Portable Bench Build (Part 5) Front Leg Glue Up

After gluing a few of these up I can confirm this will work nicely. I wouldn’t suggest cutting your nice wide boards into these little pieces, the only reason I am doing this is, the lumber was free. This is a LOT of extra work though, although it should be very stable.

First stage of front leg glue up.
First stage of front leg glue up.

The first stage we group either two or three boards wide and spring clamp together. This is mainly limited because of the number of spring clamps we have on hand. I am confident in the statement of “you can never have to many clamps”. More would have been helpful, but we are also limited by the short tack time for the glue. So moving quick is very important.

Second stage of front leg glue up.
Second stage of front leg glue up.

Once the glue sets enough, approximately 30 minutes in our case, we remove the clamps and cleanup the glue squeeze out. Then we scrape the laminate that we have between the bench and the wood. We reset for a new set of boards in the first stage, and the first set or boards moves onto stage two where we finish the glue up and end up with something resembling a board. This step we use smallish F-style clamps because of the bigger span. On occasion we have added more than one clamp to a section as not all the boards are as straight as we would like. In all our glue ups the clamps are tight enough to get a bit of squeeze out of glue through the entire length. This ensures a good bond and that we never starve a glue joint. In this instance its less critical than normal as all of the little boards will have glue on 3 sides and most will be on 4 sides. We have plenty of glue going into the project.

Some of the pieces glued up for the front legs.
Some of the pieces glued up for the front legs.

We found that smacking the boards with a dead blow gave us flatter clamping result. With this extra little fussing most of the boards only needed 1/64″ removed from each side to make them flat and take any extra glue that had dried. The jointer made very quick work of this step, it would have been painful to do this much by hand.

The plan is to stagger the glue joints, the wider boards we nick named 6-packs. At a later stage we will cut half of a little board from each side of the 6-packs. This will make them approximately the same width as the 5-packs.

Leg pieces in temporary clamps.
Leg pieces in temporary clamps.

There was a lot of planning for where things will get in the way of part of the legs. The front left leg has a hole for the dog that happens to hit right in the middle. The right leg needs a slot for the dogs in the end vice to slide through. The lower part of both front legs have double tenons in the back and a single tenon that goes from left to right. The top back of both front legs also has double tenons to accommodate for the stretcher that the top will register on. This could have all been done after the glue up but with a bit of calculation and planning while glue was setting we will save quite a bit of time later in the process. We missed a few in our calculations, but we have most.

Next we glue the layers together in small packs. This will better facilitate making the final cuts that we missed or just couldn’t do while gluing without wasting valuable time in the clamps.

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