Oak Slab Bench Build


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On 7/21/2023 at 9:37 PM, Coop said:

Glad you are doing a journal! Looking good. Wouldn’t it be easier planing these if you cut them to rough length first? 

Most definitely. But I don't even have a plan yet. Right now I'm just trying to get them planed down so i can get them on the table saw, so I'm trying to retain as much as possible. 

 

This is going to be a LONG process. I'm not going to get started until I've got vices bought and a firm plan in place. 

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One area where could use some advice and or opinions:

For a benchtop, am i better off:

 

1. jointing 2 of these beams together and the face grain is the benchtop

Or

2. Ripping strips and laminating them for a side grain bench top. 

 

I'm leaning towards #2 because I've done this before and it feels like it's more stable over time. 

 

Thanks in advance for any input.... 

 

Doug

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Since edge grain is essentially face grain, it would be much less work, not having to make the multiple cuts, then gluing and clamping and less final surface planing, if you just joint the edges and glue the planks together as they are, taking caution to use cauls to keep the surface flat. 

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I would go about the dressing in a different manor. First determine the sizes of all the pieces you will need. In the rough I would cut the parts slightly wider and a touch longer. Then use your flattening jig to flatten one face. Use a  jointer instead of the jig if you have one. Now the oak is ready for the thickness planer.If the wood is dry then you have eliminated the twists and bows and all other irregularities. 

If you take your rough lumber directly to the planer you will not eliminate all the irregularities. Taking the extra time is time well spent. Any variations to true will show up in the project. The easy way is to have big jointer. Nothing wrong with a flattening jig. Just make sure you jig is true. 

If the wood is dry and milled true my preference is to leave the wood wide. I like to look at wide boards and it is less work. Personal preference.

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On 7/24/2023 at 7:58 AM, BillyJack said:

What size are you hoping to get these down to? Finished size. That twist is a problem..

Finished size:

80" x 20"  x 3.75"

That twist, and other defects, are exactly why I'm strongly leaning towards ripping strips and laminating the bench top. 

These things are just too large for me to effectively flatten using jointer and planer. I was able to make a few passes through planer, but without a flat reference face it's only going to give me a slightly thinner twisted piece, and my little DeWalt planer just isn't built for stock this large. 

 

So my plan, at this point, is to use flattening jig to plane down to a point where i can rip on the TS. With that done i can use the jointer and planer to work out defects. That's worked on one 1 beam, and i have 4 more to go. I ripped one in half last night and the resulting pieces are much more manageable. 

I've never worked with timbers this size before so there's quite a learning curve. 

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The problem with flattening and you really don’t have a choice, but your loosing so much thickness to get it flat. How much do you think you will have left once both sides are flattened?

 

You may have to get a# much as you can and get some 3/4-1” white oak to laminate to get the desired width..

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On 7/24/2023 at 8:45 AM, BillyJack said:

You may have to get a# much as you can and get some 3/4-1” white oak to laminate to get the desired width..

Copy that.

This is a live and learn situation. 

I had an idea to bring them into my local hardwood supplier and have them plane and joint on their big machines. 

I spoke to 4 places and none of them will touch any reclaimed lumber no matter how cleaned up it is. I'm guessing the risks outweigh the reward. 

Big lesson I'm learning is not to buy stock this size. 

It's ok though. I've got a path fwd now. It's not super efficient but it will get me there. 

 

 

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On 7/24/2023 at 9:57 AM, BillyJack said:

just  be careful. Those beasts will turn on you if your not careful..

 

How much are the replacement cutters?

I'm running at a low speed and taking shallow cuts. Seems to be going ok though i need dedicated dust collection on the router. 

Replacement cutters are $32 for a pack of 10 and the bit holds 4. 

I took 3/8" off one of my beams yesterday in multiple passes and the cutters still feel as sharp as the 3 unused sides. Hopefully between the 4 sides of the cutters it will get me through this project. 

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If they weren't so heavy I'd tell you to being them over and we'd get them flat in a few min. On big cast iron the weight isn't so bad but my shop is in my basement so lumber in and out isn't the most fun. I have room to joint and plane up to 12-14 foot boards.

I probably wouldn't do the laminating just because it doesn't seem worth it. The other thing to keep in mind is that a bench doesn't need to be laser flat over the entire 80 " length. If all you make are small pieces you only really need a flatish area the size of what ever you make.

Third with a flattening jig you can always get the bench made and flatten the top after it's built. This is what Marc recommends in the roubo build. Get it close during construction and then finish flattening it after it's built. I've flattened my 2nd bench 3 times now. Once on initial construction and two times since. It was construction lumber and moved as it dried.

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On 7/26/2023 at 10:26 AM, BillyJack said:

The one board is so twisted , you’re better off finding another shorter project for it. Cutting it into shorter lengths will lessen the waste.

That's an illusion from the camera. Each of these beams has a little twist, but in the picture it looks severely twisted and that's not the case. Thx

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On 7/26/2023 at 8:56 AM, Chestnut said:

If they weren't so heavy I'd tell you to being them over and we'd get them flat in a few min. On big cast iron the weight isn't so bad but my shop is in my basement so lumber in and out isn't the most fun. I have room to joint and plane up to 12-14 foot boards.

I probably wouldn't do the laminating just because it doesn't seem worth it. The other thing to keep in mind is that a bench doesn't need to be laser flat over the entire 80 " length. If all you make are small pieces you only really need a flatish area the size of what ever you make.

Third with a flattening jig you can always get the bench made and flatten the top after it's built. This is what Marc recommends in the roubo build. Get it close during construction and then finish flattening it after it's built. I've flattened my 2nd bench 3 times now. Once on initial construction and two times since. It was construction lumber and moved as it dried.

Thank you so much for the offer! Very kind of you! 

It's actually not super twisted up, it just looks that way in the pic. It might be sitting on a shim or something too. 

I've got one beam ripped in half and doing so makes it small enough that i should now be able to get it through my machines. 

That's what's on deck for this weekend so I'll let you guys know how it goes. 

 

I'm hoping to order vises in a week or so, looking fwd to that. 

Again, many thanks for the kind offer! I think I'll be ok now that I've got a workable solution. 

Take care! 

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