Bench or Table Lamination Glue-up

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Forum topic by RandyinFlorida posted 03-12-2018 04:55 PM 585 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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257 posts in 2839 days

03-12-2018 04:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: laminate glue workbench gluing worktable

OK, Next topic…

First, realize I’m building a work table here, not an heirloom workbench. But, for the sake of conversation.

I say it’s not necessary to acclimate wood before laminating.

I’m making a solid work table to mount a scroll saw, a bench grinder, and a belt sander.

After running some “grade A” pine 2×4’s, fresh from the big box store, through the planer I glued them together for the table top.

I suggest to you that because it is laminated it’s as stable as plywood would be. Discuss.

-- Randy in Crestview Florida, Wood Rocks!

8 replies so far

View WyattCo's profile


93 posts in 876 days

#1 posted 03-12-2018 05:00 PM

Let me know how flat that thing is in a few weeks.

View LesB's profile


2553 posts in 4215 days

#2 posted 03-12-2018 05:41 PM

First off I’m kind of thrifty and I haven’t priced “Grade A” pine but it almost has to be more expensive than 3/4” plywood or MDF. Also the time it takes to true up the 2×4s and glue them when I could be doing something more productive. If these 2×4s were not kiln dried they will have excess moisture in them and subject to shrinkage after the glue up. It would be interesting to see the grade stamp on the wood for more details. Also some Pine is rather soft for a work surface. Doug fir might have been a better choice but maybe more expensive in Florida.

Several of my workbench and counter areas are made with 1 1/8” (sub floor) plywood with 3/4 MDF screwed on top. they are solid as a rock and if the MDF top gets messed up I can flip it over and use the other side. This work just as well with 3/4 Plywood and MDF but I happened to have the 1 1/8 left over.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Breeze73's profile


102 posts in 1453 days

#3 posted 03-12-2018 05:46 PM

Plywood isn’t stable only because of the laminated sheets of wood. That is only 1/3 of it. It is stable because of the alternating directions of the grain in which each layer is applied (90 degrees out from the previous layer). Lastly, and probably most importantly, plywood is stable because the layers being stacked are dried/baked before and after glueing. If plywood was wet like 2×4’s, and not placed in alternating grain directions, it would warp something fierce. So to assume because you are laminating fresh pine boards from the big box store that they will be stable like plywood is a very big stretch. You might get lucky, and they may stay flat. But you will more than likely see some serious problems like warping, cupping, bowing and maybe even splitting and cracking.

If you know they are dry, then you eliminate a lot of the tendancy for them to warp. Always assume the lumber from the big box stores is wet, unless you can prove to yourself that it is dry.

-- Breeze

View Aj2's profile


3078 posts in 2570 days

#4 posted 03-12-2018 05:51 PM

I like the way fresh pine makes my shop smell. That alone is a good reason to choose it over plywood or Mdf.

-- Aj

View Rich's profile


5609 posts in 1361 days

#5 posted 03-12-2018 06:00 PM

It can’t be as stable as plywood since it’s still going to move across the grain. I’d lock it down right away by attaching it to the table frame to prevent it from warping or twisting. Of course you’ll have to allow for seasonal movement using whatever method you prefer. I’m a fan of Z-clips.

That said, I agree with the posts above that plywood would have been a better choice. I just finished a stand for my DW735 planer and used 3/4” plywood for the carcass. The top is stiffened because I added a face frame and plywood back. It’s going to have drawers.

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

View bondogaposis's profile


5787 posts in 3123 days

#6 posted 03-12-2018 06:41 PM

Plywood is stable because the grain of the plys run in opposite directions. In your lamination the grain runs in the same direction and does not add any stability, it will move in both width and thickness.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View RandyinFlorida's profile


257 posts in 2839 days

#7 posted 03-12-2018 07:18 PM

I knew this would start a firestorm of conversation.

opposite directions… that’s what I’m getting at. The grains in the pine boards is running every which way.

And yes I’m probably wrong, I usually am. Just ask my wife.

-- Randy in Crestview Florida, Wood Rocks!

View Woodknack's profile (online now)


13384 posts in 3152 days

#8 posted 03-12-2018 08:08 PM

The devil is in the details. From experience, you can “laminate” pieces of lumber and they can still warp. But if you laminate QS lumber (grain vertical for a top) then you have a good fighting chance of it being stable even if it isn’t the best wood to start with. Matter of fact, I just did that with some badly warped junk wood. I ripped it into narrow pieces so I would have QS lumber and glued it back together.

-- Rick M,

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