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To make "as Perfectly as Possible"... workbench challenges...

William Indelicato
Thu, 14 Jul 2016 01:06:08 GMT

I've been working on my workbench for several (too many) months now, and I'm facing an issue I'm not sure how to proceed on. The top of four oak beams from old barns, planed and laminated. I'm working with a single #6 for the most part. The first two laminations went well; I was able to get a near perfect jointing, sub 64th. But the last one is eluding me. No matter what, there appears to be a gap all the way around, at largest 3/32nds. Half the time there is a rocking, as if from a twisting. I can't find the high spots, and light creeps in everywhere. For any who have been in this situation, I'm sure you know how frustrating it is. Working on it at nights, and days/weeks of effort go by with no progression. Half the time I want to quit and grab the glue and clamps, the other half I'll know I gave up and will see that joint while I work. I was rereading the Workbenches book, and I was reminded about the lesson Chris talks about "if you have to ask the question, yo u already know the answer". Not sure what answer I'm looking for... I want to be proud of my efforts, and I want to get on to my project list.

Adam Wilson
Thu, 14 Jul 2016 11:02:04 GMT

Have you tried putting a taught, thin string line along all four faces to check it for straightness and using winding sticks to check for twist ?

William Indelicato
Thu, 14 Jul 2016 12:36:24 GMT

I haven't tried the string, I can do that. I have checked with winding sticks, and nothing appears out of alignment, until I place the 10' beam on top.

Adam Wilson
Thu, 14 Jul 2016 16:23:59 GMT

Or making it slightly hollow across the face? That's in Chris' blue workbench book and I think I used it a couple of times. The glue fills the slight gap internally, but the edges meet nicely. And I know this may sound daft, but have you checked the piece you're mating it too ?

William Indelicato
Thu, 14 Jul 2016 16:46:55 GMT

A hallow would be a nice alternative, but I haven't been able to reach that yet (except the fact there is a strange persistent gap present). I have checked the mating piece too, same result.

Adam Wilson
Thu, 14 Jul 2016 17:40:16 GMT

How about posting some photos ?

Chris Sims
Thu, 14 Jul 2016 17:46:54 GMT

I feel your pain. It sometimes seems like all of my woodworking is an unhappy balance between working to the best of my abilities, and trying to get anything done at all. Roy Underhill's mantra is "Free your mind of impure thoughts". Maybe that will help.

William Indelicato
Fri, 15 Jul 2016 01:24:15 GMT

Here's a picture of one end. (Flashlight behind to highlight gap) I'm curious about Roy Underhill's mantra, but I'm not sure how to apply it. I tried looking for it, couldn't find any further advice. [Beam end](//muut.com/u/lostartpress/s3/:lostartpress:FjOH:imag0281.jpg.jpg)

Chris Sims
Fri, 15 Jul 2016 03:41:36 GMT

Re: Roy's mantra... Search for "The spirit of woodcraft", looks like it's available to watch online. Though it probably falls more under the category of spiritual advice rather than practical advice.

Fri, 15 Jul 2016 04:27:45 GMT

I know you got good laminations earlier but maybe your #6 isn't flat? Sounds crazy. At this point if it were me I think I would cover one face with graphite or charcoal and rub the faces together to find those high spots. They're there. Just gotta find em.

Adam Wilson
Fri, 15 Jul 2016 07:57:08 GMT

It looks like it's got a bow in it and the end by the camera doesn't look like it's flat across the face. So I don't think reciting any mantra will help in this instance, but a swift critical flattening across the face of the last 6 " or so at the end might be just what it needs. It looks like a beast of a bench by the way. Did you try the string ?

James Russ
Fri, 15 Jul 2016 16:01:12 GMT

I agree with Adam. From this view it looks like you have contact on the end closest to the camera. Try removing that down. That said, the cover with charcoal/graphite (or chalk) idea (or using several sheets of carbon paper) may help ID your high spots for more targeted removal if you have more than just that hollow on the near end.

William Indelicato
Fri, 15 Jul 2016 17:07:17 GMT

Haven't tried the string yet, but I did try the chalk previously. Nothing was showing up, rather annoyingly. It may not be clear, but the end close to the camera is the part that isn't matching up, it didn't have contact. Not sure what else to do, I'll just have to figure it out it seems. Thanks for the advice everyone.

Adam Wilson
Fri, 15 Jul 2016 19:33:01 GMT

Can you easily spin the piece around when you've got it lying on top of the others like in the photo ?

William Indelicato
Thu, 28 Jul 2016 01:56:34 GMT

I wanted to follow up, and let you know what happened. After a few days of not wanting to address it, and rereading the workbenches book, I still wanted to follow the advice and not "settle for less than perfect". I went ahead and re-traversed and re-jointed both sides. Got a better fit, and worked it down more. It's in the final glue up now, very thankful for my wife to help me lift it up. I may be justifying it, and not following the advice to the letter, but this bench has been an immense learning process. Others could do it better, but for me and my skills now it's more than I thought possible last year. It will be a reminder and an inspiration for my future projects. [Final Top Glue Up](//muut.com/u/lostartpress/s3/:lostartpress:4kXf:imag0290.jpg.jpg)

Adam Wilson
Thu, 28 Jul 2016 06:27:09 GMT

You've done well, that won't have been the easiest timber to work with. I can imagine it's very heavy, don't hurt yourself.

Adam Wilson
Thu, 28 Jul 2016 10:08:48 GMT

You might want to think about borrowing some strops and an engine crane to move it about with. I use a trolly mounted engine crane and strap things to a carpet roll trolly when moving big stuff like that around with. Heavy lumps of timber tend to want to crush things rather than just give a nasty pinch. Don't drop it on your wife either.....she'll be mad as hell.