Workbench Top–

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  • #755090
    John Grogan
    Participant

    Hello All;

    I’m in the final stages of my workbench i.e, smoothing the top, leveling with the aprons and installing the vice. Before I move to the oil finish, I wanted to fill in some gaps between the laminated 2x4s. I have a picture below of one where the gap is 3/4 the length of the top. In this case it’s at least 3/4″ deep. Any suggestions on filling this gap. What epoxy to use, etc? I’ve seen some videos of mixing glue with saw dust from bandsaw use. I like this idea but not sure if this is a good solution. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    As a side note, in Paul’s video series (tail end of Episode 8) he goes over this finishing stage (smoothing/leveling the top) very quickly, somewhere in there he comments that you may use a ‘recently sharpened cabinet scraper’ on surface tear-out. I’m finding the scraper does work well, however, in certain spots, the cabinet scraper introduces surface tear-out. With the grains across laminated boards going in many directions, getting a completely level, smooth and zero surface tear-out is proving difficult.

    WorkBenchTop

    Dripping Springs, Texas
    First met Paul when he lived is Texas. So happy he is active online. We are all blessed for his generosity.
    Would be happy to meet anyone in the Austin area who also follows Paul's work.

    • This topic was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by John Grogan.
    • This topic was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by John Grogan.
    • This topic was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by John Grogan.
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    #755156
    jeff Fisher
    Participant

    I think the best fix would be a graving piece. Where you replace the defect with a good piece of wood glued in then plane it level. It will look good and be strong. Won’t crack or crumble over time. Won’t cause you problems if you need to re-flatten the top. It’ll be just like the rest of the top for the depth of your patch.

    You might be able to scrape out the hard glue enough that you could simply cut a wedge cross section strip of wood to match the gap well enough, put glue on it, and tap/weight/clamp it into the gap (but don’t be so forceful that you split the whole top!). Alternatively, you would cut a groove to get a good clean gap of known width and depth and glue new wood into that.

    Wood filler/sawdust and glue will stop stuff falling in, and would be easy, and wouldn’t stop you doing that more elaborate fix in the future. I don’t think it would add strength, however.

    Epoxy would put a hard plastic seam in your bench. Seems a little dubious to me. Might be too strong and hard.

    Ignoring it is another good option. Workbench just has to work!

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 4 weeks ago by jeff Fisher.
    #755196
    Ed
    Participant

    If you have a plow plane, you could plow a groove and let a piece into the groove. You’ll need to figure out a way to guide the plow, though. It looks like you may be close enough to the edge for it to be easy. Ignoring it would be perfectly fine. I agree with Jeff and probably wouldn’t go the filler / epoxy route.

    That looks like construction lumber, i.e., softwood. Scrapers don’t work well on softwood and do exactly as you describe.

    #755224
    John Grogan
    Participant

    Jeff/Ed; Thank you for your ideas. I never considered a wedge or opening up the gap with a plow plane. I’ll experiment with this before I try it on the bench top. Also, I guess it is true that leaving it as is is also ok. As I’m so close to the finish, I might just move to the oil finish phase as I am chomping at the bit to use my new workbench.

    Cheers, John

    Dripping Springs, Texas
    First met Paul when he lived is Texas. So happy he is active online. We are all blessed for his generosity.
    Would be happy to meet anyone in the Austin area who also follows Paul's work.

    #755243
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    You might consider just ripping down the joints, jointing them true, and reglueing. You’d lose maybe 1/8” or 3/16” ,

    I did that with an antique table and the only person who knows is me ( and now the entire internet).

    If that offends you add another ripping or just go buy a couple more sticks and start fresh.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Larry Geib.
    #755259
    Ed
    Participant

    You know, I just assumed that gap ran the whole length of the top. If it doesn’t , then a plow may not be the best idea and, instead, you’d use a chisel and router plane, like setting a huge hinge. The challenge, of course, is to not convert one gap into two gaps. 🙂 There’s a lot to be said for letting it be. Sometimes, though, I fix things on things I don’t really care about just to get the experience for the time when I need to really do it “for keeps.” Of course, you could put the bench into service and still do that later.

    #755269
    Ken Kilby
    Participant

    I would put it to work like it is. Fix it in a year if it still aggravates you.

    #755440
    Benoît Van Noten
    Participant

    Like Ken Kilby said: “I would put it to work like it is. Fix it in a year if it still aggravates you.”
    Otherwise, I would do something like what Larry Geib suggest.
    But instead of jointing the two top halves, I would push them together and make additional passes with a saw. If possible, use a fine tooth saw for the last pass.

    This technique is known in Japan as suriawase.
    look at the 4th and 8th picture in
    google blog douglasbrooksboatbuilding building-japanese-boats-at-middlebury
    and here at the 5th picture
    google merchantandmakers the-craft-of-japanese-wooden-boatbuilding-with-douglas-brooks

    edit
    With this technique, the two edges might not be straight and square to the face but the mating will be perfect. (In fact it can be used along a curved joint)
    The two boards should not be pressed tight together, otherwise, the saw may wander. A good technique is to use the back of the saw (where there is no tooth setting) to set the gap between the boards before starting each pass. Rub the saw gently in the gap.

    #755493
    Colin Scowen
    Participant

    I say let it be, get working, and in 6 months it will be packed full of sawdust and you won’t even notice it. It’s a workbench. It’s gonna get knocked around, banged dented, scraped, scratched etc.

    Colin, Czech Rep.

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