quickly because the glue is going off.

You are climbing a hill!
 
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yan89

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In your second pic, you should be aiming for the lower configuration of boards - forget the upper two, completely! Forget about 'breadboard ends'!

This task is really crying out for a sawbench and a planer - the saw to rip each board in half as I suggested and the planer to clean and straighten the edges.

A solid, well set-up planer and an operator who is attentive could produce glueable edges straight off the machine. A poor machine / sloppy operator will leave you with a mountain of hand planing to do to edge joint 50mm wide boards. A problem remaining is the butted length construction because even a micro-step at the butt would prejudice the glueline. So you really want to glue up 2 aggregated lengths together, let them set then re-dress the meeting edge (which has a joint in it!) to accept the next 'layer' ...

And you'll need cramps ... with the butts you're going to need length cramps as well as width cramps ...

Glue is wet & slippery, and boards as they're being cramped will attempt to slide around ... it could drive you crazy - you have to work quickly because the glue is going off.

You are climbing a hill!
Noted - thanks for the detail also.

Out of interest, if the boards were bought at the correct length, would the glue up still need clamping lengthways?

I have 1000 & 1300mm clamps but dont have any bigger than that.
 

rogxwhit

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As Droogs said!

One-off cramps can be made from cheap wood - think of bars with blocks and wedges ... and sash cramps can be joined end to end with M6 screws & nuts - just overlap them by at least 3 holes ... except that 2 cramps only makes one ...

Yes if you can source longer wood go for it! But note that glue-up still needs good contact faces. It's hard enough for a novice to edge-joint narrow boards and these are 50mm wide so quite a slog, maybe with some hair-tearing? You'd need a solid workbench and a very sharp plane at the very least - a no5 or 51/2 is a lot better than a no4.

Many of us might be inclined to reinforce the joins with Dominos or biscuits but that's a kettle of fish again ...

I wonder what your bench design will be?
 

yan89

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As Droogs said!

One-off cramps can be made from cheap wood - think of bars with blocks and wedges ... and sash cramps can be joined end to end with M6 screws & nuts - just overlap them by at least 3 holes ... except that 2 cramps only makes one ...

Yes if you can source longer wood go for it! But note that glue-up still needs good contact faces. It's hard enough for a novice to edge-joint narrow boards and these are 50mm wide so quite a slog, maybe with some hair-tearing? You'd need a solid workbench and a very sharp plane at the very least - a no5 or 51/2 is a lot better than a no4.

Many of us might be inclined to reinforce the joins with Dominos or biscuits but that's a kettle of fish again ...

I wonder what your bench design will be?
I had read that it was best to make the bench top before measuring up for the legs because planing can change dimensions. Either way, it'll be pretty basic! I'll have a look at longer boards and see whether I can get access to the planing machine
 
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