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Blog entry by stefang posted 09-11-2013 03:58 PM 4962 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: THE BENCH BASE GLUED UP Part 3 of SHOP IMPROVEMENTS series Part 4: Working On My New Bench Top »

Glue-up preparations
I decided to glue up 6 boards at a time for my bench top instead of 4 like I first planned. Glue-ups aren’t a lot of fun and I want to get it done as quickly as possible while still leaving the glue-ups in clamps overnight. I will have to do this 4 times.

Having fun planing
First I had to plane the top rails down flush to the top of the legs as pictured below, then I got the wood into the shop. Here’s the top rails finished and the wood I picked (fir).

The first thing I had to do before the actual glue-up was to plane each side of every board. This was to get the joints smooth, not to actually joint the lumber.

I got this tip from Paul Sellers watching his bench build videos. He said that the soft wood would pull together fine and that the smoothing was just to ensure good glue contact by removing and bumps or rough spots. So that is what I did using my bench base to hold the pieces.

This worked incredibly well. When I planed the top rails the bench slid a bit on the floor, but this time it didn’t move at all. I did sharpen my plane before I started, and I’m sure that helped. I got wonderful results with my Stanley/Bailey #4 and it was an enjoyable experience. it took me about an hour to do the 12 sides. Here’s the set-up.

I highly recommend to everyone to get into hand planing. I am getting better at it all the time and I find it to be a extremely useful skill. You do have to have sharp planes though for it to be worthwhile and enjoyable.

Not having fun Gluing
After the planing was done I placed some spacers across my bench base and topped it off with a long platter which I then covered with paper to catch dripping glue. I also place some spacers on top of the platter so I could easily get my clamps underneath boards being glued. I didn’t use any cauls.

The boards went together very well with variations of maybe 1/32” on a couple of boards. I thought that was ok, even if it gets to be 1/16”. I got nice even glue squeeze-out along all of the joints. This gave me a feeling of ecstasy. After cleaning up the squeeze-out it looked like this. Please note how the clamps block access the the far end of the boards. That’s where the agony comes in. I had to creep under the clamp ends sticking out to get to the end to clean up the squeeez-out on the far end. Old men should not crawl around on their knees!!

What’s next
Three more glue-ups like this and then one last glue-up to join the 4 sections together. After that I plan to plug all the knots before planing the top. Then I might paint the base and oil the top, or I might oil the base too, depending how I feel that day.

Thanks for reading!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

14 comments so far

View lumberdustjohn's profile


1263 posts in 4408 days

#1 posted 09-11-2013 04:03 PM

It’s gonna be a nice one.
Thanks for posting

-- Safety first because someone needs you.

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4582 days

#2 posted 09-11-2013 04:16 PM

looks good
tedious for sure

how about getting a skateboard
to get under the clamps

you won’t have to crawl to work

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4575 days

#3 posted 09-11-2013 04:23 PM

Thanks John and David. A skateboard is a great idea David! If I get one I hope I don’t have to wear my baseball cap backwards! Should I go in belly down or belly up?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26782 posts in 4347 days

#4 posted 09-11-2013 05:14 PM

Belly up to see what you are doing!!
That is going to be a bench to last a lifetime or two!! Don’t forget to sign it so when someone pulls it out of some where in 2112 they will know who made it way back when!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4575 days

#5 posted 09-11-2013 05:22 PM

Thanks Jim. Certainly not as nice as most of the benches I’ve seen here on LJ, but it will be a welcome addition to my shop. I want to get on with the marquetry work, but I also want to make larger stuff on occasion too, and this bench will give me a place to do that.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Schwieb's profile


1921 posts in 4703 days

#6 posted 09-11-2013 06:13 PM

Coming right along! Oh why not turn you cap backwards and be a cool grandpa…... LOL

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17529 posts in 3860 days

#7 posted 09-11-2013 06:16 PM

Ah, that sure looks like great progress to me! Congrats, Mike, and keep truckin’! Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4575 days

#8 posted 09-11-2013 06:56 PM

Thanks Ken and Smitty. I think it’s way too late for me to be cool Ken, in fact now that I think about I never was. I might have been the only guy in California with short hair in the 60’s I am very satisfied that my hair (unchanged since the 60’s) is back in style again!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 5155 days

#9 posted 09-11-2013 08:29 PM

Looking great Mike – even as it is, it is already better than my workbench which is two sawhorses and a piece of plywood. I hope to be like you when I grow up.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View shipwright's profile


8751 posts in 4039 days

#10 posted 09-11-2013 09:00 PM

Looks great Mike. I use an auto mechanic’s creeper to zoom around the crawl space under my shop floor. Works great. I absolutely agree with you about not crawling. Going to be a fine bench and I’m betting it looks a lot better than you say. You modest guy!

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4545 days

#11 posted 09-11-2013 09:31 PM

very nice mike, your moving along well and for knowledge sake, 57 yr olds should not get down on there knees, i do it from time to time and when i go to get up, i can hardly stand, so live and learn huh…good progress here mike, will you do a fancy inlay on this one…you really need to in order to make it yours…lol..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4575 days

#12 posted 09-12-2013 08:04 AM

Thanks Steve, Paul and Bob. No inlays Bob, It’s just for work, not show. I was real worried the bench would be weak due to the opening on the front side, but it’s a lot better than I had even hoped for. I can now understand why so many bench builders use bridle joints. I got the idea for using them from my workbench book by Scott Landon and published by the Taunton Press. A super book that covers the history of workbenches and the A-Z building of them including all the different types of vises, wood and steel types, dogs and other bench holding devices, except for Paul’s unique wedge type vises. I’ve had this book for many years now, so I’m not sure if it is still being sold. It contains no building plans, but it does detail all the different construction methods.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4045 days

#13 posted 09-14-2013 11:25 AM

One board at a time Mike, it’s comin together

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View mafe's profile


13334 posts in 4330 days

#14 posted 09-17-2013 05:16 PM

Hi Mike,
Cant wait to see the picture of you on a skateboard.
Looking good!
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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