At 1:12 p.m. on Tuesday I had nothing to do, so I hustled Managing Editor Megan Fitzpatrick into the shop to continue work on the workbench made from laminated veneer lumber (LVL).
Of course, this is the only day in recent memory that Megan has worn a skirt, but she was a good sport about it.
First task: Disposing of the bucket of water/glue/primordial ooze before it came to life and went on a tri-state killing spree. That was my job. The semi-gelatinous blob of semi-sentient polyvinyl acetate landed in our dumpster with a sickening plop.
Then we jointed and planed the four benchtop laminations to glue them into two laminations , these will end up as the two halves of the finished benchtop. The laminations gave us no problems on the jointer, which has a cutterhead that’s armed with carbide-insert tooling.
But I was worried about running them through our planer, which has high-speed steel knives. As luck would have it, the knives were already in sad shape and were begging for a fresh edge. Even so, as Senior Editor Robert W. Lang watched me go to work I suspect he went to order us a new set of disposable knives just in case the steel started flying.
At this point, these laminations seem like they were about half glue and half yellow pine, so I was expecting nasty noises from the planer. Surprisingly, the laminations went through with ease. I took lighter cuts than I would with a hardwood just to be safe, however all in all I have been surprised how easy LVL is to work with power tools.
After 36 passes through the planer, all the laminations were ready to glue up. After a fairly straightforward glue-up using 13 Jet parallel-jaw clamps per lamination, we cleaned things up then opened up the planer to get a look at the knives.
Surprisingly, the edges looked really good to my eye. I didn’t see any toothing on any of the knives and they still felt sharp enough for more work.
That’s a good thing because next, we’ll glue up the two laminations into one top.
– Christopher Schwarz
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