Started my heavy bench build

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12 Jun 2022
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I decided to use pallet wood edge-upwards to make a nice heavy bench, since wood is expensive. Finally dismantled enough pallets to make a good start at least.

Someone gave me an old beam that must have come from their house - about the only large thing I have that isn't twisted! So I've used that as a flat base to clamp the first strips down to.

I had tried an experiment using the table saw to even up some fairly wobbly pieces. It worked to a limited extent, but proved over-wasteful and the end result wasn't worth the effort. So I'll stick with the pieces that are fairly even to start with. Didn't seem worth making a jig to flatten these thin pieces.

I started off with the best pieces of pallet wood to make a nice base for the rest of the build. Just 1 long and 1 shorter piece per layer, alternate ways, picked out to have equal (or as nearly as I can get) thickness, ripped down to 3 inches wide, picked the best edge for the bench top. I found my cross-cut saw (rescued from a skip!) isn't true. Took a little while to work out how to make the slightly sloping ends match up. Sanded the faces with the orbital sander. All the nail holes will be hidden inside, though I might drill out and plug the ones at the front, eventually..

Using some PVA glue which was originally bought to prepare a wall for plastering, applied with a brush. Pretty sure I'm putting it on thick enough, but it just won't come squeezing out the edges. Guess that shows the wood's not very smooth. After glueing layer 1 to layer 0, I decided to brush the non-glue side with water to even up the moisture - glad I did because it took some muck off too!

So there's quite a way to go - first 3 layers only 2 inches thick, going to take a while to get to 24 inches! Hoping the rest will go quicker now I know what I'm doing!


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Great effort.
One piece of advice is to scour the Facebook marketplace and gumtree and other freebie sites for old dining tables, bed frames and other large items for timber. Generally you get very nice and straight pieces of timber for no money.
Thanks for the response!
I actually appealed via "nextdoor" for unwanted wood/broken furniture, which was moderately successful and meant I could get my "lab bench" build done. But there wasn't really enough of anything suitable for this, and I don't have any more storage! Plenty of other stuff to make from it though.
Good luck with it, once all the laminations are done levelling the top will be good exercise with a plane
Good luck. It almost requires a bench to build a bench.

Many years ago I bolted the horiz rails and the end frames both vert and horiz. Many years ago but it is still tight today. Much talk of quality benches and so on but they really are there to be worked worked on so good luck.
I did think of making a temporary bench for the purpose but decided against it eventually. I reckon once the top is a few layers deep it'll be sufficiently self-supporting to continue without being clamped to anything, then once it's made I can put temporary legs on it, adequate to then use the bench to make decent legs for itself. Such is the way of DIY tool-making.

At some point I'm going to have to get the welder out and make some longer clamps.

I'm looking forward to planing the top - it's been a long time since I've planed anything!
After glueing layer 1 to layer 0
A zero-based array bench. Excellent: if you forget where you put your no. 4 down, you can set up a simple index loop to find that it’s at layer(9). If the plane isn’t even on your bench, however, you might need to build in some error handling. If you also make your bench deeper in the future you can always ReDim it.

In the meantime (ahem), I haven’t used pallet wood before but I would be constantly afraid of finding the hidden nail with my plane.
Too much time in assembler... You made me laugh though. It's even 2 dimensional!
Since the nail holes run parallel to the bench top, there's very little risk. The odd staple turns up at the edges though, easy to spot because the fixings are always rusty and stain the wood.
I started making these giant parallel clamps. 5 complete, parts ready, or mostly ready for 5 more. Tightening range is 2 layers Just unscrew the top blocks every couple of layers and move them up. Was hoping to make and actually use them all in one day, but had real trouble getting the welder to strike. Don't know why, but it wasted a lot of time. I'll add handles at some point Tightening is with a drill for now.

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