Embracing Plan ‘B’

Good news: the first two sections of the table top mated properly.

Bad news: the third section is far too warped to be usable <sigh>.

This left me with a couple of options: either build a new section and work it  to match the curvature of the first large glueup (to be flattened later), or work the edge of the large section to match the new one.  The problem with either of these options isn’t working the edges to mate – it’s moving the new section on and off the stack to check it every few strokes of the plane. These things are heavy.  And doing them edge-on won’t let me see any potential problems at the bottom.

So, plan B: I’m going to build up the rest of the top one or two boards at a time, attached to the larger section.  Each board can be aligned with clamps, as there’s enough flex to a single board to allow them to mate. The theory is that it should be finished by the weekend, and I can move my attention to the legs.

Note: What I’ve done is set the slab on its edge, resting on the fixed end of the clamps. I raise the clamp head, and lock the head in place on the bar with a small plastic clamp long enough to spread the glue and align the next board. Then remove the plastic clamp and lock down the head.  This works well, since the head of the clamps won’t lock in place on the bar while the clamp is open.

That was, at least, the theory. Then I came down with an awful sinus infection, and can’t stand to kick up that much dust at the moment. So this will take a little longer. Then the remaining large (warped) section will be cut down into legs, and can be squared properly once they’re at a shorter length – cutting the section in half will automatically reduce about half of the warp. It’s much easier to square shorter sections than longer ones.

Meanwhile, my pre-release copy of Christopher Schwarz’s The Workbench Design Book, a companion volume to Workbenches: From Design And Theory To Construction And Use arrived. Tremendous book, chock full of excellent ideas. I’ve already seen at least three changes I’m going to make to the design of this bench before I go much farther.

Cross your fingers that my sinuses clear up. I’ve got wood to cut.

Today’s shop music was the Beethoven Cello Sonatas Op. 69 & 102 (Maisky/Argerich), and Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits.

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4 comments on “Embracing Plan ‘B’

  1. Shannon says:

    This is the method I ended up with while building my Roubo. I started with larger sections and it was just so heavy to move around that I resorted to adding one board at a time and like you, using hand screws to even up the lamination and resting the whole assembly on the clamp head. It worked out really well and save on the heavy lifting. Good luck with the rest of the build.

    • rhenton says:

      Shannon: I’m really glad to hear I’m not the only one who hit this problem. Lifting is going to become a bigger and bigger issue as this project goes on – I’m going to have to draft a buddy of mine into coming over to help with some stages.

  2. This is a big job. I do residential construction and renovations but what you are doing is making me curious about my own work benches.

    Compared to yours, mine is really simple but I’m thinking of doing a Roubo to make my life much easier since I do a lot of cabinetry and custom trim work for the renovated houses.

    • rhenton says:

      Schwarz’s new book also talks about knockdown benches – some of them look intriguing and workable for a job that requires mobility. I was happy with my old bench, until I started cutting my own dovetails, and the tiny shift of the end of the bench was enough to make the saw bind.

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