07-28-2003, 03:17 PM
I'm working on a plan for a new workbench. Can anyone point me to a good source (article, book, etc.) for building your own laminated butcher-block type top. I'm not sure if I'm using the correct terminology here - but I think you get the point.
I'm interested in building my own as I have specific size requirements and plan on a built-it tool tray in back.
I've found related articles - but not A-to-Z type instructions. I have to believe there's more than sanding, gluing and clamping - and I would hate to experiment on such a large project.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
07-28-2003, 05:15 PM
You're referring to a laminated top. I built just such a top for my workbench out of hemlock and found it to be a very easy process. If you want to do it "right", here would be my process list:
1) joint both edges and both faces of each piece of stock that will make up the top. Jointing the faces is necessary to get good joints between the pieces, and jointing the edges will make flattening the top much quicker once the top is glued up. You can get by without jointing the faces, but you'll have gaps in the surface no matter how tightly you clamp. If it sounds like I'm speaking from experience...
2) Glue up the top in sections - say about four boards each, face-to-face, edge grain up. Once those are dry, glue up the sections into a single slab. If you can do your glue-up on a flat surface and jointed the edges, you'll be 90% of the way to a flat top. I used a couple of 2x4s standing on edge on my concrete garage floor, and it worked out OK - that was the best flat surface I had (at the time). If you built the base for your bench first, that might also make an acceptable assembly table. Also, make sure you don't skimp on the clamps - I used one about every ten inches. "Oh, sorry honey, I have to go to the hardware store and buy more clamps" ;-)
3) Once the slab is dry, break out the hand planes. I didn't do any jointing and had a LOT of flattening to do. At first I tried renting a powered hand held plane to do the first rough pass and it was a disaster - the tool was in completely unusable shape. You might try a belt sander, but I find them hard to control (i.e., I sand way too much wood off). I got out my #5 to hog off a lot of wood - I actually found the job quite satisfying. When it was close to flat, I got my #6 (don't have a #7 or #8) to get it as flat as possible. I used a four foot level as my reference straight edge. For me it took a few hours, but damn it was cool to be standing in a six inch deep pile of curlies ;-).
That's it. Jointing the face and edges of each board in the top will take a long time, but TRUST me, so will flattening the top if you don't joint the faces and edges up front. You'll come out with much better joints as well (I guess that's why the call it "jointing").
Good luck and post a pic when you're done!
07-29-2003, 04:23 AM
This guys documented it as well as any I've seen online.