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A Roubo from beams?

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I may have an opportunity for some reasonably priced 4"x6" white oak beams.  How difficult would it be to modify the plans to give it a go?  I'm assuming the 4" would have to come down to 3-3.5" for flatness, so I'd probably have to bring that 6" down to close to 4".  It could be a lot of waste, or I may be able to rip off an inch and salvage some 4/4+ boards.

I'm mostly concerned with the dog hole strip, the outer top laminate that the end cap ties into, and vise installation, since I'll stick with BC.

Random thoughts?

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If the beams are really old, as in have been air drying for several decades, I'd use them as close as possible to their full size.

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Danger of a lot of movement if I mill too much off?

Ideally I would keep the 4" dimension close to 4" and glue them up "face" down.  That could mean I might use as few as four beams for the whole bench top.  I just don't know if I can keep them close to the 4".

There's a strong potential that this will be more trouble/risk than it's worth.

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BC covers using tops thinner than 4" thick so it is possible to use them even if you get down to 3.5" though you have to make some changes or modifications Most notably the end cap still needs to be 4" and will hang lower than the main bench. You could solve that by making the front piece taller and from a milled down beam on edge.

How much are these beams that you found? If they are super cheap snap them up and try and turn them around for a farmhouse table or fireplace mantles? That whole rustic thing is still trendy no?

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My comment was only if they were old, then they should be pretty stable as is, and I wouldn't worry about them being too thick, or too wide.  The only reason I would make them smaller, for this purpose, is if they contained the center of the tree.

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Dog Hole strip is a non issue if you're going round dog holes. 

And the vise installation (at least tail vise , haven't gotten to the Main vise stage yet) , is also a non issue , as the plans call for building the full slab first , and then routing out a ton for the rails / screw cavity.

 

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I don't see any problem using them.  I'd mill the 6" width to 4" (and as you said, you'd likely get some decent 4/4 boards as waste, which could then be laminated together to get your side rails).  Once you flatten them, you will probably end up with 3 1/2 wide boards, so there's that much less gluing to do to get your tops.  In order to keep construction simple, I would aim to keep the dimensions of the dog hole strip and front laminate as per the plans.  I'm just finishing my tops now, and starting with 4" thick tops makes all the math much simpler.  Obviously it can be done with a thinner top, but why not aim for 4" if you can?

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They won't work at all for that application. Let me PM you my address and I'll take them off your hands! :rolleyes: I'll even split the shipping costs with you.

  • Haha 2

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11 minutes ago, Mick S said:

They won't work at all for that application. Let me PM you my address and I'll take them off your hands! :rolleyes: I'll even split the shipping costs with you.

Excellent way to help out a befuddled woodworker.

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A typical hold fast like the Grammercy has a minimum top thickness listed at 1 3/4".  After around 4" they seem to loose effectiveness and the bottom of the bores need to be counter bored.  

The top I have built is under 4".  I can't remember the exact number.  I haven't used it yet as I am still building.

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4 minutes ago, Jim DaddyO said:

A typical hold fast like the Grammercy has a minimum top thickness listed at 1 3/4".  After around 4" they seem to loose effectiveness and the bottom of the bores need to be counter bored.  

The top I have built is under 4".  I can't remember the exact number.  I haven't used it yet as I am still building.

I learned today that 4" is the lower limit for Benchcrafted hardware without plan modifications. So shooting for 4" is key i guess.

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17 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

I learned today that 4" is the lower limit for Benchcrafted hardware without plan modifications. So shooting for 4" is key i guess.

Just checking, did you mean to say "lower" limit?

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9 hours ago, Pondhockey said:

Just checking, did you mean to say "lower" limit?

I think so... any thing thinner than 4" requires extra attention for the tail vise at least.

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16 hours ago, Chestnut said:

I think so... any thing thinner than 4" requires extra attention for the tail vise at least.

So  you're saying that it can't be thinner or thicker than 4".  I get it.

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9 hours ago, Pondhockey said:

So  you're saying that it can't be thinner or thicker than 4".  I get it.

it absolutely can , you'll just need to modify the plans slightly.  

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Just to clarify a bit.  The Benchcrafted tail vise is specified for a 4" thick top.  It can be put in a thinner top by shimming, or a thicker top by recessing.

Or, not use one at all and make the thickness anything you want.

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