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Forum topic by DevilDogNurse posted 03-07-2012 07:33 PM 1124 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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67 posts in 3837 days

03-07-2012 07:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: humor question planer jointer plane pine joining

Hey all,

I’m needing a real workbench, and have decided I want to try my hand at making a super heavy top comprised of face jointed 2×4’s. Now the tools I have available are a 6” bench top jointer, a Jack Plane and a hand held power planer.

I know that the bench jointer can give me two sides (a 2 & a 4) that are flat, true and at 90’ angles. My problem, is how do I go about getting the other face (4”) that is parallel to the first without a thickness planer.

I’d love to go and buy one, but….. I’m broke. ;-)

So…. Do I just face joint both sides and deal with the eventual taper that’s going to form? Maybe alternate the pieces so the taper is alternating?

Along the same lines, Since I don’t have any way to set the finished thickness of the boards, the bench top is most likely going to be uneven and irregular. Do I just attack with the jack plane and work it till its flat… ish?

TIA all!


-- Marine, Nurse, Dad.

3 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4632 days

#1 posted 03-07-2012 08:55 PM

In gluing your 2×4s together you will need some clamps ,do you have any available ? Given the limited amount of tools you have I would be very careful about buying straight 2×4s to start with and kiln dried wood is the way to go if you can afford it. Unless your bench is very short I think a bench top jointer is going to be very difficult to use. Since you face gluing the wood together you will only need to make sure the top is reasonable flat. If you have some clamps you can glue your wood together in sections and then glue the sections together. when gluing them to gether clamp the wood so it’s as even as possible. If you don’t have clamps you can screw a piece on one at a time assuming you have a screw gun and then remove the screws before you add another piece of wood after the glue has dried. After the top is all glued up as flat as you can get it then find some thing to use as a straight edge and move it around on the top to see how flat it is. If it is pretty good leave it alone until you can buy or borrow a belt sander to fine tune it. If it has lots of hills and valleys you will have to use your plane and try and got the top flat by repeatedly checking in all directions ,keep working untill it’s close and once it is don’t do any more untill you can borrow a belt sander. This should get you close.


View DevilDogNurse's profile


67 posts in 3837 days

#2 posted 03-08-2012 12:12 AM

OK…. Maybe I was a little unclear. I do have more tools than that. I do have a belt sander, a table saw (8”), drills, clamps, circular saw, and a miter saw (Not mine, but my buddy hasn’t asked for it back!..... yet)

So I don’t need to worry about the faces being jointed? I’m going to joint the edges, so I can knock off the rounded corners you get with construction wood. I can do that easily with the hand held power planer.

I would joint one face and saw the other, but my table saw is….. well, not great. With it only having an 8” blade, it cant rip the edge of a 2×4 in one pass.

Thanks again!

-- Marine, Nurse, Dad.

View jcwalleye's profile


306 posts in 4128 days

#3 posted 03-08-2012 03:42 AM

I’d think the most important thing would be to first get the two faces flat, then parallel, and then make the top and bottom perpendicular to the faces. And as Jim pointed out, that might be difficult with longer boards and your bench-top jointer. I don’t have the skill to flatten boards like you need, but you’ve picked an inexpensive material and if you put in the time and material to do it right, you’ll have a valuable skill that will serve you well in any future woodworking endevours. Go for it.

Jim also had a great idea about screwing laminates one at a time, you could do two at a time working out from the middle. Unless you have some pretty hefty clamps its pretty hard to remove all the gaps when gluing large subassemblies together.

As far as making the top flat, while not the cheapest route, once you’ve planed it as close as you can, take it to a local cabinet shop and have them run it through their sander. A local shop for me charges $75 / hr and it took almost an hour for a hard maple benchtop.

Good luck and post some pictures

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

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