Question about workbench build
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Tagged: doug fir, kiln dried, pine, workbench
- This topic has 19 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 2 months ago by Hugo Notti.
23 November 2016 at 6:40 am #142633
I built my “Paul bench” about 3 years ago, using nothing but cheap 2 x 4 stock from a big box store. Legs, tops, spreaders and aprons, all low quality 2 x 4 ‘stud’ stock. I think I paid $2.48 per stick (no extra charge for the knots).
When I built it, I planed the surfaces that would be glued, then planed the laminated sections to remove the rounded corners and reach a flat surface. I feel like that approach was harder on my plane irons because of the glue, but the time saved was worth it.
I know it’s one of Stanley’s most derided products, but I used a # 6 bench plane, set fairly rank. I’m in fairly good physical shape; the workout of the wide iron set rank was intense. But the extra width made the rough planing go much faster, and I find myself wondering why everyone hates the 6. A finer set 5 got me close, and of course final smoothing with a 4.
The bench is in my garage-shop in NC, where humidity varies widely between seasons. After about 18 months I did touch up the tops with a smoothing plane, to take out some wavyness due to the wood drying. I probably didn’t need to, I was just being fussy.
I use the bench daily and it’s as solid, stable and square as it was when I built it. (For the record, that’s not a statement about my technique, but praise of the design!)23 November 2016 at 7:52 pm #142645
Concerning the re-cupping, I remember a tip that I have read various times:
When you have finished dimensioning your wood, use it right away. I think, this is especially important when the climate in your workshop depends entirely on the weather. Of course, this is easier said than done while making a workbench.
And another interesting information: Wood always tries to straighten the annual rings. If you look at the grain, you can tell, which way it will probably go – it is not always obvious of course. And if you have the annual rings perpendicular to the width of the board (lines pointing to the wide surfaces), the board will not cup much at all. Of course, you usually have to pay for the better grain orientation…
PS: I wouldn’t worry too much about the aprons. If you like to minimise cupping, you could cut the boards in half lenghtwise and reglue them after turning one piece around. So one half will cup a little in one direction and the other one in the other direction. Join the other parts accordingly.
PPS: Paul Sellers quoted from memory (roughly): “When a package of construction wood is opened, the boards will coil around for a few days” I think, this was in one of the first Q&A videos.22 January 2017 at 3:24 pm #308586
It has been my experience that once wavy always wavy.
13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.22 January 2017 at 7:08 pm #308593
I am not sure, if the explanation is correct, but the effect is:
Wood tries to straighten the annual rings. As a result, cupping always moves away from the center of the tree.
Therefore, it is extremely unlikely, that a cupped board “uncups” when drying further.
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