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Thread: A different option for gluing up a slab

  1. #1
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    A different option for gluing up a slab

    I went back and looked over my workbench build thread here. I already had the slab glued up when I opened that thread, and I don't remember seeing anyone else use this method since.

    I glued up my benchtop in one go. All the pieces, all clamped together with wet glue on every face and it was finished. I see lots of folks gluing two pieces together and then pairs and so on, and it works for folks. I am not saying it is a bad thing to do, I just don't have that kind of patience.

    Starting out all my F clamps, my big ones, could clamp two pieces of construction lumber face to face, but not three. I looked at F clamps at the homestore. I did buy one 36 inch F clamp from team blue, it was about $30. The bar on it bows pretty easy when trying to clamp something 24 inches wide. I looked at Bessey's at my local hardwood shoppe, I can't afford those.

    So I went back to the home stores. I bought some 2x8 construction lumber, and a bunch of 1/2 diameter all thread with washers, fender washers and nuts to match. I did have to get some 6 foot lengths of all thread to make 3 foot pieces from, but my tap and die set goes up to 1/2 anyway, and I got a hacksaw, so no worries. And I got a 5/8 drill bit already.

    So I cut the 2x8 a bit longer than my bench top, and drilled two lines of 5/8 holes in the two pieces of 2x8. I used a pair of sawhorses leveled to each other to hold the future slab up off the ground, clamped it up dry, took the clamp back off, spread all the glue, clamped it back together and left it in the clamp about two or three days. Worked fine.

    I do like to get some wax paper between the wet glue and the all thread, easier clean up that way. Also possible to drive wedges or shims inbetween the all thread and the glue up panel to keep the panel flat. This system is not as fast as Bessey's, but with a dry clamp up before the glue bottle gets opened I can generate a right lot of clamping force with this inexpensive system before the glue sets.

    The 2x6 in this picture with the holes in it is for gluing up thinner panels than a benchtop, but I am using the same all thread. I expect to be gluing up a moderate panel in the next week or two, I will try to get a picture of the thing in use before this thread gets too long in the tooth.

    20211128_140500[1].jpg

  2. #2
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    Actually, have one in my phone of the same all thread clamping a small panel glue up from about a year ago. Looks like the glue bottle hasn't been opened yet.

    20201222_202226[1].jpg

  3. #3
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    Where there is a will, there are ways.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
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    Nice bit of innovation and economizing Scott. I was 30 plus years into wood working when I built my first workbench, so I had amassed sufficient pipe and parallel clamps to laminate my top using clamps. I had one kitchen cabinet build, accouple of large cabinets and bookshelves under my belt which served as good excuses for incrementally acquiring additional clamps. Looks like your all thread screws and 2x8 jaws can be repurposed for various clamping tasks. Once you get your bench done, you can use holdfasts, dog holes and wedges to clamp parts. You might want a film finish on your bench top though so glue can be easily scraped off.

    I am curious, how many all thread screws did you wind up making? I was just pricing 3/4 threaded black pipe and was a bit surprised to see the price for 10 pipe is $24, and 3/4 pony clamp hardware going for nearly $15 per clamp. At those prices, it can be hard to invest in a large quantity of clamps in one purchase, especially for the hobby craftsman. Clamps just are not as much fun to buy as saws, chisels, planes, axes and related edge tools, but they are nice to have when you need them.

  5. #5
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    This is perfect timing. A friend wants me to make a 6x6 bookcase, and my longest clamps are 48. Im trying to decide whether to buy clamps or make something that I can use for clamping.

    I like your idea. I was thinking of different ways I could generate clamping force with wedges, but your solution is better than anything I thought of.




    . I just checked and it appears 6 is the longest length they stock in Home Depot. So about 56 is the longest clamp you could make with this system, unless you find a specialty supplier.
    Last edited by Ben Ellenberger; 11-30-2021 at 12:55 AM.

  6. #6
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    My bench has MMXVIII carved in the front stretcher so coming up on 4 years old. Glad I labeled it I would have guessed three years old. Any road, as the original film finish came off the top with flattening I haven’t replaced the film. I did use equal parts blo varnish and thinner when new. It is enough to keep the cat from using the bench as her personal sharpening station prefer a naked top my self.

    I have used a lot of quarter inch all thread for smaller custom clamps and looked to online specs for how much torque could be applied before settling on half inch all thread as more than adequate and readily available. I have ten pieces, each 36 inches long, in the shop today. My existing bench is 48 inches long, I will plan to have 20-30 pieces ready to go when gluing up an eight foot bench top slab.

    for clamps greater than six feet you might look at union nuts. Probably not at the home store, but that could allow you to attach two pieces of all thread end to end for greater length. Might lose some total available torque as well. Alternatively steel cable and some turnbuckles with sacrificial hardwood guides. Not zinc turnbuckles, and there are rules about those wee saddle nuts as well, never saddle a leg or something like that.

    witht he all thread the rule of thumb I remember is the bolt should pass through the nut for at least the thickness of the nut for maximum holding power. Then washers and the 2 x pad, so sure, 5 feet 6 inches is a reasonable nominal max for six foot all thread.

    another possible handy clamp for a large case are the ratchet straps or tow straps like are used to hold a boat or an atv down to a trailer. A set of four rated 800# each is likely under $20 at Walmart or a sporting goods store, you can spend more for higher ratings, longer lengths or metals that are salt resistant. Probably a scrap of corrugated cardboard under the mechanism to protect your finished surface.

  7. #7
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    A loop of rope twisted with a stick can be an effective clamping device. (aka Spanish Windlass)

    Think of the loop of twine at the top of a bow saw used to tension a blade.

    Springy pieces of wood can be bent between an overhead beam against a work piece to apply clamping pressure.

    Lots of ways to drive to pieces against each other.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  8. #8
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    Nice glue up technique.

    Did you joint the faces of the boards flat then run them through the planer before gluing them up? Or did you just use the factory milled faces of the boards?

    Now that is is all glued up how to flatten it? The last work bend I built I was able to take the top to the production shop where I purchase a Dewalt RAS from and they put it on a wide belt sander that flattened it in a few passes for $50. I don't live there any more. I know I could probably purchase and learn to use a plane properly for the job but I would worry about how flat the surface actually is. I was thinking about building a sled for a router to ride on that would allow me to use a router to get the top pretty flat.
    Last edited by Michael Schuch; 11-30-2021 at 7:06 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Ellenberger View Post
    …. I just checked and it appears 6’ is the longest length they stock in Home Depot. So about 5’6” is the longest clamp you could make with this system, unless you find a specialty supplier.
    Get some couplers and some 1' pipe. Works quite well.
    ~mike

    scope creep

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Ellenberger View Post
    This is perfect timing. A friend wants me to make a 6’x6’ bookcase, and my longest clamps are 48”. I’m trying to decide whether to buy clamps or make something that I can use for clamping.

    I like your idea. I was thinking of different ways I could generate clamping force with wedges, but your solution is better than anything I thought of.

    …. I just checked and it appears 6’ is the longest length they stock in Home Depot. So about 5’6” is the longest clamp you could make with this system, unless you find a specialty supplier.
    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    Get some couplers and some 1' pipe. Works quite well.
    Mike, Ben may be referring to the all thread. If that is the case your idea of 'couplers' is still good. There are standoffs or long through nuts that could extend the all thread > Such a long URL < To what ever length needed.

    Ben, most woods start to buckle or bow under the weight of books at three feet. You may want to have a central support in your bookshelf project.

    Finding the nuts was enough for me. Someone else can find a link to the bowing of various woods for shelves.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 11-30-2021 at 12:07 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #11
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    Yea, those coupler nuts are still used in hanging cable ladders. So, should hold for a glue up
    ~mike

    scope creep

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Schuch View Post
    Now that is is all glued up how to flatten it?
    Jack plane across the grain to get everything even, jointer plane along the grain to get everything flat. This will make the surface plenty flat enough for a work bench. SO much less fiddling than the router sled option. And, as long as the top doesn't start in too bad of shape, it should take an hour or less.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Culotta View Post
    Jack plane across the grain to get everything even, jointer plane along the grain to get everything flat. This will make the surface plenty flat enough for a work bench. SO much less fiddling than the router sled option. And, as long as the top doesn't start in too bad of shape, it should take an hour or less.
    An hour or less? Maybe for you young'uns.

    Post #13 in this thread shows one way to check for flat over a large surface > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?272588

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Culotta View Post
    Jack plane across the grain to get everything even, jointer plane along the grain to get everything flat. This will make the surface plenty flat enough for a work bench. SO much less fiddling than the router sled option. And, as long as the top doesn't start in too bad of shape, it should take an hour or less.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    An hour or less? Maybe for you young'uns.

    Post #13 in this thread shows one way to check for flat over a large surface > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?272588

    jtk
    I like the string method for checking for flatness. I have a radial arm saw table to make and I am considering making a construction lumber slab for the table but flatness will be key for accurate cuts, especially dados. I will have to figure out what types of planes I received from my father and what I would need to purchase. I am a little concerned about making the top surface planer to the bottom surface. Thank you for the input.

  15. #15
    Yes, you get lucky sometimes.

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