Taking the next step

I love to work with pine. Yes it is a very soft wood and this can make it unforgiving a lot of the time. but it is also economical, and easy on the pocket book. When I have created projects in Oak or Maple, I have been thankful of my experiences with pine. I would definitely say that Maple especially, is easier to work than pine. Thus a good result is relatively easy to achieve.

I also buy and use a lot of dimensional lumber. I understand that I could cut down on some of my costs if I were to purchase a jointer and a planer and size my own stock out of some good 8/4 boards. and perhaps I will get there someday. This hobby is something I consider to be a life long learning experience, and I may come back to deciding to buy, and learn to use those machines eventually, but for right now I have become more focused on learning to use my hand tools effectively. I have to say that it may be a while before I purchase another new power tool (other than a lathe, I had to leave that behind in WI as well and I miss it). I may have to replace or upgrade some of the ones I have. But hand tools are where I have been focusing for a while. Thus the need for a good workbench!!!

So back to it. After gluing and flattening the boards in pairs, I made holes to help drive a threaded rod through. My new workbench has three threaded rods traveling through holes I drilled through all the boards. I guess now that I think about it I am not entirely certain why I followed this other than it was something I had seen done in one of my magazines, and my uneducated mind draws a conclusion that this person, obviously much more intelligent than me by merit of their work in a magazine, must have several good reasons, even though I don't understand all of them, I believe I will follow his example... well I can think of several reasons, I just cannot point to one and say "There...That is the GOOD ONE!"

The holes did help me easily line up the boards while gluing up continually wider slabs. I would run the threaded rod down each end to align things before I put the clamps on. The rods with the nuts on them also continually offer compressive support to the top. I can believe that maybe this will help as the wood moves with the changes in season and humidity. Like the ends of a breadboard help hold it together against woods natural drive to shape shift.

Anyhow, to locate all the holes for all the boards in the exact same place for alignment I made a simple jig by measuring and drilling three "guide holes" in a spare 2x4

I then clamped this 2x4 to the top of my glue ups and drilled through them all using a long 12" 5/16ths inch drill bit.

Having done that I continued to add sandwiches to sandwiches, until I had one hell of a Dagwood!!!

With all the boards glued up...I used a 1" forstner bit to drill some 1/2" deep depressions over the drilled hold for the threaded rod, I pounded the rod through, placed a washer and a nut on both sides, and tightened them down until I was worried I might strip the rod, I cut off the excess bolt with an angle grinder and TA DAH !!!! I had a bench top.


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