What do with small area of bench top delamination?

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Forum topic by Dave11 posted 06-04-2017 03:29 PM 1262 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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33 posts in 3180 days

06-04-2017 03:29 PM

Pic shows the end of one half of my split-top bench. Wood is SYP mostly quarter-sawn or rift sawn from larger boards. Wood was cut and glued 5 years ago, and the two halves sat on saw horses for 4-5 years, I’m ashamed to say. Just this month I finished the bench and mounted the two tops. The center area in the pic is the only one with any delamination. I noticed a tiny line in this area right after glue-up, but it didn’t become noticeable really until I mounted the top to the bench. It involves just one end, about 8 inches, of a seven foot span.

So it’s been through 4-5 years already without a big change.

I’ve been reading all the different opinions about what to do. Some say ignore it, but now that the top is actually going to be used hard, isn’t the delam likely to worsen?

Others say try to reglue, but I can’t believe I’d ever get much glue into that without prying it further apart.

Butterfly key?

Fill the seam with epoxy?

Any help appreciated.

14 replies so far

View jonah's profile


2092 posts in 3910 days

#1 posted 06-04-2017 04:04 PM

Honestly, I’d leave it alone. It’s very minor. The very most I would do is some sort of butterfly key or dutchman. I would not use epoxy because it will make flattening or resurfacing the bench harder down the line.

View Dave11's profile


33 posts in 3180 days

#2 posted 06-04-2017 04:45 PM

But is it likely that split will worsen as the bench gets used more heavily? Pounded on, etc?

Or should I just wait and see, and if it does, cut it apart, plane it and re-glue?

I was thinking a little prevention at this point might nip it in the bud.

View waho6o9's profile


8813 posts in 3188 days

#3 posted 06-04-2017 04:53 PM

Saw dust and glue


use all thread and bolt it together

View Jeremymcon's profile


402 posts in 1291 days

#4 posted 06-04-2017 05:41 PM

Never experienced this before, but I’d consider running a threaded rod through it. Or just fill it with epoxy. I don’t see why a bit of epoxy would make future resurfacing much more difficult. My planes cut right through a small epoxy edge area no problem. A Dutchman patch could work, but I feel like it’d nerd to be a pretty large one for such a thick top. Plus you’d be banging on it… I think I’d just rather not have a Dutchman patch on my workbench. Plus they do require a bit of work.

View Rich's profile


5157 posts in 1201 days

#5 posted 06-04-2017 05:44 PM

It’s difficult to get an idea of the width of the opening from the photo, but I use syringes with blunt tip needles often to get glue into hard-to-reach places. There are different gauges of needles you can get. Perhaps a smaller gauge will fit in there and let you fill it with glue.

There are charts of wire gauge diameters in inches that you can use to decide which one would work.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View MrRon's profile


5813 posts in 3855 days

#6 posted 06-04-2017 07:05 PM

I think the quick and dirty way would be to drill a 1/2 hole through all 6 lams after first boring a 1” dia. hole at both sides as a counter bore. Use all thread, a washer and hex nuts to clamp the lams tight; then plug the counter bored holes and sand smooth. The hard way would be to rip the boards down the middle, joint and re-glue.

View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2053 days

#7 posted 06-04-2017 07:16 PM

Nobody has asked this yet, so I will: How did you attach the top to the base? Did you add some stress to the joint by screwing into the top with no room for wood movement? Or with a screw right into the joint?

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View jdh122's profile


1121 posts in 3429 days

#8 posted 06-04-2017 07:32 PM

Another vote for leaving it alone. I would expect it to hold up fine to normal use.
Worst case: if it starts to open up more you can then try to repair it. Even if you can get glue into the crack as things stand it’s unlikely to stick to the wood surfaces as they already have dried glue on them (unless you used hide glue – probably not). It it got worse and it was mine I’d probably rip them apart (circular saw with guide or track saw, finish with hand saw) them rejoint the two pieces and reglue.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Dave11's profile


33 posts in 3180 days

#9 posted 06-04-2017 09:14 PM

Lots of interesting opinions, thanks guys. It was glued with titebond, not hide glue.

The top attaches to the base from beneath with a few lag bolts, but not very tightly, just snug. There was a line of delamination there before, it just seemed to open up a bit more when I screwed it down. But the screws go straight in, and aren’t very tight I don’t know that would have pulled the glue line apart by itself.

I’m at the point of planing the top. Maybe I’ll cover the seam with sander dust and glue, for a quick cosmetic fix, and see what it does over time. If it worsens, I’ll try a threaded rod, and if that doesn’t work well, rip it down and reglue.


View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2053 days

#10 posted 06-04-2017 09:43 PM

The top attaches to the base from beneath with a few lag bolts…. I don t know that would have pulled the glue line apart by itself.

- Dave11

The reason I brought this up is that shrinkage of the wood, bound by lag screws, may have added stress to the joint, causing it to open a little further than before.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Wally331's profile


350 posts in 2637 days

#11 posted 06-04-2017 10:25 PM

I’d go with another vote for the threaded rod. A lot of old-school highschool industrial ed. workbenches have them built in. You can always plug the counterbored hole or glue a 1/4” veneer over it to hide them!

View builtinbkyn's profile


3001 posts in 1552 days

#12 posted 06-04-2017 10:34 PM

Maybe best left alone. But if you think it’s going to get worse or it offends you, and since this is bolted to the base, the easiest thing to do might be to pull it off, rip it along the split which is between two boards that were probably starved for glue, and re-glue it.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View Robert's profile


3607 posts in 2092 days

#13 posted 06-04-2017 11:05 PM

If it were me, I would drill and dowel it so I don’t have to worry about it.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View klassenl's profile


204 posts in 3271 days

#14 posted 06-05-2017 01:04 PM

Rip it off and reglue. It’s the only way to make it totally closed.

-- When questioned about using glue on a garbage bin I responded, "Wood working is about good technique and lots of glue........I have the glue part down."

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