Stephan

Not laminated top - Pros and cons

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Hi there,

 

I finally managed to start my Roubo ! I bought last year half a ton of beech already dry :wub: . In this bunch of slabs, there are two or three that are 312in thick and 1058in large (9cm x 27cm). These slabs are pretty flat, no twist.

 

Here a picture of one of them already milled :

 

01f4c5edd4613fb4569fc181338f9ce994c3eb3c

 

My question here is: can I build the (split) top from two of these slabs as they are or do I have to laminate it in order to prevent wood movement or whatsoever ?

 

Thanks in advance !

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Hi Stephan. As you have wide slabs I think you could use them as they are. The only reason you would laminate is if you have narrow stock to make up the width you require rather than for stability issues. You will still have to glue the dog strip in place but it looks like you have some fantastic ideal width slabs there.

If you find it twists over the life of the bench the design lets you either run it through a planer or you can hand plane it back flat. It took me 20 minutes to do it on my bench (not a Roubo) with a jointer plane and smoother.

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Congratulations on starting the bench, and scoring some nice lumber.  It sounds like you are concerned that the slabs may not be thick enough. You will be fine with the 3 1/2" thickness for the top, and no need to laminate to get 4" thick overall.  Wood movement will be roughly the same either way, and holdfasts and other accessories should perform just fine.  3 1/2" is still a really beefy top.

 

If you are using the benchcrafted tail vise (wagon vise), you should know that it is specifically designed for a 4" thick bench top.  You will need to put spacers between the slab and the tail vise mounting rails to achieve the overall 4" thickness.  If you mount the tail vise under the 3 1/2" thick slab, the hand wheel would stick up above the bench surface and you could hit it with planes, etc.

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Back in the day, when deforestation wasn't taboo. Back then it was considered "Clearing the land", "Conquering Nature", or just plain old "Progress". Craftsmen of that era built their benches out of 1 or 2 huge thick slabs. Now-a-days we are a little smarter and a little wiser. We try to keep our resources renewable. It's rare that you'll get a slab of that kind out of a farm raised tree. So, today we glue up our bench-tops by laminating up a bunch of boards.

 

Therefore, I'd say if you have the big slabs, go old school and use em.

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I didn't build a Split-Top, but I made my bench from (2) 6x12 Douglas Fir boards.  I couldn't be happier with how it came out.  I think it's been close to a year now, and I haven't had any issues with wood moment.  I should take some updated pictures, but here are a few pictures as I was building it.

 

https://plus.google.com/photos/110200925786248116506/albums/5830509854797690401?authkey=CJrR-_ajyq7v6AE

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Hi there !

 

First, I am happy that you understood my question despite my poor english ! :)

 

Thank you all for your answers that reassure me in my choice of keeping these slabs as they are (even if that forces me to have a top slightly thinner than 4") !

@Aaron: Even if I noticed your point already in the Benchcrafted's (and Marc's) plans, thank you for this, clearly important to keep in mind !

 

I had the chance to find a bunch a beech at a fairly reasonable cost (around 200€ - 270$ - 170£) : P1110147.jpg

 

so, less talking, more doing, moving to the basement right now ! :D

 

I'll try to make a post with some pictures of my progress...and mistakes (beginner spotted !).

 

Cheers !

 

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Wow, Stephan!! You did really well to buy that lumber. European beech for a european designed workbench. Perfect! Do keep us posted on this build.

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