A could of thoughts that I picked up from doing my workbench. Firstly I bought cheap construction grade timber, nominally 2 x 4, with rounded edges. These came from a local building supply firm. I wasn’t able to check these, in fact they were dumped on my drive whilst I was at work.
The quality wasn’t great, lots of them were bowed and/or twisted. I did get them in 3.6m (12′) lengths, so could pick and choose a bit. In the end though I spend less than £70 on the timber. Since this is laminated construction it’s not the end of the world if there’s a few knots in the sides.
One thing I did find though is that there was a vast amount of planing to get the stock to a usable state. Of the 45 hours I spent on my workbench I reckon I spent 20hours planing! So I suppose it’s a case of weighing up whether you have the time to prep poor quality timber or money to buy decent quality pre prepared timber.
In my workbench build (which I’m still in the middle of, after a few months of having it on the back burner), the knots on the edges of the 2 x 4 studs didn’t slow down the hogging off or the smoothing and squaring up all that much. Yes,
it did make the iron lose its sharpness a bit sooner, but that just meant I had to resharpen maybe 5 min. earlier than usual..Planing over a knot is a good opportunity to get to know how wood behaves, and adjusting your planing technique accordingly, at least that’s how I came to view it. With a knot in
your path, you can approach the edges of it in small, circular swipes, adjusting your plane in terms of angling or skewing it. And if you still have
gouges or bad knot holes on your stud edges after you’re done you can always
apply an epoxy like Bondo which is a high-quality product. Or any other good
quality epoxy wood filler Make sure its wood filler and not putty.
Sounds good. I don’t have the experience yet to even known if planing the knots is something I should tackle or not. Sounds OK, but I’m hopeful to at least find something that isn’t as bad as Lowe’s had the other day — I think there were more knots on the faces than not-knots and half of those were chipped out.
I’m also curious about getting a 2″x12″x16′ and cutting it in half which gives me 2 8′ sections, one for a top and one for a wellboard (I’m not doing 2 tops I don’t think). Is there any benefit to gluing up ripped 2×4’s vs this? And do you really need to rip 2×4 from 3.5″ to 3″? Is the extra weight really a problem? I saw somewhere Paul had talked about ripping these down if you can’t find actual 2″x3″ lumber, which I’ve never seen in my life (not actual… 1.5×2.5 sure).
2×12 are planed down to 1 1/2 x 11 1/2 or there abouts. In this case your bench top will be 1 1/2 thick. Laminated tops will be 3 to 3 1/2 inches thick depending on how much planing is done. Stability is inherently better in the lamination because the boards used will counteract each other during seasonal changes. I had to flatten my bench top about 6 months after I built it and haven’t had to touch it since.
Ben – Re the laminations – What Dave said. Also, I recall Paul’s demos on his youtube channel and reading elsewhere that a solid wood board of a determinate dimension is not as strong as a board of the same dimensions but consisting of a laminated joint between two smaller boards.
With two slabs of equal dimensions, one solid and the other laminated, the laminated slabs strength is multiplied by however many joints you’ve got in the slab.
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