Work Bench Build #2: Milling the Top

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Blog entry by jmos posted 01-20-2012 12:06 AM 4067 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The Plan Part 2 of Work Bench Build series Part 3: Gluing Up the Top and Milling the Base »

Well, I got some time to spend in the shop. The first thing I did was build some saw horses per the design in Schwarz’s book. I figure I needed some additional space for this build, I also figured I could use the saw horse later, so I got that done.

Next I milled up the lumber for the top. The LVL worked fairly easily. I had three pieces, (2) 7’ and (1) 8’. These thick long cuts are where I start wishing I had a full cabinet saw instead of my 1.75hp hybrid. Anyway, the two 7’ boards ripped down easily as long as I took it easy on the feed rate. My combination blade made a nice smooth cut. I was somewhat surprised to find stresses in the 8’ board. The kerf closed up on me and tripped the breaker (even with the splitter installed.) After that I kept the wedges handy.

The jointing went better than I hoped; I was concerned about handling boards that long and getting good results. Again, no problems at all with the knives cutting this stuff. Planing was also easy. I set up roller stands on the infeed and outfeed sides for both jointing and planing, that really helped a lot.

Unfortunately the LVL was not as flat as I had hoped, all the boards had some cup, and I had to waste more than I expected getting the boards flat. The material was sold as 1 3/4” thick, but was mostly only 1.7”. By the time I was done jointing and planing, some pieces were down to almost 1.5”. In order for me to hit my target width I needed to add some boards.

So, I milled up an extra 8/4 maple board. I am using 8/4 stock for the front and back edges, so I milled up another board and got two more strips for the top, which left me a bit fat. My original plan was to get 24”, and I ended up with 26 1/2” milled stock. I could just use one extra maple board and get down under 25”, but I figured why not leave it in.

The top is currently 3 1/4” thick. I planning on passing it through the planner at least one more time before final glue, but I’ll easily end up over 3” thick. This new top must weigh 50% than my old bench did. :-)

I’ve turned my old bench into an outfeed table for my TS; the height was perfect once I added a sheet of 1/2” MDF. That was something else I would not have wanted to try this project without.

Next step is to start gluing everything up. Here are some pictures of the top laid out on the saw horses.

-- John

7 comments so far

View Brandon's profile


4382 posts in 4451 days

#1 posted 01-20-2012 12:49 AM

Fascinating post! Keep up the good work and keep the blog posts going. It’s coming along nicely.

”The kerf closed up on me and tripped the breaker (even with the splitter installed.) After that I kept the wedges handy.” I know that story very well!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Brandon's profile


4382 posts in 4451 days

#2 posted 01-20-2012 12:50 AM

Oh and my bench is just over 26” wide and I did that intentionally. :-) I think you’ll like it.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 4174 days

#3 posted 01-20-2012 12:52 AM

Looks like good progress.
I wish you continued good luck with your build & keep them pictures coming!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View cwdance1's profile


1164 posts in 4758 days

#4 posted 01-20-2012 01:56 AM

Keep up the great work. It will pay off in the end.

View jcwalleye's profile


306 posts in 4572 days

#5 posted 01-20-2012 05:31 AM

Great pictures and story. If you’ve got the time, gluing up one lam at a time is a lot more leisurly than trying to do it all at once. You can concentrate on getting the top aligned. I tried glueing up sub-assemblies, but when it came time to glue them together, the clamps couldn’t pull everything together like I wanted. Ended up gluing one board at a time. Good luck. We’ll be watching.

-- Trees, a wonderful gift --Joe--

View jmos's profile


918 posts in 3869 days

#6 posted 01-20-2012 02:43 PM

Thanks everyone for the encouragement!

Joe – I do plan on gluing up smaller groups of boards; probably try 3 or 4 at a time so I can get them well aligned. When I get half glued up I’ll put it through the planer one last time to minimize hand flattening.

-- John

View Duffmeister's profile


4 posts in 2785 days

#7 posted 11-26-2014 03:42 PM

new to all of this, am enjoying learning from your experiences. is your saw wired for 120 or 220? Just curious, since my saw (also 1.75 hp) is still wired 120 and bogs down a bit on 8/4 stock.

-- Get off my lawn!

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