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Workbench: Part 3 – Change of plans

Workbench: Part 3 – Change of plans

 

This is a continuation of Workbench: Part 2 – Gluing up the top.

After gluing up half of the top, I repeated the process and got the other half glued up as well.

Both halves, ready to be glued together.
Both halves, ready to be glued together.

 

Once it was dry I joined them together with glue and biscuits just like I did for the individual boards.

Glue and biscuits applied to one half.
Glue and biscuits applied to one half.
Pressing both halves together.
Pressing both halves together.
Both halves clamped and cauled.
Both halves clamped and cauled.

 

After taking the clamps and cauls off I was left with a fairly warped but completely glued up benchtop.

Clamps and cauls removed.
Clamps and cauls removed.

 

At this point, the project wasn’t looking too promising.  My goal was not only to make a benchtop but to see if it can be reasonably accomplished using common 2 X 4 material.  Unfortunately, they are so dimensionally unstable that they do a lot of twisting and warping as they dry.  Maybe if I had these sitting in my shop for a few seasons so they can thoroughly dry then the end result would have been better.  Still, I was somewhat determined to make this work.

 

I started sanding it using a random orbital sander.

Started with a random orbital sander.
Started with a random orbital sander.

 

This was taking a long time so I switched to a belt sander.  This want a lot faster but I was still unhappy with the results since there was so much warpage to this.  I know I can eventually get it to work but I’ll have to remove so much material that  it won’t be as sturdy as I want it.

Switched to a belt sander.
Switched to a belt sander.

 

It was at this time that my wife asked if I had any of the leftover wood from our newly installed hard-wood floors.  She had the idea that I can just use that since it already has the tongue-and-groove in place, plus she likes the look of oak more than fir.  Normally, I’m not a fan of oak but I had to agree that this would look better and be stronger even though the tabletop would be 3/4″ rather than 1″.

I decided to give it a shot.  I gathered up the scrap wood flooring and started laying it out.  I needed to get enough material to make a 7′ X 2′ section.  The plan is to have a 5′ wide bench with a 2′ wide flip up extension.

New plan! Laying out the oak flooring.
New plan! Laying out the oak flooring.

 

I had to cut some mating grooves in a few of the pieces but I was able to get enough material.  Once it was laid out, I attached a piece of blue painters tape to each piece so I could label them.

Painters tape applied for labeling.
Painters tape applied for labeling.

 

I labelled each piece with the row (number) and which order it is in from left to right (letter)

Each piece labeled.
Each piece labeled.

 

Now, this is where this gets interesting.  One of the reasons my wife wanted me to use the oak flooring is because she wanted me to try to get “mill marks” on some of the boards.  Normally, I’m not a fan of faux-finishes and antiquing techniques, but this was an interesting challenge.

I tried approximating it by hand with 24 grit sanding pads and the result wasn’t pretty (as I expected).  The other technique I wanted to try was to put actual milling marks on the wood.

To accomplish this, I needed to get a blade that I could damage.  Specifically, I needed a 10″ table saw blade without carbides.  I knew I wasn’t going to find this in the store so I would have to look for a used blade.  I started my search at Habit for Humanity ReStore.  I couldn’t find anything there that was 10″ so I decided to try at a pawn shop.  I eventually found an old Craftsman blade that had all of my requirements and was new in the box.  To top it all off, after I told them why I was getting it, they knocked $6.00 of the price.

Found a cheap 10" blade with no carbides.
Found a cheap 10″ blade with no carbides.
As you can see, it's cheap but in decent shape.
As you can see, it’s cheap but in decent shape.

 

To add the mill marks I took one of the teeth and bent it towards what would be the right of the blade after it was installed on the saw.

Bending one of the teeth with a pair of vice grips.
Bending one of the teeth with a pair of vice grips.

 

Then I installed it on my saw and made a few test cuts.  I then bent it a few more times until I found the right amount.

The blade installed. The bent tooth is marked with an arrow.
The blade installed. The bent tooth is marked with an arrow.

 

Here’s a test cut.  I’m going to do a bit more distressing and see the final result after I stain this wood.

Sample mill-marks.
Sample mill-marks.

 

Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know if you’ve tried this technique or have any other ways of distressing wood that have worked for you.
Up next: Workbench: Part 4 – Gluing up the new top.

 

Back to Workbench: Part 2 – Gluing up the top.

Back to Workbench Part 1 – Milling down some 2 x 4s.

 

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