Need help with building a workbench top with glued 4x4s - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Need help with building a workbench top with glued 4x4s

I'm building a bench top made with Douglas Fir S4S 4x4s and want to make sure my plans/techniques checks out before I start. The dimensions are 28" x 58". I'm planning to simply glue them together with Gorilla Glue, then clamp together overnight to dry. Is this all there is to it to make a strong bond and quality top or should I be thinking about doing it another way?

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post #2 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue sky
I'm building a bench top made with Douglas Fir S4S 4x4s and want to make sure my plans/techniques checks out before I start. The dimensions are 28" x 58". I'm planning to simply glue them together with Gorilla Glue, then clamp together overnight to dry. Is this all there is to it to make a strong bond and quality top or should I be thinking about doing it another way?

Thanks.
You can glue them together.then clamp overnight .That's normal routine. You said Gorilla glue, are you talking about gorilla wood glue or the stuff that expands?

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post #3 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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You can glue them together.then clamp overnight .That's normal routine. You said Gorilla glue, are you talking about gorilla wood glue or the stuff that expands?
Going to use Gorilla wood glue. Do you recommend anything better? Also, what about the wood prep? Can I just butt them up against each other, glue, and clamp as is since they're S4S, or should I prep them in any way?
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post #4 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 05:00 PM
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Blue,
I don't know if I would use the gorilla glue, up to you on that. I like titebond II & III. You might want to consider cutting a groove in each of the sides to be glued up and make a spline to fit. It would help you to align the pieces while you are gluing and keep them straight. It will also strengthen your joints. It could easily be done on a table saw.
The other thing you could do is predrill the 4xs and insert about 3 lengths of 1/2" allthread after you glue it and tighten them up for your clamps and just leave them in place. Counter bore the end so the rods don't stick out. Just a couple of ideas for you.
Mike Hawkins
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post #5 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Blue,
I don't know if I would use the gorilla glue, up to you on that. I like titebond II & III. You might want to consider cutting a groove in each of the sides to be glued up and make a spline to fit. It would help you to align the pieces while you are gluing and keep them straight. It will also strengthen your joints. It could easily be done on a table saw.
The other thing you could do is predrill the 4xs and insert about 3 lengths of 1/2" allthread after you glue it and tighten them up for your clamps and just leave them in place. Counter bore the end so the rods don't stick out. Just a couple of ideas for you.
Mike Hawkins
Thanks for the allthread tip, I like that better than using clamps.

Last edited by blue sky; 01-12-2012 at 05:52 PM.
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post #6 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue sky

Going to use Gorilla wood glue. Do you recommend anything better? Also, what about the wood prep? Can I just butt them up against each other, glue, and clamp as is since they're S4S, or should I prep them in any way?
Gorilla wood glue works good for me. It has a good initial tack, and drys clear. You might want to double check to make sure that the glue joint is square 90 deg before glue up. Yes clamps will be fine, no need for spline.
JMO

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post #7 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 06:12 PM
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I wouldn't use 4 x 4's

Reason is almost every 4 x 4 I've ever seen has already or will check. I'd use 2x 4's instead an look for the straightest and flatest of the pile. You are only gonna do this once, and you want to minimize the checking.
If the 28" width is critical then of course you could not use 24" plywood ripped from 48" sheets.Some ply comes in 60 x 60 so that would work better. You will probably cover it with something anyway, plywood or hardboard. http://www.kencraftstore.com/ply3.htm

Every one of my benches is made from a solid core door in 30" wide and 6'8" long covered with 1/4" hardboard except one, which is laminated maple 2 1/2" x 1 1/2" x random lengths. It's a beautiful top and more of a showpiece than a work surface at least so far. bill

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post #8 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 06:27 PM
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Unless you already have the 4x4s I agree with woodnthings. 2x4s on edge will allow the surfaces to "give" or conform to each other better than the 4x4 would. The 1 1/2" thickness will un-twist a little if necessary much easier than a 3 1/2" thickness will.

I have had better results using Gorilla wood glue than I have with Titebond II or III but the Gorilla urethane (the foamy stuff) product is more weatherproof than their wood glue.

If you already have the 4x4s go for it. Just clamp the heck out of it for at least 24 hrs.

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post #9 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 06:37 PM
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Why are you building the top with 4x4's. Are you planning to be rebuilding 454 Chevy engines on it?

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post #10 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Reason is almost every 4 x 4 I've ever seen has already or will check. I'd use 2x 4's instead an look for the straightest and flatest of the pile. You are only gonna do this once, and you want to minimize the checking.
If the 28" width is critical then of course you could not use 24" plywood ripped from 48" sheets.Some ply comes in 60 x 60 so that would work better. You will probably cover it with something anyway, plywood or hardboard. http://www.kencraftstore.com/ply3.htm

Every one of my benches is made from a solid core door in 30" wide and 6'8" long covered with 1/4" hardboard except one, which is laminated maple 2 1/2" x 1 1/2" x random lengths. It's a beautiful top and more of a showpiece than a work surface at least so far. bill
Thanks for the tip about using 2x4s instead. I haven't picked up the lumber yet and will give it some thought before I do. If I stick with the 4x4s, I can rip them to make sure they're square. One reason for the 4x4s is cost (only $14.81 for a 20' length at my local HD, so I can build this bench top for less than $30 in lumber). 2x4s would cost more.
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post #11 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 07:07 PM
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If I stick with the 4x4s, I can rip them to make sure they're square.

What will you be using to rip these?

Scott
OH, wait a minute ............Yep!.............That's what he said!

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post #12 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 07:14 PM
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What will you be using to rip these?
His 5HP Powermatic 12"er.

No but seriously, I would strongly consider using dugfir 2x4's, with all-thread and glue.

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post #13 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 07:54 PM
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false economy possibly here

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Originally Posted by blue sky View Post
Thanks for the tip about using 2x4s instead. I haven't picked up the lumber yet and will give it some thought before I do. If I stick with the 4x4s, I can rip them to make sure they're square. One reason for the 4x4s is cost (only $14.81 for a 20' length at my local HD, so I can build this bench top for less than $30 in lumber). 2x4s would cost more.
Go and sight down one of those 20 footers and then see how much you want them. !0 ft 2xs arent that expensive and will bend to clamp pressure easier than a 4 x 4 if they are a little warped. And you will not want to rip the 4 x 4s they will curve like crazy after they're cut and to top it all off a 10" saw blade will cut up at most 3 1/4" and the 4 x 4 measures 3 1/2". All this is free advice of course is based on experience. bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #14 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 09:37 PM
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I found, when I built my bench, that 2 x 12's were more straight than 2 x 4's. So I ripped 2 x 12's in thirds and glued them with Gorilla Wood glue and clamped. I didn't want metal fasteners because I didn't know where I would want to drill for holdfasts and bench dogs. The bench is not as thick as if I had used 2 x 4's but it's still plenty stiff.
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post #15 of 57 Old 01-12-2012, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Go and sight down one of those 20 footers and then see how much you want them. !0 ft 2xs arent that expensive and will bend to clamp pressure easier than a 4 x 4 if they are a little warped. And you will not want to rip the 4 x 4s they will curve like crazy after they're cut and to top it all off a 10" saw blade will cut up at most 3 1/4" and the 4 x 4 measures 3 1/2". All this is free advice of course is based on experience. bill
Okay, based on what everyone is saying, I'm a little nuts for wanting to build this with 4x4s. I get the concept of 2x4s being more flexible and a better option, even though it'll cost more. From the start, I thought it would be easier with less parts, but it doesn't sound like I had thought it through. I'll change my plans for 2x4s and I'll still use three allthreads to clamp them together, instead of dowels.

I appreciate everyone giving their candid advice to save me some sweat trying to overcome a bad plan.
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post #16 of 57 Old 01-13-2012, 05:37 AM
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Don't forget that you will have to rip each 2x4 to remove the rolled edge. This will provide a flat bench top surface. Usually a 1/8" to 3/16" cut will remove even the most rolled edge of lumber from Lowes or HD. It will also give you an opportunity to cut away slight warps and bows if you use a very long fence on the table saw.

It sounds like you and I both like a solid work bench. I have three of this type of bench out in the barn with 4x4 oak legs. And yes, you could work on a big block engine on any one of them.

It sounds like you're on the right track to building a great bench. Good luck.

Last edited by Murphy's Law; 01-13-2012 at 05:41 AM.
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post #17 of 57 Old 01-13-2012, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Don't forget that you will have to rip each 2x4 to remove the rolled edge. This will provide a flat bench top surface. Usually a 1/8" to 3/16" cut will remove even the most rolled edge of lumber from Lowes or HD. It will also give you an opportunity to cut away slight warps and bows if you use a very long fence on the table saw.

It sounds like you and I both like a solid work bench. I have three of this type of bench out in the barn with 4x4 oak legs. And yes, you could work on a big block engine on any one of them.

It sounds like you're on the right track to building a great bench. Good luck.
Thanks for the tips. And yes, I want a bench that will last longer than me. I'll build the frame tomorrow and the top probably next weekend. Here's a link to the page where I got the plans for the frame. It looks very sturdy, looks good, and the material will be less than $65.

http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/rec...ame/index.html
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post #18 of 57 Old 01-13-2012, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Go and sight down one of those 20 footers and then see how much you want them. !0 ft 2xs arent that expensive and will bend to clamp pressure easier than a 4 x 4 if they are a little warped. And you will not want to rip the 4 x 4s they will curve like crazy after they're cut and to top it all off a 10" saw blade will cut up at most 3 1/4" and the 4 x 4 measures 3 1/2". All this is free advice of course is based on experience. bill
I'd like the "buther block" look when done. My question is without planning the 2x4 faces, would I get the look I want OR will it be sloppy looking.
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post #19 of 57 Old 01-13-2012, 04:28 PM
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Murph is right

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I'd like the "buther block" look when done. My question is without planning the 2x4 faces, would I get the look I want OR will it be sloppy looking.
Construction 2 Xs come milled with a rounded edge which you would want to remove before face gluing them other wise you'll have little valleys for crud to fall into. Ideally they should be ripped off on the table saw...kinda a pain, but no other choice.

That's why I suggested a solid core door or maybe a triple laminate of particle board or plywood. Then the other issue is you need a nice flat surface ...usually a workbench for the glue up. And that means you need a workbench to make a workbench...kinda a pain. And then you need a slew of clamps.... prolly 8 or so. All things considered maybe you want to rethink this. Drilling mating holes for all thread rod could be a challenge, I donno? bill

Give this a look:
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/m...rkbench-24788/

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 01-13-2012 at 04:36 PM.
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post #20 of 57 Old 01-13-2012, 05:33 PM
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If you want the butcher block look, you will have to have the 1.5" edge on top. I won't repeat removing the rounded edges, as that has been suggested a few times already.

I will say that wider boards, like 2x6, or 2x8 usually are more select than 2x4's. If you orient the wide face for the top, you don't need too many. If you buy 10' lengths you'll get two per length.

IMO, whichever way you orient the lumber, i.e., on edge or flat, and try to do a glue up with all thread, it won't work like using clamps and cauls. I know because I've tried to do it that way. By the time you drill all the holes, get the glue applied, get the rod in, washers, and nuts, and start to tighten them up, your glue will start to kick. You may not have enough time to line everything up, as the nuts on the thread don't turn that fast.






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