Benchtop lamination – how many boards in one go?

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    Mic van Reijen


    I was lucky to find 20 used boards of 3 by 7 cm, used indoors and about to be thrown out. I intend to use 10 of these for a 30 by 160 cm bench top, part of the work bench build.

    How many pieces would yous laminate at a time? All 10 would be best I guess, so as to align and flatten the complete pack, but I fear the first few will start to seize by the time I glue the last. 5 at the time would prevent that but maybe I wouldn’t be able to get the best alignment (as they’re not all completely straight).

    Any advise? Or am I overcomplicating things?


    Benoît Van Noten

    In his 2012 built, Paul glues six of them but they were ticker than 3 cm. Yours will be a bit more flexible.
    In that 2012 video you can see what he does to get the best alignment possible.
    In the November 2017 version, he glues 8 pieces. 10 should be feasible
    If you start with a slab 10 cm thick, you have enough margin to flatten it without ending with a thin one; so the alignment isn’t that critical.

    Now, I have built my top with recycled lumber ( 47 X 75 mm before planing) which were for some parts seriously bowed and warped. (I wanted to use them because they were free and I knew they were really dry having spent about 20 years in an attic).
    I first laminated the three best ones. Then I cut the next best one in two. I un-warped one side of each half and glued those to the first 3 ones. Then I planed the edge ( the still warped side of the two half) of the obtained slab perpendicular to the slab face. Then I repeated with the next one; except that I cut it in 3 pieces in such a way that when glued to the slab the cut would not align with the previous cut (like a brick wall). Rinse and repeat.
    Removing the twist of the badly warped ones in one piece (on the whole length) would have make them considerably thinner and would have been much more work.
    If you try this, you will see that the two half when put together don’t meet perfectly. Clamp them to the already made slab as would do if you wanted to glue them; with the two sides of the cut one against the other. Then with your saw cut again between the two half. The new saw-kerf will make two good mating surfaces (repeat if necessary) and when glued up it will hardly be visible.

    Mic van Reijen

    I did the 10 in one go, no hassle except a bit tight on space. And the cheap trestles sagged a bit so I have a cupped bench top.. not too bad, by one or two mm. I noticed it at the rehearsal but forgot about it in the stress of the final glue up untill it was too late, so kind of stupid. No twist so overall I’m happy with the result.

    Started planing the underside flat, found that a 5 1/2 works best for this. Next tool project is a scrub plane I guess..


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