Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lumber Bench Diary Part I

Day 1 (Aug 4) - Return to Power

Today I began my evening by selecting the best of the boards from my pile. It's been so humid the last couple of weeks and I don't expect any relief soon, so I think the boards have sat long enough. They're not going to get any drier. Some of the boards have loose knots, so I set them aside and I will stabilize them with epoxy later.

I decided against the A-frame style of legs. I don't think I could pull off the angled mortise and tenon joinery at this stage. With my 10 best boards selected, I cut them to 71" length and dragged out the power planer and planed them all down to a thickness of 1 3/8". SPF is remarkably agreeable to the blades of my Ryobi planer and there was very little tear out.

With limited time on my hands this evening, I ripped 4 of them in half and ran them again through the planer to 3 3/8" width. They're nice and straight to begin with, so no need to rig a sled.

With the stresses released through the ripping and planing process, I wanted to be able to glue them up before calling it a night and pushing the planer aside, I laid out my clamps and it all went together easy as pie. I barely had enough glue, so it will be off to the store to get some more after work on Friday. I need to use some clamping pads on the next section however as I dented the wood wherever I applied clamping pressure.

Day 2 (Aug 7) - Lather, Rinse Repeat

I bought another bottle of glue today and a foam roller to help with the glue spreading process. Starting the above process all over again with another 4 boards, it went much quicker and smoother this time with the foam roller. To save the roller, I put it into a small pan of water. I think an ink roller would do the job better, but have to make a trip to the stationary store to see if I can get one.

Day 3 (Aug 8) - One more time! & ARGH! I need more clamps!

One more time with the ripping, planing and face gluing of boards. Only this time with 4 pieces instead of 8.

Later in the evening, I ran all 3 sections through the planer one last time to reduce the amount of time that I would have to spend flattening the bench upon completion. With all 3 sections to uniform thickness, I proceeded to do the final clamp up. Wouldn't ya know it! 5 of my clamps (including the 2 parallel clamps that were also being used as support rails) were too short! I ended up using the 3 F clamps that you see in the picture above plus 2x 6' pipe clamps for the ends. While the Parallel clamps were too short, I still needed a level support rail. My solution? take the clamp heads off and store them someplace safe. The bars themselves were long enough, but not with the heads attached. Huzzah!

One thing to note. The sections of bench become very rigid and stable once glued up. clamping the 3 sections together took considerable force to get a little glue squeeze out. I may have to invest in 3 carriage bolts if it doesn't hold together. Sorry I don't have a pic of it at this time, but my next post will contain the results of tonight's glue up and the unclamping process.

Keeping my fingers crossed tonight as I sleep!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment. I will answer any questions in the comments section, so be sure to check back!