Friday, January 22, 2016

Excuse Me, I Spelched

When I build a laminated benchtop I joint the faces and edges of every laminate. It's much easier to build flatness into a massive slab than make it flat later.

Nevertheless, there is always some minor plane work to be done after the glue cures. And its entirely across the width of the benchtop. In fact, if you joint your top laminates like I do, the bench will end up totally flat along its length, meaning you only have to traverse across the top to clean up it, taking perpendicular strokes as you march from one end of the top to the other. This top took four light passes to clean up.

Spelching can be a problem when planing directly across the long axis of wood fibers where they are unsupported at the back edge of the bench top. The preventative medicine is a chamfer. But sometimes even it fails.

Today I tore a chunk from the back arris of this bench in an area with reversing grain. The chamfer wasn't strong enough medicine, and a stronger chamfer would provide no cure, so surgery was required.

To begin the procedure, first prep the area with an application of router. I made this as small as possible so as to make an inconspicuous scar. Yes, it didn't quite get the entire wound. I can live with some scarring.

Next, layout the incision with a combo square and pare away the errant flesh to a 45 degree angle at the extents of the injury site.

Now prepare some donor tissue using material of the same species and origin. Dress the surface of the donor tissue with a smooth plane so its flat, then miter the ends precisely to length to match the shape of the scarred host area.

Check the fit of the patch and prepare and apply the adhesive medium.

Apply the clamping apparatus and allow the newly grafted tissue to assimilate to the host body overnight.

Retire to the physician's lounge, crack open the Taylor Rye, then unmold (for the first time) your Death Star Ice Cube Ball and realize in disappointment that the designers were far too stingy on the greebling, and by the time it hits the glass, what little greebling there is, along with the too-shallow concavity of the Superlaser Focus Lens is melted away.

Once the site has healed the clamping apparatus can be removed, and any excess scar tissue removed by planing.


  1. If they muffed the greebling on the innocuous orb of the Death Star, I hope you didn't get this casting as a set that includes other metagalactic space vessels such as the Millennium Falcon, TIE fighter or - heaven forbid - a Nebulon-B frigate. I'm afraid you'll be sorely disappointed.

    However the simple, rugged design of the bench is impressive, and it's lack of greebling is refreshing. Should I feel the need to build a second bench for my shop, this is where I would look first!

  2. Agreed with Brad, no greebling needed here, very nice bench. And Templeton Rye to accompany. Oh yea.

  3. It is a workbench right? Not a piece of furniture!!!

  4. Great information as always guys. Thank you!


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