Wow, it has been a while since I last wrote a post, The Workbench Top Continues. As it often does, life and work both got very busy for the past month and I haven’t gotten much woodworking done. I took all of these pictures about six weeks ago but have only now gotten the time to write this entry. So, here’s what is did:
I took the bench-top quarters, that I had previously glued up, and the sapele “pin-striping” (I don’t know what else to call it) and glued and clamped them together. I left each in the clamps for a day before proceeding. This left me with two bench-top halves.
I was worried about introducing twist into the bench-top and didn’t think that my saw-horses were the best place to attempt the big glue-up. I found some chunky pieces of hardwood in my lumber rack and set them on the garage floor. Then I got down on my belly and sighted across them like winding sticks to ensure that they were in line. I shimmed them until they appeared even. I put newspaper on the floor and over the hardwood, the make cleanup easy and to make sure that I didn’t glue my bench-top to the hardwood supports underneath.
I applied the glue and sandwiched the slightly thicker piece of sapele “pin-striping” between the two bench-top halves.
I used just about every long clamp I have.
I got all the clamps in place and left it for a day to dry.
The next problem that I ran into… This thing is heavy! It was sitting on my garage floor and I sure wasn’t going to be able to move it on my own. I had a friend help me to get it back onto my saw-horses.
I thought about how to square up the ends. The bench-top is 4 ½” thick, so a standard circular saw was out of the question. I considered using a handsaw, but that seemed like a lot of work and I’m not a good enough sawyer that I felt able to accurately cut the ends square. I asked my neighbor (who has a construction company) if he had a beam saw, and sure enough, he happened to have one.
I clamped a piece of oak to the bench-top to act as a fence for the saw.
This saw is a beast! 16″ blade! If you have never used one, they are impressive enough to make you really think through your motions before you start it up. It cut through the bench-top like a hot knife through butter.
I deliberately made the first cut longer than needed so that I could test the setup without the risk of unnecessarily shortening the bench.
I checked that the cut was square before proceeding.
I probably didn’t need to since the blade was very sharp, but I added some painters tape over the cut line to help with tear out. I moved the fence and repeated the cut.
I repeated the process at the other end of the bench and squared up that end.
I tried snapping the off-cut piece to test the glue, and was happy with the result. In most cases the wood split before the glue-line did.
I suppose I could have left the bench-top just like this and gone no further, but I’m going to wrap the bench top in Sapele. More on that to come.
Next up is the bread-board ends. I already have the pictures, I just need to find time to write-up another entry.