Reply by MrRon

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Posted on top 2x4 lamination on edge rather than face, bad idea?

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5659 posts in 3719 days

#1 posted 10-25-2018 01:11 AM

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is to alternate the end grain of each 2×4 when laminating. That minimizes the tendency for cupping over the full width of the bench. The way I do it is to drill a hole through each 2×4 about 6” from each end and 1 or 2 spaced evenly between the ends, depending on the overall length. A 1/2”” hole is good with a 1” counterbore in the outer 2×4’s for a length of 1/2” all thread rod with a flat washer and nut on each end. This clamps the 2×4’s together, making for a more rigid top that won’t twist on you. Don’t forget glue between the 2×4’s. The top can be covered with a piece of hard board (Masonite), screwed to the top, so it can be replaced when it gets all chewed up. A 1x can be wrapped around the edges of the bench to make it look nice. Four 4×4’s for legs and 2×4’s for an apron; 2×4’s 6” to 8” above the floor will strengthen the bench, eliminating any rocking or movement with a sheet of plywood creates a shelf. Such a bench will have plenty of mass and weight to withstand hammering, pounding or planing.
When buying 2×4’s, if you want the bench to be say 6’ long, buy 12 footers and cut them in half. You need to plan so you don’t waste material. Buying an 8 footer for a 6’ long bench would waste 2’ off each 2×4.
A bench can take many forms. It all depends on the type of work you will be doing. The Roubo style bench is a suitable type of bench if you are doing woodworking with hand tools, while a deep bench may suit the large project. As a model maker, I don’t require a very large bench as I mostly sit at the bench and have everything I need right there. It is always a good idea to keep the tools you use most within easy reach of the bench. Drawers in the bench provide that convenience.
I’m sure this won’t be your only bench. I have built many benches and modified them to suit the work I’m doing at the time. When I built my 1200 sf shop, 16 years ago, I built over 20’ of wall based bench with many drawers. To this day, the benches have been used as storage, mostly for junk. The bench I use exclusively is 6’ long x 30” deep with small parts cabinets along the back. As i mentioned, I build models and this bench suits me just fine. If it were larger, things would get lost. The bench is also heavy enough for the rare instance I have to plane some wood or have to pound some sense into a stubborn car repair.

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