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Workbench Top - First Glue Up Issues!

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Rich_N

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Hi folks,

I'm trying to build myself a new workbench, It'll be a marking/clamping/gluing general sort of bench and my wife wants one end for her leather work. I've managed to cobble together some space in the garage opposite my existing Mitre Saw/General Bench.

I decided to try a laminated top using CLS 3x2 with the round edges trimmed off and glued in two sections and then joined together after running each section through my thicknesser.

It's the first time I've tried a large glue up and I'm limited with clamps, just 5 long sash clamps and 4 Irwin F Clamps which are long enough.

I've glued the two sections but not yet joined them. The reason is I can see gapping in places on the two slabs. I used plenty of glue and saw plenty of squeeze out, but there are still some gaps. The length is 1.6m to be trimmed to 1.5. I suspect it is lack of clamps and cheap lumber - oh, and a complete lack of ability on my part!!!!!!

I'm pretty disappointed with the results, the gaps aren't massive and I could fill them, but is it worth it? The wood is really poor quality, full of knots that my planer didn't like!!!!!

Thats the point of this post. Is it worth it or should I get some more timber (costs again) and try again with the clamps I have (I can't justify more right now).

Should I glue the two halves together, build the bench and then see if the top falls apart after fixing to the base, and I only intend to use pocket hole joinery to join it to the base.

Or, should I simply buy some MDF use that as a top (I want to make an MFT anyway) and wait until I can afford some more, decent clamps.

Your thoughts on the matter will be most welcome.

Rich
 

Ttrees

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What sort of bench do you have to surface the timber prior to using the thicknesser?
If you have nothing reliable, then I would consider either gluing the top up, I wouldn't fill it with anything as they may close up eventually and if that might annoy you, you could consider sticking another top on top of that, something like a laminated kitchen worktop, a door or something else that you can either flatten or shim flat.
It is worth considering your base design to account for this, so if you have a low strecher make sure it won't be hitting against your feet.
Likewise with ski's would complicate matters further.

For your length you can get away with your clamps if you have stout beams to make more surface area.
More clamps the better though.

Tom
 

Benchwayze

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If you know the timber is of poor quality I fail to see how you will ever be satisfied with your bench. You might get away with second grade timber for the undercarriage, bùt not for the too. Hsve a look on YouTube for Chris Schwarz's bench topped with a kitchen worktop 40mm thick; 4 metres cut in half and folded together into 2 metres long x 80mm thick. Okay, Beech wiill cost you about 170 notes but it's going to make a quality top. Certainly cheaper than good quality Southern Yellow Pine and much quicker. Sorry to keep going on about this but I see it as the best solution to save money and get on with the job. After all what would a real quality bench in that size cost ready made?
 

Cabinetman

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It sounds to me as if what you’ve done isn’t too bad, carry on and glue them together, it won’t fall apart I can just about guarantee that. As you have put the two halves through your thicknesser hopefully they will line up ok as you glue them together, they may try and slide, knock a few panel pins into one glue edge and then cut their heads off this will just give just enough grip to prevent this.
If the end result really doesn’t meet your needs you can always cover it with 18 mil ply, there are some really nice sheets about, I saw some super stuff in Wicks the other day.
A super, hard beech top is wonderful but I understand where you’re coming from at this point and you can always replace it when time and means allow. Ian
 

Rich_N

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It sounds to me as if what you’ve done isn’t too bad, carry on and glue them together, it won’t fall apart I can just about guarantee that. As you have put the two halves through your thicknesser hopefully they will line up ok as you glue them together, they may try and slide, knock a few panel pins into one glue edge and then cut their heads off this will just give just enough grip to prevent this.
If the end result really doesn’t meet your needs you can always cover it with 18 mil ply, there are some really nice sheets about, I saw some super stuff in Wicks the other day.
A super, hard beech top is wonderful but I understand where you’re coming from at this point and you can always replace it when time and means allow. Ian
Thanks, I've decided to do just that. I've glued both halves and added one extra strip. All planed to the same thickness. Its in the clamps now and looking better than I'd feared. As you say, I can change it when I feel confident to produce a Beech top.
 
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