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Glulam workbench – no stock preparation

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    Sven-Olof Jansson

    Originally, I planned to make a poster-rail-stretcher base and put a slab of glulam plus a well on top – held together with angle brackets – to serve as a workbench while making one out of beech.

    When glulam turned out to be just as flat and straight as the purchase head and warehouse foreman claimed it to be, I decided to invest the time saved on dimensioning in making a more final bench, and use the experience should there still be a need for the beech bench.

    So, here’s what I learnt:
    1. Think, make detailed drawings, and a written plan. I wish I had.

    2. Glulam comes shrink-wrapped. Select items with intact wrapping. Where not, there can be minute warp. It is possible to check for warp without removing the shrink-wrap.

    3. After having been stored under roof without heating, the glulam remains straight and flat after two months in a warehouse with constant indoor temperature, as well as after one month in a space where temperature varies.

    4. The Veritas tail vice is excellent, demanding high accuracy when mounting, and better suited for a bench with an apron than one where the top is a slab. One can manage with metric drill-bits, but a set of imperial Forstner bits would have been welcome; as would transfer punches. In particular, a 5/8” bit is on the brink of “sine qua non”. I did get away with a 16 mm one, covered in plenty of John Lewis’ furniture wax. That bit is now 5/8”, and the bush a bit wider. Thankfully, it resulted in the vice tilting a mm along its long axis, which is actually good, because when tightened it aligns with the surface.

    5. Installing an Eclipse-type quick-release front vice flush with the front edge needs planning and is greatly facilitated with having the bench-top resting on its back edge. Installing a Veritas tail vice, I believe positively demands having the under side of the top facing upwards.

    6. A forklift is very handy for managing the bench top, even before 40 Kg of vices are added.

    In summary: I’m quite pleased with this “Skvader” (a taxidermist’s union of a hare and a wood-grouse) of a Lie-Nielsen and Sjöberg workbench. In particular I like having the front vice flush with the edge and no apron. I can clamp in the vice and then, by using surface holders, add additional clamping outside the vice.

    Last, contrary to my old bench, this one doesn’t move when I plane

    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA

    Ronald Kowalewski

    looks great! i like the front vise. It all looks very solid.

    Protect the line.

    Sven-Olof Jansson

    Thanks Ronald.

    It stays flat despite some rather wide swings in humidity, is stable, and the addition of a dedicated tail vise has made all the difference.

    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA

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