Welcome! Forums Project Series Workbench New workbench top bowed beams

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    Hi there,

    I’m in the process building the new Workbench. I bought all my lumber and i am ready to laminate the benchtop first. I have noticed however that many of the beams for the top (all but one) have a similar bow. As they were packed together with a plastic film from the factory it didnt show as they where all similar. Only when i cut the long pieces to length and put them muddled side by side this is the case. I tried holding them together as Paul does in his video but his is only one as i recall that is bowed. And i have seen that he put one in the middle to counter the bow from the other straight stock. If i hold them together muddled its quite hard to keep them straight-it is possible eventually, however if i place them in order of the bow, they all come together without any trouble (all but the straight one!! haha)

    So what do i do? Should i

    a) Take as much bow out as i can of all the stock (from the one side – the middle and from the other side-ends)? and laminate them together? In this case i will probably need to laminate a extra thinner piece as the the lamination will decrease in size.


    b) laminate them all together in the direction of the bows and THEN plane the side ends and side middle of the laminated piece???

    Is it safer to do (a) even though its more work? or (b).

    If i do (a) even if i try to take out the bows is there a chance that eventually they might crack the lamination? or is this an exaggeration? If i do (b) is there a chance that the bowed glued lamination (now straight) start to bow more all together from the one side and cause problems to the rest of the bench??

    I’m leaning towards doing (a) to get straight stock from the start.

    Any advice?
    p.s. Thank you Paul for this amazing project!!. Im so excited to finally build my own bench!

    Ronald Kowalewski

    I am going to reccomend buying a 6′-8′ straightedge/level. Hf has em for about$25. I wish i would have bought it before i started making my bench. My bench turned out great, but i made 2 tops because the first one was not up to snuff.

    Protect the line.


    Thanks for your suggestion Ronald

    Ludo Boutin

    if it’s come fine without removing the “bow” than I’d choose option (b) which seems easier. You’ll loose less wood and there will be no risk to introduce non square edges.



    Thanks for your suggestion Ludo.

    Philip Adams

    If you alternate them, can you squeeze the bow out? I would recommend putting them together and then clamping them to see what you end up with and go from there.

    I work alongside Paul to plan and produce the videos for Woodworking Masterclasses

    SmokyRick Crawford

    I am building a Roubo styled bench and had the same problem. Bowed boards. I put the glue-up together with a bunch of clamps and cauls and got it to take out most of the bow. I would have had to plane out an inch of material the full length of the 8′ bench to get rid of the bow. Now I have only an eighth of an inch to flatten. Just be sure to use plenty of clamps and boards top and bottom to keep it all flat.

    In the middle of Northern Illinois, USA


    Ok Thanks Phil and Rick.
    Ill give it a try this weekend.


    Hi friends,
    I alternated all of the beams as suggested by Phil and clamped them (not squeeze just by hand) and apart from one that was twisted they all came together!
    I’ll definitely take that twist out, lightly take out the high spots as shown by Paul in his video and then i think its going to be ok for glue up just as Rick did and if there is any bow left i guess it wont be much.
    Thanks so much guys!
    Merry Christmas!!!

    Tom Bird

    I too am struggling with bowed boards. I think I might admit defeat and work on finding some straighter material, but I am secretly worried that it might actually be my underdeveloped hand planing skills that are keeping the boards from drawing up tight and gap free!


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