The Workbench Build Begins

Finally…. after a year-an-a-half of waiting, delays, other projects, and tool acquisitions, I started milling my lumber for my workbench.

I wrote previously about my plans for my “Ambidextrous Grizz-ubo Bench”, here.

I cleared off the junk that was sitting on top of my wood pile and set up the jointer and dust collector.

My bench lumber.

My bench lumber.

The stack contains 3x6s for the legs, 2x5s for the top, and 2x6s for the stretchers. There's also some scrap and off-cut pieces left over from the saw mill mixed into the pile.

The stack contains 3x6s for the legs, 2x5s for the top, and 2x6s for the stretchers. There’s also some scrap and off-cut pieces left over from the saw mill mixed into the pile.

Junk cleared off, and I'm ready to start milling the leg timbers.

Junk cleared off, and I’m ready to start milling the leg timbers.

I plan to make the legs about 6×6 inches, or as near as milling allows.  The saw mill couldn’t cut these for me with his equipment, so I will use 3x6s and glue them up.  The leg timbers had twisted a little as they dried, but not too badly.

First pass on the jointer.

First pass on the jointer.

A little twist in this one.

A little twist in this one.

After two or three passes, you can see where the high spots were taken off.

After two or three passes, you can see where the high spots were taken off.

Getting closer.

Getting closer.

It took a few passes and I had to deepen the depth of cut a little, but it came out well in the end.

First leg timber is jointed.

First leg timber is jointed.

You can see how much lighter in color it appears after the rough sawn face is jointed.

Sap build up on the jointer bed was sticking up the works.

Sap build up on the jointer bed was sticking up the works.

I stopped after the first timber to clean sap off of the jointer tables.  This wood is not kiln dried and even after 18 months, the sap is wet and sticky.  I cleaned it up with mineral spirits and then applied a new coat of paste wax.  This was actually overdue in any case, and made the next three timbers easier to push over the beds.

A quick cleanup with mineral spirits and a new coat of Minwax furniture paste wax, fixed this problem.

A quick cleanup with mineral spirits and a new coat of Minwax furniture paste wax, fixed this problem.

Cutting the timber in half with my Disston D-8.

Cutting the timber in half with my Disston D-8.

I cut the timber in half with a crosscut handsaw.  In hindsight, I should have done this first.  It would have been easier to handle the smaller lengths on the jointer.

There is no point going any further with the milling at this point until the leg is glued up.  Once dry, I can mill the piece as though it were a solid roughsawn 6×6.  Here’s what I ended up with.

The two pieces ready to be glued together for the first leg.

The two pieces ready to be glued together for the first leg.

 

However, how should I glue it up?

Like this (with the grain all aligned)?

Aligning the grain orientation.

Aligning the grain orientation.

 

Or like this (with the grain alternating)?

Alternating grain orientation.

Alternating grain orientation.

My instinct is that the second would be better as the glue joint would help to stabilize or reduce any wood movement.  The first picture just looks as though it is going to warp more to me.  But… I could be way off!

Any thoughts on this?

 

About Jonathan

I am a woodworker and hand tool restorer / collector. I buy too many tools and don't build enough - I need help!
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4 Responses to The Workbench Build Begins

  1. Matthew Schror says:

    Once you assemble the bench, it will hold everything where you put it. The warping/twisting wont matter after that. I guess the question is; how long will it be before you assemble everything? If its going to be a long time, dont finish the legs to your final dimension. Wait until you are ready to start morticing and laying out stretchers.
    What kind of glue will you be using?

    • Jonathan says:

      Matt,

      That is a very good point. I will hold off on milling the legs until the point that I am ready to mortice for the stretchers. I plan to glue and draw bore the stretchers to the legs and will glue and tenon the legs into the top. I think that you are right. Once assembled, this is not going anywhere.

      I bought a gallon of Titebond III for the glue.

      Thanks for the input.

  2. Brian Eve says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    I agree with Matt, that however you do it, you should glue up your legs as soon as you joint the faces, then wait until you need to start the joinery before squaring them up.

    I don’t know if it matters one way or the other how you orient the wood before glue up. However, it does look like there is pith in the wood you will be using. It will work fine for your bench (indeed, my bench has pith in the wood for the top), but over time it will get cracks and maybe will want to twist. Your joinery should keep everything square and tight – the problems will only be cosmetic.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, or questions.