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After reconfiguring/removing a wall in our hundred-year-old house, I was left with some long heart pine 2x4s. Time to build a bench.

The original inspiration and building method came from an instructable from wholman

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Step 1: Rough mill the 2x4s

Picture of Rough mill the 2x4s
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First, on the miter saw, I squared off one end of each 2x4 and then cut them to 6' They were roughly 3 3/4" thick. I used the table saw to rip 3/16" to get each plank to 3 9/16". (Later, I will take off another 1/16 using the planer.) After all that was done, I spent some quality time with the orbital sander. I first hit each one with 120 grit and then again with 220. The main goal was to clean the surface and maybe get some of the splinters out. In hindsight, I should've cut them a little longer than my desired finish length, but everything worked out.

Step 2: Drill the holes

Picture of Drill the holes
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Using a 3/8" bit in a drill press and starting 2" in from the bench end, I drilled five holes 17" apart. (This is just how the math worked out.) The holes are meant to be visible from the front.

I used the holes to run threaded rods through the bench, front to back, to hold it together. I used 5/16" rods, so using the 3/8" bit gave me a little wiggle room. For the front and back end pieces, I also used a 1" forstner bit to drill through about half the thickness of the wood. This allowed me to inset a nut with a 1" washer.

After one sort of rough go at locating the holes, I made a template out of scrap 3/4" OSB and used another strip of OSB as a shim to consistently space the work in the drill press vice.

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geege1 year ago

Jay - Great bench. Well 'Instructed'. Jealous of all your tools. Just moved to the UK and lost / left all mine in North America due to the 120 v 240 diff. Very :-(

I'm at the start of a similar project. Building a table top using recovered boards, on edge, with threaded rod.

A question if I may:

I know you glued up, but do you think the rod / nuts / washers would have been enough to effectively 'laminate' the boards, without glue? I'm planning to run 4 lengths of M20 rod (about 1" diam). They will be evenly spaced over 5' boards.



jay_atl (author)  geege1 year ago

Thanks Geege, you can probably get away without glue if you have a good reason not to use any. Gluing was helpful in getting everything lined up before adding the rods. It will get rather tedious to get the top flat and smooth, especially if you are not doing any sort of planning or making a serious effort to smooth out the seams between the boards. Also, without glue you will run a greater risk of the boards shifting over time. All that said, I'm sure M20 roods will be plenty of strength to hold everything together.