laminating maple onto SY pine for workbench top - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-15-2017, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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laminating maple onto SY pine for workbench top

I am in the process of building my first workbench. The base and "sub-top" are made of Southern Yellow Pine. When designing this bench I had in mind that I wanted to laminate a premade 1 5/8" hard maple countertop that they sell at my local lumber yard. That way I could save some money by not building the entire bench or top from maple and still have the durability of maple for the top.

So my question is do I have anything to worry about in regards to laminating the maple top to the SYP top? The SYP is around 15-18% moisture and I imagine the maple is kiln dried and much drier. I included a picture of the bench. I have not put any vises or drilled holdfast holds and several other things because I want to put the maple on first.

Any experience and help will be very much appreciated. Thanks
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-15-2017, 07:59 PM
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Why do you want to laminate the top. 1 5/8" hard maple would make a sturdy top by itself.

If you do laminate you will have two different species of wood that will have two different amounts of movement.

George
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-15-2017, 08:17 PM
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The yellow pine top you have would be good enough for me. I think I would use either or but not put the maple top over the pine. Like George pointed out the pine and maple will expand and contract at different rates. This could cause the top to either warp or crack.
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-15-2017, 08:30 PM
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SYP is good enough

I built my first workbench several years ago out of SYP and it has done just fine. I personally would skip the maple.
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-16-2017, 10:14 AM
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I agree. I built mine out of SYP. I can see no reason to add the maple. I think you're in for headaches if you do.


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post #6 of 15 Old 01-16-2017, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
The yellow pine top you have would be good enough for me. I think I would use either or but not put the maple top over the pine. Like George pointed out the pine and maple will expand and contract at different rates. This could cause the top to either warp or crack.
I agree with Steve, you've made a very nice workbench that you should be proud of.
I would forget the Maple overlay. Some Woodworkers will screw a MDF, Masonite or thin plywood cover to protect the top of the bench. This is like putting seat covers over your new car seats. It helps to keep the paints, glues, and varnishes off your workbench.
A workbench is made to use. If used, they dont stay pretty. Your Yellow Pine bench should serve you a lifetime.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-16-2017, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Shoot. Now I wish I would have made the top an inch or 2 thicker!!!!
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-20-2017, 11:18 AM
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Another layer of SYP....:smile3:
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-20-2017, 11:40 AM
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How thick is the bench top now? In the photo it appears to be quite substantial. Just use it. Build something. Show us photos.


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post #10 of 15 Old 01-23-2017, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Hi everyone. I pulled the trigger and did end up getting the maple top. What I did was screw it from the bottom. One side I screwed lag screws in every 12 inches I added another row of screws 24 inches apart down the middle and along the far side. I drilled the holes oversized to the shaft though the pine put snug into the maple on the holes in the middle and far side. This will let the pine underneath continue to shrink as it dries. In a year or two as I am confident. I can take the screws out and think about gluing to 2 tops together once they equalize a little bit. From my research SYP and Hard maple move very similarly to each other. Or I will just leave it alone and stick with the lag screws. This also allows me to replace the top some day should I need to.

This was more work than needed and if I could do it over again I would have just built the top thicker out of SYP. It was 2 3/8 as it was and many would argue that that would be plenty, but I was just hell bent on something thicker and I am very happy with the end result. I have never felt anything so heavy, robust and solid. Its truly is a hand woodworkers dream. Ill post finished pictures soon. Thanks for the help. Ive learned a lot of this journey.
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post #11 of 15 Old 01-23-2017, 02:11 PM
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Are you going to be drilling dog holes in the top? If you did, I'd be curious if and how much the holes get off between the two layers on the far side of the bench.
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post #12 of 15 Old 01-24-2017, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Are you going to be drilling dog holes in the top? If you did, I'd be curious if and how much the holes get off between the two layers on the far side of the bench.
I only have drilled a row of dog holes on the side with the rows of screws that will not move. That side has my tail vise with a dog hole in the chop in-line with the rest of the holes. I think that row is 3.5 inches from the edge. I thought about what you are talking about in regards to other dogs holes especially on the far side. So my plan is work on the bench a little and see where I would most likely want a hole for a holdfast and drill maybe 1 or 2 towards the middle of the bench. I will wait at least a year for any shrinking to happen before I put any dog holes along the far side. Based on some rough calculations I think the top will probably shrink along its width about 1/8". So my holes in middle might end up moving by a 16th. Hopefully with continued use the holdfast will keep those holes usable. If not I will drill a couple more holes. The old timers would drill new holes as old ones wore out, or when they determined a certain spot would make a good location for one. So I plan on going that route.

attached a couple of pictures. Its half Roubo/french half Nicholson design that I came up with. Haven't seen anyone else build one like this and I cannot for the life of figure out why. I like features of both styles of bench so I decided to add the big apron on one side and have the best of both worlds. If I discover for some reason that I do not like the apron I can remove it. I still have to make the crotchet and I am going to put the veritas twin screw vise on as a face vice.
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-24-2017, 08:28 PM
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Nice looking work bench. Looks solid.

If it were me, I'd add a second dog hole to the far side of the chop on the tail vise. Then I'd add a row of dog holes along with it in the main bench top.

Are you going to have a face vise with the large apron? If not, are you just planning to use dogs and hold fasts?

As for the dog/hold fast holes on the far side - if you want them, drill them out and add them and be done. If the layers move differently and the hold fast won't completely enter into the hole because the two layers moved differently, just redrill out the hole. Simple as that.

I just finished my work bench top not too long ago. It is 32"x84" and just under 3" made from SYP. I added a twin screw end vise (veritas) with 4 dog holes and corresponding dog holes through the entire workbench. On the front left side I added a quick release 10" face vise with 2 dogs and matching dog holes in the top. The legs and shelves below will be set flush to the face of the table with additional hold fast/dog holes. Right now it's on saw horses as I've got a few projects for customers I need to finish up first.
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post #14 of 15 Old 01-24-2017, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome looking top! I contemplated doing a full width tail vise like what you have with the twin screw, but decided to try save money and just reuse the vice I had from my old bench for the tail vice and buy the twin screw for the face vice. I could have swapped them, but I just foresee myself like the twin screw more and using it in the face vice. Only time will tell.

The nice thing is that I can always go back and drill another row and I might find out in time that I want that second row. I was trying to initially not go too hole happy and just start with the basic row for clamping boards to the top with the tail vice for planing.

I am not planing on putting any vice on the apron side. I am fascinated with some of the vice-less work holding methods of the past and plan on doing some of that on the side with the apron. using the crotchet, holdfast, doesfeet battens and stuff. There is a really good video on Youtube about vice-less workholding with a nicholson style bench. So it gives me options to experiment and have fun. Im REALLY excited to start working on it, especially after what I have been using. I am thrilled with how heavy and stiff it is. I added some high friction rubber to the feet, and it does not move even a fraction of a millimeter. :)
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post #15 of 15 Old 02-22-2020, 01:37 PM
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To the OP

I just saw your bench with the core pine, and maple top. I am actually in the process of the exact same thing. I just bought the pine lumber, still have to go buy the maple. I want a 4" thick top, almost had a heart attack when I figured out the cost of the maple. My bench is going to be massive. 11ft x 30" on one end, and 5ft x 30" on the other. My miter saw will sit in between, and the bench will double as a miter saw station. Is there anything you did in making the bench that you would do different or pit falls to avoid?. My plan is to make the legs and Faux bench top out of pine, 3" top from pine, then make a 1"-2" maple overlay, with maple skirting so the entire bench looks like maple. Let is sit for 1-2 years before I permanently glue them together. Would appreciate any pointers you have before I start the process.

Best,

Taylor
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