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Thread: Workbench woes

  1. #1

    Workbench woes

    I've been patiently building my workbench (a SYP Roubo) over the past few weeks in my spare time. I'm new to handworking and have been going slow. I bought 2x10's that I stickered and let sit for a few weeks in my basement work area before I ripped them down on my table saw. I then let them sit or a while longer before gluing up the top in 6 inch sections with tite bond after rubbing the boards with naphtha. I glued these sections up using clamps no more than 10" apart across the entire length and let it sit for about 30 hours before removing them to use on the stretchers. Tonight I returned to the top (about a week after I glued up the top) and discover that one of the 6" sections has pulled away at one end a little more than a 16th of an inch. It also has dropped on that end at least an eighth of an inch. When I glued these up they were square. I also used a TON of glue the entire length of each section.

    This has me pretty frustrated. At this point should I plane down the 1/8" difference across the face (I've been picking up some hand planes and refurbishing them knowing that I will need to smooth the top)? Or should I separate this section from the rest of the top and re-glue it? Right now my top is about 41/4" thick. I'm thinking it's not cool to fill in the gap where it split.

    I only have a table saw, a circular saw, a Disston panel saw, and Stanley 4,5,and 7 planes to work with.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Puryear View Post
    I've been patiently building my workbench (a SYP Roubo) over the past few weeks in my spare time. I'm new to handworking and have been going slow. I bought 2x10's that I stickered and let sit for a few weeks in my basement work area before I ripped them down on my table saw. I then let them sit or a while longer before gluing up the top in 6 inch sections with tite bond after rubbing the boards with naphtha. I glued these sections up using clamps no more than 10" apart across the entire length and let it sit for about 30 hours before removing them to use on the stretchers. Tonight I returned to the top (about a week after I glued up the top) and discover that one of the 6" sections has pulled away at one end a little more than a 16th of an inch. It also has dropped on that end at least an eighth of an inch. When I glued these up they were square. I also used a TON of glue the entire length of each section.

    This has me pretty frustrated. At this point should I plane down the 1/8" difference across the face (I've been picking up some hand planes and refurbishing them knowing that I will need to smooth the top)? Or should I separate this section from the rest of the top and re-glue it? Right now my top is about 41/4" thick. I'm thinking it's not cool to fill in the gap where it split.

    I only have a table saw, a circular saw, a Disston panel saw, and Stanley 4,5,and 7 planes to work with.
    SYP can do stupid wood tricks, it's part of working with it. Depends on how you view your work bench, is it a show piece or a work piece, if a work piece then get some two part epoxy and fill in the gap. Wont make no never mind in the function of the bench. The brand I use is System Three "T-88" works great and even looks pretty good. As far as planing it down to even the boards, a 4 1/4" top may give your holdfasts trouble so making it a little thinner will not hurt.

  3. #3
    Just looked up naphtha,seems to have paraffin in it. That could be the problem. Usually solvents are only used prior to gluing oily woods,and when used its usually acetone or MEK. Was the naphtha recommended to you,or did you just think a solvent might help?

  4. #4
    This is going to be my working workbench, so I guess I can live with the epoxy as a life lesson. I actually used acetone (not naphtha). You're right about the crazy tricks SYP plays on you. I had some boards move out of plumb while I was cutting them 1/4 to 1/2 an inch over 8 feet. I cut these down and hand planed them for the stretchers and legs. All of my other joints have remained tight. It's just these big chunks of the top that didn't go together well.

  5. #5
    About the split in your glue joint...I glue my tops up oversize and leave them that way for a few days. After a few days I'll decide what and where to trim, and sometimes that includes a split/planer snipe end. If I had a glueline that I thought would split further, I would rip down the glueline and re-glue the two halves.

    As has been mentioned, I also have my doubts on the naptha before gluing.

    Concerning your bowed section, I wonder if it and other sections are going to move some more? At 4-1/4", you have plenty of extra thickness. Leveling sections before or after final glue-up is really a personal choice, you have so much extra thickness I think you can go ahead and do it whatever way is easiest for you. I would keep your parts stickered until assembly, even a stable tabletop will warp if one side is free to exchange moisture while the other side is prevented from doing so by laying on a workbench.

  6. #6
    Did you joint and plane the sides?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Puryear View Post
    I've been patiently building my workbench (a SYP Roubo) over the past few weeks in my spare time. I'm new to handworking and have been going slow. I bought 2x10's that I stickered and let sit for a few weeks in my basement work area before I ripped them down on my table saw. I then let them sit or a while longer before gluing up the top in 6 inch sections with tite bond after rubbing the boards with naphtha. I glued these sections up using clamps no more than 10" apart across the entire length and let it sit for about 30 hours before removing them to use on the stretchers. Tonight I returned to the top (about a week after I glued up the top) and discover that one of the 6" sections has pulled away at one end a little more than a 16th of an inch. It also has dropped on that end at least an eighth of an inch. When I glued these up they were square. I also used a TON of glue the entire length of each section.

    This has me pretty frustrated. At this point should I plane down the 1/8" difference across the face (I've been picking up some hand planes and refurbishing them knowing that I will need to smooth the top)? Or should I separate this section from the rest of the top and re-glue it? Right now my top is about 41/4" thick. I'm thinking it's not cool to fill in the gap where it split.

    I only have a table saw, a circular saw, a Disston panel saw, and Stanley 4,5,and 7 planes to work with.
    Sounds like you glued boards together which bowed away from each other. Almost every board you buy in SYP will exhibit some bow. Gotta match that up to make face gluing work.

    Not sure what was up with the solvent. You don't need it, just good fresh glue and temps high enough for it to set. Cool, wet weather will mess with PVA.

  8. #8
    I tried to match up the cut boards with on another bookmatch style. The sections that were glued up in 4 board groups are fine; it's the glue up of the groups of 4 boards to one another that resulted in some separation at the joints. Coincidentally, I jointed these sides with my newly found and sharpened no. 7 prior to gluing up.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Puryear View Post
    I tried to match up the cut boards with on another bookmatch style. The sections that were glued up in 4 board groups are fine; it's the glue up of the groups of 4 boards to one another that resulted in some separation at the joints. Coincidentally, I jointed these sides with my newly found and sharpened no. 7 prior to gluing up.
    When face gluing in sections match concave to concave when you can - two boards at a time.

    After a section is glued, in order to glue it to another section you have to plane the outside faces slightly concave as they are probably a touch convex. Either that, or clamp with a whole lot of pressure. Bessey K-Bodies won't let you put enough torque on a SYP sectional glue up to overcome the two outside and slightly convex faces of a glued-up section. Deep-reach Jorgy pipe clamps might but your best bet is to plane the outside faces the glued up sections so you know they'll go together with the next section. You have to have a little concavity at each stage in order for the ends to go tightly together.
    Last edited by Charlie Stanford; 02-09-2013 at 8:53 AM.

  10. #10
    Woo boy. This is why I said at the beginning that I am new to this. Thanks for the comments; I think I've learned that I have a lot to learn.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Escondido, CA
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    5,236
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Puryear View Post
    Woo boy. This is why I said at the beginning that I am new to this. Thanks for the comments; I think I've learned that I have a lot to learn.
    Which is also why you are doing the right thing, learning on your bench and not your heirloom dining table. Every perfect piece should have a flaw, so that you can tell a good story.
    Veni Vidi Vendi Vente! I came, I saw, I bought a large coffee!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,613
    It's also a mistake you'll never make again, where it really matters!!
    One can never have too many planes and chisels... or so I'm learning!!

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