A New Life for an Old Bench #5: Relaminating the top and a few other odds and ends

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Blog entry by ToddJB posted 04-03-2014 05:54 PM 3568 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Addressing Wood Rot & Questions About Gluing Up The Top. Part 5 of A New Life for an Old Bench series Part 6: Scrape, Scrub, and Oil »

When this bench got to my shop the delaminated top was my biggest concern – I had never done a long glue up.

Here is what I was working with:

The top split straight down the glue line where there are two positioning dowels that align the top of the bench with the front of the base. In the last post there is a lot of discussion about how this is poor placement of these dowels. So once the top is glued up – the dowels will be moved.

Back to the glue up.

I had gone back and forth on whether I should attempt to disassemble the top by taking the end caps off, or if I should leave it all together and just try to clean the joints and glue up as it was. Wisdom from those more experienced encouraged me to try to take it apart. So take apart I did.

This was actually a pretty simple task. I removed the front vise and took out the lag that goes through the end cap into the top, and the wayward portion of the top was free. AND dirty.

I’m confident that I took some pictures of how dirty with green gooey-ness, and crust these joint were, but I can find the pic, regardless here they are cleaned up.

Once I got them nice and clean, I removed the offended alignment dowels, put some painters tape on the bases stretcher, did a quick dry fit, and went to town on the glue.

The process wasn’t as daunting as I had built up in my head, but it also didn’t go without a few hitches either. The biggest one was that the the surfaces of the two joints were not perfectly flat with each other. I did my best line them up so that least amount of material would have to be removed to true them up.

While the top was drying I turned my attention to the front vise. While I was taking it apart I notice the the nut had been broken at some point and the repair was just to through a bunch of nails into it.

I figured while I had it out and apart I might as well address it now. So more glue and more clamps.

The following day after the top had ample time to dry I decided that I would like a little more reenforcement. The front the top did have a lag going into it, but only about 4 inches, but that still put me about 1.5 inches short of the original delamination. So I decided that I would be in a 3” screw behind the lag. This allows me to keep the original look, but gains me more depth.

After that I moved onto the offending alignment dowels.

It was a consensus that putting these dowels in the middle of a glue line was poor planning (or the lack thereof). So decided to move them back a row and put them in the middle of a board.

I used the old dowels to fill the old holes and cut them off flush. I marked everything out VERY carefully. Now it’s important that these holes are straight up and down, or the dowels will not be, which means the top with either not seat correctly, or it will throw my front alignment off. Typically I would use a drill press for such endeavors, but that would not be option for these holes because of the tables size. So I made this jig.

Isn’t it fancy? If you would like one I am accepting orders now, but don’t wait to long – I’m sure I won’t be able to keep up with the demand.

So like I said before I measured very carefully and checked multiple times. Everything looked so good. I felt confident, so I began to drill. The stretcher holes perfect.

The holes on the underside of the top, were dead on my marks…. oh except I drilled on the wrong side of my mark. Face palm, then cuss, then plug the hole, then drill the correct hole.

How she’s align? Pretty good I think.

So as I currently have toddler grappling my head, I’ll leave it here – unproofread – my apologies.

Next time we’ll dive into scraping the top, cleaning the wood, and adding some finish.

Thanks for reading.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

4 comments so far

View chrisstef's profile


18140 posts in 4504 days

#1 posted 04-03-2014 06:17 PM

She’s lookin whole again brother. Good work and I cant wait until I see that freshly scraped top lookin like new again. There will be glory had.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View JayT's profile


6460 posts in 3708 days

#2 posted 04-03-2014 06:23 PM

Well done, Todd.

I’m sure demand on those drill jigs is going to go through the roof.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View AnthonyReed's profile


10196 posts in 3937 days

#3 posted 04-03-2014 07:11 PM

Great stuff Todd. You are doing a wonderful job.

Thanks for sharing.

-- ~Tony

View john2005's profile


1768 posts in 3675 days

#4 posted 04-04-2014 12:38 AM

You are rockin it Todd! I didn’t realize you were doing a blog on the old girl. You’ve done well by er it seems. It will be good to see that old workhorse back in the frontline. Nice job!

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

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