I have begun milling the lumber for my workbench top.
I took the rough sawn lumber out of the drying stack and jointed one face, paying particular attention to ensure that any cup or bow was facing down. I then jointed one edge to ensure that it was straight and 90 degrees to the face. Next, I planed the timbers to thickness. I only took enough material off of each to have a smooth and flat final timber. I was not shooting for any particular thickness, rather trying to get the maximum yield out of each timber and keep it as thick as possible. Those timbers that had to be passed over the jointer more times to remove any cupping or bowing obviously ended up thinner after final planing. I saw no added benefit in planing all of the timbers down to the thickness of the thinnest one.
At some point in the middle of milling this lumber, a new Byrd Shelix cutterhead that I had ordered arrived and I paused for a couple of days while I tore down my planer and installed the new head. Wow… that thing is fantastic. The surface it leaves is really impressive. I can’t get over how much quieter the machine is.
Once all of the timbers were planed, I had to rip them all to width. They all started at about 5 1/8″ x 2 1/8″ but two of the boards had bowed over their length more than any of the others, and after jointing, were narrower. I had to base the bench top thickness on the narrowest board. I was hoping for 4 3/4″ but couldn’t quite get it. I ended up ripping all of the boards at 4 11/16″
The resulting mess got feed to the wood stove.
I got all 16 of the cleaned up boards onto the saw horses and started to sort them.
I think it will be a pretty substantial bench top when it is all put together.
I was trying to best arrange the boards for appearance and group them to match grain and color. I wanted four groups of four, as I felt that four boards was the most I wanted to glue up at onetime.
Getting better, but still not quite there.
Once I had an arrangement that I could live with, I glued up the first section. I used a 6″ paint roller and spread Titebond III onto both sides of each joint. By the time I was finished applying the glue to the fourth board, the first was starting to set up. I had to move quick.
Four boards turned out to be a good call, trying to do more wouldn’t have worked. My plan is to later join the bench top quarters into halves, and then in a separate glue up, the halves into the whole bench top.
I used loads of clamps and some scrap plywood to avoid denting the doug fir too much.
My poor table saw got used as an assembly table out of necessity. I really need a workbench.
I left the whole assembly in the clamps for 24 hours. The next day, I repeated the process. I did this each day after work until each quarter of the bench top was done.
Next up… Jointing and planing the bench top quarters.