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Thread: Milling Lumber For workbench top

  1. #16
    If, and only if, the wood was fully dried. And I didn't then have time to then glue it up. I think I would clamp it together to hold it straight until I was ready to finish the project. Clamp it face to face similar to the finished project.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Dean View Post
    This is all great information. I will research whether it is American or European beach. My feeling is that it probably is American. I am leaning towards having the boards milled since this is really my first time doing any milling. I think its a little more than I can bite off and I will try it on some smaller projects. I am a little concerned about the comment from Andrew that I should glue it up immediately after milling. I was planning on getting it mailed and then just letting it air dry for a while in my shop and then build the bench when I had time. Is this a bad plan?
    Yes, that's a bad plan. ALWAYS glue up as soon after final milling as possible. Wood moves and if you let it sit around and absorb or give up moisture it will, and then the joints likely won't fit as tightly as they did before. It doesn't take much movement for boards 6 or more feet long not to fit together well. If that happens you'll be faced with at least edge jointing them all over again, and maybe planing them, too. Secondly, glue works best on freshly milled surfaces.

    FWIW, I would use hard maple. Why fool around with inherently unstable wood? And other than pretty there's really no compelling reason to make a benchtop out of solid wood. Several layers of plywood or MDF skinned with a replaceable Masonite top is my favorite benchtop.

    John

  3. #18
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    Apr 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Dean View Post
    This is all great information. I will research whether it is American or European beach. My feeling is that it probably is American. I am leaning towards having the boards milled since this is really my first time doing any milling. I think its a little more than I can bite off and I will try it on some smaller projects. I am a little concerned about the comment from Andrew that I should glue it up immediately after milling. I was planning on getting it mailed and then just letting it air dry for a while in my shop and then build the bench when I had time. Is this a bad plan?

    Are the slabs green wood or have they been kiln-dried? If not they should be dried before you start milling anything. Air drying take roughly one year per inch of thickness. I think Beech dries faster than most species but is also more prone to movement, so it needs to be carefully stacked and stickered.

    Even if they have been kiln dried, they are still not likely to be at equilibrium with your shop environment until they have been there several weeks at least. That means that whenever you remove material and expose fresh wood the boards are liable to move in the days after. Really, this can happen in any circumstance. This is why its often best to assemble as soon after milling as possible.

    If you need to get them milled prior to delivery, and you can't get around to assembly right away, stack the milled boards carefully with stickers (spacers) between boards so that airflow can go around all faces and edges. If you can, clamp the stack together so that each individual board is physically restrained from moving. That will keep them as straight as possible, but you should anticipate that they will move some when you release the clamps. But most likely they will still be good enough to make a laminated bench top. Maybe only a couple of boards need to be tossed or re-milled, and you can try that yourself.

  4. #19
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    Sep 2013
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    El Dorado Hills, CA, USA
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    My suggestion would be to do it yourself - that's why you have the tools. Get a rough 2x4x84" as cheap as you can, and practice with your jointer (I presume this is what you're having doubts with, since the planer is the "easier" tool). Practice on the 2x4 until you get it nice and square. If the board starts to go wonky (curved edge, notch at the end, taper), STOP taking more cuts, and find out why. Buy another board if you turn it too small to be safe before you feel like you've got the hang of it. Once you feel good about it, wait until you can actually glue the top up, and then mill the real stuff.

  5. #20
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    Apr 2017
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    Michigan
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    Either way will be ok but I think you will have a better result having the heavy milling done by an experienced and well equipped shop. You will still have to deal with enough adjustments by the time you are ready for glue. And remember that it's a bench. It will get dinged up and stained so a little gap or two won't effect function. Here's a pic of mine.

    Bench.jpg

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