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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went to 2 home depots and 1 Lowes today. I picked up mostly what I need for the workbench.

Picking out the lumber was a decent amount of work and sorting through the boards for nice ones took some time. The plans called for 9x 8' 2x12s, but I didn't find many quality 8' boards. The selection at a few stores was minimal, and I sorted through what was plentiful. I basically substituted 3 16' boards for 6 8' boards. I also got the 10' boards because they were straight and knot free. I only got boards with 5 or more growth rings through the center, no pith, and minimal knots. I also picked straight boards as I could, but we will see as they dry.

My plan is to make the bench slightly narrower than the plans (21') but add a narrow tool tray (5-6").

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3x 16' 2x12
1x 12' 2x12
4x 10' 2x12
1x 8' 2x12

2x 10' 2x10
1x 12' 2x10
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good luck! I'm eagerly following this because a workbench is on my list.
:)
I do want to keep this thread kinda going, but I really expect the longest part of this timeline to be me waiting for the pine to dry out enough to work. I am hoping to rip them around Thanksgiving, and get the bench really started around Christmas.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Gotcha, makes sense now.
Southern yellow pine is denser and the larger stock tends to warp less as it dries (hopefully).

Also, because it's wider, when I rip it, I won't have as much flat grain trying to cup. I'll basically have one quarter sawn edge and one rift sawn edge.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Interesting I have a stack of 12' former roof rafters that are 2 x 8s that I'm thinking of using for mine. I'm not sure how old they are, but the wood is not light like pine, maybe spruce or fir. My workbench is going to be smaller than most because my space is minimal, so I may not need more than 2x4s, which I plan to use for the legs and frame as well, doubled up. They are pretty straight. I'm trying to use what I already have, I don't expect to need it to last a hundred years, I'll be happy to get 5-7 years' use out of it myself. lol
Well, southern yellow pine is one of the denser softwoods, and common joist material in the Midwest and Eastern US.

2x8 ripped in half is still a decent thickness for the top. How many do you have? If you want to make a 6' bench, each one will give you 5" or 5.5" of width on your top. I'm tired of a bench that scoots around the basement floor, so I'm going for heft.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'd go ahead and rip them now. Get that internal stress relieved, then sticker them and let them freak out for a month.

5" is a very thick top!
Yeah...I might hate life if I decide to move and want to bring the bench with me... then again, it was about $250 in wood, so I can also say I rented it for $25/year for the next 10 years.

I need to rip them in my basement, and I have a few projects I want to complete before I bring them down, plus a family vacation...I think they will live in the garage for about a month, but I do want to get them up above the concrete floor...maybe they'll be a few lbs lighter when I actually haul them downstairs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
How feasible is it to make the bench with some variety of mortise and tenon so it can be knocked down?
The book recommends a draw bored mortise and tenon. If I don't use wood glue, I would probably be able to knock it down...once.

I will also have a 8" jointer, cabinet saw, 3HP bandsaw and large metal box in my basement that will have to move when I leave, so I will already have a ton of heavy stuff to haul out.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If draw bored is what I refer to as draw peg construction, you can knock it down and re-install as many times as needed.
You would probably have to bore the pegs out and make and install new ones. Glue is not needed on the mortise or pegs. I used to make industrial lab benches from common 2x4's. I also made 7 woodworkers benches from beech.
Most of the lab benches were either fir, yellow pine or what was called white wood , this is also known as hemlock spruce.
The boards were machined to 3-1/4" x 1-5/16". Most were 27-1/2" wide with a total of 20 boards laminated.
mike
The draw bores are off center, so the hole of the tenon is 1/16" closer to the shoulder. It deform the peg enough that it curves inside the joint and also deform the holes. I could use standard pegs to fit them, but I worry it wouldn't prevent wobble.

Breaking down the bench is really a tertiary concern of mine. I will not modify my plans to make it easier to move in 15 or 20 years. If I am ever successful enough to buy a mansion, I can afford good movers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I know everyone has opinions on benches, and I appreciate that, but I have also found that if you try to take everyone's ideas from their use case and combine them into a "one bench that combines all the features", then you usually wind up with something awkward and compromised...so I'm going to stay relatively close to the design in the book (except taller because I'm 6'7", and with a tool tray because dropping bench planes sucks.)

I also didn't realize there were bragging rights associated with building a cheap bench from construction grade yellow pine...I consider the Scandinavian style benches and houndstooth dovetails more of a fancy/bragging rights bench, but maybe there's something I wasn't aware of (?)

I am not putting through tenons on the top. Just tenons formed through laminations of the leg, and some 2.5" x 5" mortises that I will mostly drill out and just chisel square. The author recommends against using lag bolts on the SYP, so I will heed that advise. The joints don't scare me. I've done them a ton although never quite this large.

I don't know...I kinda figured this would be the easy route towards building a noice bench. My shop is so small I've not wanted to upgrade my tiny bench until I got more space and I'm tired of the wobbling and fighting on the current bench. It weights over 100lbs.

I finally got a little extra room so I'm putting my bench in its own area, and I can go bigger and heavier like I've always wanted!
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I brought the workbench wood down into the basement so it can start to acclimate more. The moisture meter I bought reads about the same with this wood as it does with some SYP I've had a long time. I'm not sure I trust it.

After two weeks in the garage, it really didn't warp at all, but it definitely let off some moisture...The smell was super strong that first week.

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I made a little time in the shop again today. After getting the jointer knives sharpened and adjusted last night, I reconfigured the shop to allow me to mill the 8' 2x12s for the benchtop.


Most of my time was spent wrangling southern yellow pine and figuring out my cut list for a taller than normal 37-38" bench. (I'm about 6' 6" and my current 34" bench hurts my back. My 40" counter is a little high for handplanes though)


I probably put about 3 hours in today and I didn't get the first bundle glued up, but they are milled and they close up pretty well.


Total time: about 6 hours

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Discussion Starter · #35 · (Edited)
Ironically I really need a bigger work surface to make this bench...

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Lessons learned...
The bandsaw is perfect for the rip cuts

My 6" jet jointer will tip if I run an 8' long 2x6 through it without adding support.

The boards really didn't warp significantly.

After 2+months the wood still isn't quite equalized with the humidity
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
I aligned the layers with a couple 18ga brads about 1/4" from the ends. It worked ok. They still slid around a bit. My wife came down to chit chat after I spread glue on the third board. I am pretty sure I broke one of my cabinet masters. Oh well.

I did a dry run before I added glue. I did find one divot so sent it through the planer again. I am hopeful I won't have any gaps in the laminations...we will see.

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The cast iron clamps are great, but I can't stand them up, so my shop is basically is use until I take these clamps off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Lessons learned
1. Be messy and fast with glue
2. Biscuits help
3. Clamp on saw horses

I got the other bundle glued up. There were not many noticeable gaps in the top.

I used a plastic putty knife to spread the glue. It worked well, but I didn't move fast enough on the second bundle and it started setting before the clamps were in place. Hopefully that won't haunt me. It is hard to spread it with the putty knife without glue going everywhere and valuing over the sides. A roller might have been better, but those are surprisingly expensive. For the third glue up, I decided to just not care and I used more glue than needed, but it went much smoother.

For alignment, the 18ga nails weren't cutting it. I used biscuits 1.5" from the top for the final glue up and they saved time flattening the top.

I also assembled the last glue up on saw horses, and that was the way to go! I tried the floor for the first two, but it was a real pita. Plus I tried laying them flat then rotating them, and that was a terrible idea. Stack them like cards when you glue. Clamp them as they lay, and leave them be!
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Don't even worry about the squeeze out. It literally pops off when you remove the clamps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 · (Edited)
Flattening the bundle with a scrub plane was pretty efficient and it got the glue of with it.

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Taking the glue of probably added 5 minutes of planning time.

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The top is larger than I even expected. I knew the dimensions, but laying the three bundle together gives a different appreciation for the mass.

Total time: 12 hours
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
I have a set like that (I bought from Rockler) on my other bench. The only thing I question about it is # capacity.
It's#600 rating for all 4 so it would be @150# for each one.
When you lift that first caster it could be taking half the weight of the bench.
The bench will not be more than 300#or so.

I also see the 600# rating and expect it really means 600#
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Something I found works great for large scale glueups is a rubber roller with a plastic handle. I found mine at one of the chain crafts stores in town. It cleans up easily even after glue has dried to it and spreads glue evenly without making a huge mess. Plastic housing and the roller snaps away from the handle..easy to clean.. (btw, a bucket of sawdust and some elbow grease makes cleaning up squeeze out easy.. Sprinkle sawdust and rub while still wet. Sawdust soaks it up for a LOT less mess..)
I'm probably going to rebuild my bench sometime this summer and give the old one away.
I found I don't really need a 4-5" thick bench. Mine is 3.25 and even that's too thick for most of my needs so I'll likely settle on about 2.5". I have a supplier locally who sells mostly flooring so I'll likely avoid the 2X route and go with 1X's or even 3/4 stock. Since i get 4/4 cypress really cheap, 1x5-6 pieces 48" long for around $2.20 per board I can stagger pieces, put square holes wherever i want or just drill em out for 3/4" dowels for dogs..still undecided on that.. Cypress is just about bulletproof when it comes to moisture so I'll never have to worry about warpage, etc. and has a similar texture and feel as pine, maybe slightly harder.. I'm probably going to buy an entire pallet load soon, about 200 or so boards..
I am going to stick with the same leg setup, tenon and mortises and use the same system used in the Paul Sellers builds, angled grooves(?) that allow me to just tap angles pieces in for a great friction fit. Check out how he does it online. I don't feel like typing all that out.. LOL
My old bench has stood up to everything I've thrown at it. The legs have never once wavered in the least, but I need it to be about 4" shorter because i want it to double as my outfeed table with one side with a hinged extension so I can rip really wide sheet goods without anything falling. I added the hinged extension on the old bench when I was building the gates this past summer. Home depot sells really heavy duty knock down locking shelf supports that are hinged..worked great with my 13" aprons so I'll probably reuse them on one side and put my vise on the opposite.. I don't really want a tool well anymore. I'm too much of a junk collector and it just fills up with any and everything, but I do want drawers and storage underneath so I still need to work on that idea..
Since the ceiling is almost 10 feet I'm strongly considering overhead storage to put all the junk that's always getting in my way, maybe lumber racks built into it, but I'm not entirely sure on that right now..
Well, now I'm just rambling but you get the idea..I really only intended to write about the rubber roller for glueups.. As you can undoubtedly tell, I NEVER get carried away in my thoughts whilst typing..;)
You get carried away when you enjoy something...

Good tip on the rubber roller. I didn't want to buy one of those expensive foam rollers where the rollers cost $4-5 each. Instead, I used a 6" plastic trowel from Walmart. It works fairly well, but it is easy to over-apply glue, and it isn't great for spreading glue near the edges. The glue tends to flow over the side. I've done a lot of drywall, and it's similar to using mud that's too wet.

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I'm also not sure 4' cypress is the best choice. Especially if you need to butt joint the pieces together. Gluing the 2x pine was annoying enough. 4' x 3/4" sections would be 4x as many glue lines. You also might get more waste.
 
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