Benchtop Laminating Tolerances

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    Carlos J. Collazo

    @handworkenthusiast the individual boards may have been square to begin with but we are now talking about the lamination. The boards shifted slightly during glue up. It looks like the clamp pressure may have been stronger on one face than the other as well. Now Dan is squaring up the entire lamination. Once he flattens the bottom face more than likely the edges will be close to square again. So it will take very little effort to ensure that the 3 sides are square each other.

    Never trust that dimensioned lumber is square. Especially in a lamination such as the bench top. One board out of square can cause the entire assembly to be out.

    I see…thanks for clarifying, Greg. You are of course right, it is always worth it to check for squareness, easy enough to do with a good square. And as you say it wouldn’t be too difficult to get the edges square once the bottom is dead flat, especially since I think it can be done by taking a few long, continuous shavings along the edge with a 4 1/2 or 5 /12 or any plane with a wider sole, I would think.

    New Jersey, U.S.A.


    Thanks, everyone for the advice and encouragement! It sounds like I might be closer than I thought. I’ll go with diagonal planing to get the bottom straight and then plane the edges square later.

    When it comes time to plane the edges into square, though, what is a good way to set things up? Right now the bench top is sitting across two saw horses. If I stand it up, it will be too high and unstable to plane. Also, are there any tips for squaring such a long and thick edge? It seems like, If I don’t do something different I will keep the same angle but just flatter. Would it work if I skewed the plane iron with the later adjustment lever so the blade came out more on the high side of the board?


    You can always just put the lamination on the floor and sit it. If you watch Paul in his video, he straddles the piece as he starts working on it. If the floors a bit rough, just put an old blanket down first. As for actually getting things square; if you measure often you should be OK. By this time you’ll have a decent face to rest your square against. Just don’t fall into the trap of enthusiastically planeing away and ending up taking too much off. A little planeing can go a long way. Just take your time and you’ll be fine.

    Keep Calm and have a Cup of Tea


    I had the same problem you did. What I ended up doing is getting the bottom part flat enough and then putting it on the bench. I finished planning the top once it was attached to the bench 😉 Much easier to plan.


    Yep, do what Mexiquite says, get the bottom squared up with the edge you will be using to glue to the apron. Once thats done, you can attach it to the bench, then you can square up the top bit.


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