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Thread: Ipe workbench pics - verbose

  1. #1
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    Ipe workbench pics - verbose

    Howdy

    Never officially introduced myself. Ive posted a few questions and responses on this forum at least 20. Somehow they have all been deleted. Dont know how I managed that, maybe I forgot to pay my bill. No matter, the significance of my posts are lost in the flood of truly knowledgeable information that is always being submitted on this forum.

    A sidetrack on my kitchen remodel required a larger work surface. The table-saw surface works in a pinch, but becomes a conflict of interest if used repeatedly. What started as a single afternoon project ended up taking most of three weekends (including Labor Day). Built almost completely from scrap, this hodgepodge of a bench is likely going to crack wide open the first time we get a good humid day or a cold spell.

    The top is made of laminated Ipe and is approximately 28 x 71. Each side, and the middle are made of four laminated 1x4s. The rest of the top was built from 1x4s with 2 notched out starting about 4 from each end. I screwed two 10" x 1.75" x 62 MDF type door slabs into the two built up notched sections. Im hoping the sealed door slabs will give some stability to the top as it expands and contracts (floating on the door slabs). SWMBO thinks I may have overdone it. Strained my back moving the top around.

    The frame is built around the Geoffrey Noden Adjust-A-Bench legs and casters. The stretchers are laminated 1x8s of Maple, Poplar, and Red Oak. The tray area under the table is walnut plywood. The feet are two laminated 2x12 of D.Fir with Ipe soles. The crossbeams are 4x8 Douglas Fir.

    The top was flattened to ~3.75 thick with a router using the Tage Frid method, and sanded to 400 grit. The holes were plunge routed for the first 1.5, and then Auger drilled the rest of the way through. Each hole and the end grain have been coated with thinned epoxy. So far, the only finish is one coat of BLO.

    I thought I could get by with using the Veritas Wonder Dogs instead of an end or tail vise, but they look rather inadequate now that they are installed on the bench. One more note about the photos; they capture my crowded 2-car garage/shop in full disarray. May post more photos when the top starts cracking or warping.

    Has anyone else tried laminating Ipe? Does my description of the construction make sense? Do you forsee any problems in the design? What would you recommend for a bench vise? Front, tail, or end? Single or double screw? Should I coat the top with a varnish? Poly or more oil? Is it too late to coat the top with epoxy if Ive already oiled it with BLO? My jig must have bowed a bit as I flattened the top. Should I belt-sand out the waves and bows more? Or start over? How flat should the top be?

    All comments are welcome. Not just courteous comments. You people are too kind. Some of us need constructive criticism to push it a little further. Thanks for lookin.

    rick
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Hi Rick.

    The bench looks very nice. I can't help you with your questions re laminated IPE, but I will certainly be interested in the responses of those who know more about this than me. I certainly hope that your fears about the bench falling apart are not correct.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    York Co, PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by rick fulton
    Howdy
    <snip>
    All comments are welcome. Not just courteous comments. You people are too kind. Some of us need constructive criticism to push it a little further. Thanks for lookin.

    rick
    Rick,
    It's the most horrid bench I've seen on SMC!

    Proportions and wood are all wrong.

    You should send it to me and start over.

    Cheers,
    -Mike
    PS I'll PM with my address for shipping and I'll not charge you to dispose of such a bench because we look out for each other at SMC...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    York Co, PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Weaver
    Rick,
    It's the most horrid bench I've seen on SMC!

    Proportions and wood are all wrong.

    You should send it to me and start over.

    Cheers,
    -Mike
    PS I'll PM with my address for shipping and I'll not charge you to dispose of such a bench because we look out for each other at SMC...

    Now, for the real post - it looks great!

    I've never used IPE before - does it require a wipe w/ acetone before glung like other tropical woods?

    I think that if it indeed floats on the MDF, you should be fine.

    Did you leave a little wider "notch" than the width of the MDF slabs to allow for contraction during low humidity times? If so, my guess is that you should be fine.

    Also, I would have made slots in the MDF, so that screws through it up into the bench could move with the IPE. You probably thought of that too.

    At least you HAVE a bench...mine isn't done yet.

    Someone else will have to comment on finishes - oh Jim?

    As for flat - how "off" is it?

    Vises are a personal decision - it really depends on how you work.
    My bench will have two vises - a record 53E face vise and either a veritas twin screw vise, or a home-made end vise.

    I hope this helps a bit. - Beautiful bench!

    Cheers,
    -Mike

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Waterford, MI
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    Awesome. I bet that thing weighs a ton - just what you'd want for a workbench. Just curious - what did you use to glue the Ipe. That stuff is notorious for not gluing or finishing well. I'm actually surprised the BLO has cured on it.
    Use the fence Luke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Anaheim, California
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    Awesome

    The phrase "assembled in place" was the first thing that jumped into my head . I won't even guess at the weight, but my rough estimate tells me there's enough ipe there to do about a 6'x12' deck, maybe $500 worth last I checked.

    As far as finish is concerned, I think I would have been tempted to just scrape it smooth and leave it unfinished. Worst case, it goes silver/gray over the years, but I doubt it will, since it won't get much UV there in the garage. For that matter, I wouldn't worry about it moving (in the shrink/expand sense) much either.

  7. #7
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    Think it through...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Weaver
    You should send it to me and start over.
    Mike, you really wanna pay the shipping on that monster?!?

  8. #8
    Nice job. You will grow to appreciate the adjust-a-bench legs more and more each day you use the bench.
    It is easier to be imperfect and plan for it, than to try to be perfect and swear at it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee DeRaud
    Mike, you really wanna pay the shipping on that monster?!?
    Lee,
    "The devil is in the details"...

    I said "send it", not "send it freight collect."

    Yes, shipping would be a bundle of $$ to be sure!

    Cheers,
    -Mike

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    KC, MO
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    Rick,

    Beautiful bench....!

    How do you like the adjust a bench......???

    I'm curious as how SOLID it is.........? No racking???

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Wall
    Rick,

    Beautiful bench....!

    How do you like the adjust a bench......???

    I'm curious as how SOLID it is.........? No racking???
    Roy,
    This thread from Jim Becker may be a bit of help about the Noden Adjust-a-bench:
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=13609

    The actual product is here: http://www.adjustabench.com/

    Cheers,
    -Mike

  12. #12
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    Jun 2004
    Location
    KC, MO
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    Mike,

    Thanks for the link......I remember Jim saying his bench did "RACK" so he was needing to rework a few things.......just wondering if this has the same problem.

  13. #13
    Nice bench.

    I have used PL Premium Polyurethane Construction Adhesive to glue ipe for outdoor furniture... so far, so good. I have a thing against gorilla glue, but the PL seems better - and a lot less expensive.

    Doug, my reaction is that ipe finishes beautifully. For the outside furniture, I use Cabot Australian Timber Oil, a mix that is designed for dense hardwoods. Makes the wood look really rich, and is relatively durable (for an outside oil finish). I have made some tiny bowls with the ipe off-cuts - it turns well (but tools need to be sharpened often), and looks great with a lacquer or other sufrace finish.

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    That's a wonderful looking benchtop!! Great job!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
    Awesome looking bench. You could probably park a tank on it!!
    And-----Welcome to the Creek!!


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