Author Topic: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question  (Read 3075 times)

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Offline DIY WoodWerx

  • Posts: 57
Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« on: August 31, 2017, 10:06 AM »
I don't have a planer right now.  I would like to build a workbench base out of 2x4 and or 2x6 lumber that I can find at lower or home depot.  I was thinking of jointing the edges using my track saw but can I smooth the faces using a sander?  I currently own the Pro 5 LTD sander from festool and have a Ridgid orbital sander.  Was also thinking of pickup up the Festool ETS EC 125/3 or RO 125 so I can use the same paper for both the new sander and Pro 5 LTD.
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Offline Svar

  • Posts: 1064
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2017, 11:50 AM »
A $25 hand plane will do a better and faster job of it than any of the tools you mentioned. Primarily it'll make your bench actually flat, not just smooth. Construction lumber is very easy to work with.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 11:52 AM by Svar »

Offline DIY WoodWerx

  • Posts: 57
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2017, 11:52 AM »
A $25 hand plane will do a better and faster job of it than any of the tools you mentioned. Primarily it'l make your bench actually flat, not just smooth. Construction lumber is very easy to work with.

I've never hand planed before.  New to woodworking in general.  Any recommendations on hand plane? 
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Offline lwoirhaye

  • Posts: 54
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2017, 12:10 PM »
A #4 or #5  plane is ideal for starting out.  While each has uses at which it excels, their functions cross over quite a bit.  It's hard to make a brand recommendation on a new bench plane unless you're willing to spend over $100.  Grizzly sells some inexpensive planes that may be rough around the edges but can still get the job done.

Buying and fixing up vintage planes is a good way to get some bargains, and a lot of old ones are pretty well made.   Woodcraft and other specialty tool dealers carry various lines of higher-end planes.  These premium planes generally come with flatter soles and finer fit-and-finish than the inexpensive planes sold in hardware stores.

« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 12:15 PM by lwoirhaye »

Offline live4ever

  • Posts: 529
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2017, 12:35 PM »
Hold on just a minute here....

You need to tell us exactly what you're planning on doing.  You said "workbench base."  Do you have plans/design?  The truth is you can make a quick and dirty 2x4 workbench base WITHOUT edge jointing the lumber, flattening, or planing anything.  This is how I made my first workbench base with doubled up 2x4s glued and screwed, and while it ain't the prettiest due to the roundovers, it has held up just fine for 10 years.  I never even bothered sanding it.

Now, as to the sanding you referred to, your existing sanders can sand for smoothness just fine.  They will NOT help you flatten material.  It's unclear whether that is your intention - you mention edge jointing via tracksaw but unclear if you really want perfectly flat faces square to the edges or whether you simply want to sand the faces smooth for aesthetics. 

Again, it comes down to your goals.  You can make a great base out of 2x4s, and it can look even better if you actually square up the lumber and glue up true 4x4 legs and stretchers, etc.  Whether you really need to go to those lengths on what sounds like your first workbench (which you will probably want to modify if not replace after you use it for a while) is up to you - it is mostly about craftsmanship and aesthetics and less about the functionality of the workbench base.

If you DO want to square up the lumber, then you need a better strategy for dealing with the faces than random orbit (or Rotex) sanders.  Access to a jointer and planer would be the best option.  A planer alone would be next best.  After that, a drum sander, though it would be darn slow going and make you want to gouge your eyeballs out.  After that, a handheld power planer (good ones not by Festool include Bosch or Makita), with the caveat that your results will appear to be flat but not truly squared lumber (the faces will be flat but no guarantee they will be parallel to each other).  After that, handplanes.  I put hand planes last because for a new woodworker IMO, they can be an exercise in frustration.  You have to learn how to wield them, have to learn how to sharpen properly, and after all of that, it's still a heck of a lot of manual labor.  Do you want to dive down that rabbit hole or do you want to get yourself a functional workbench base?  Many woodworkers enjoy it though.

Now, the top - what are you planning on using?  If solid lumber, you will have to deal with flattening it.  If you're mostly a power tool guy and want a good work surface to use with all your Festools, I might recommend going with something like doubled up MDF.  Again, depends on your goals and what KIND of bench you're wanting to build.  Tell us more.
"What you have to do tomorrow, do today.  What you have to do today, do now."  - a wise grandfather who was clearly talking about purchasing Festools

Online RKA

  • Posts: 912
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2017, 12:52 PM »
I have to agree with live4ever, it does seem like you're aspiring to build a furniture grade workbench with construction grade lumber.  That's an exercise in frustration, because the lumber is not straight and will be riddled with knots and cracks.  It can be used for building out a frame to hold a top and some storage shelving underneath.  If you want to add doors and drawers, I would start with materials that are straight and square and only plan to cut to size and join.  That will cost more and you're limited to 3/4" thick materials in the big box stores. 
-Raj

Offline DIY WoodWerx

  • Posts: 57
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2017, 01:08 PM »
I have to agree with live4ever, it does seem like you're aspiring to build a furniture grade workbench with construction grade lumber.  That's an exercise in frustration, because the lumber is not straight and will be riddled with knots and cracks.  It can be used for building out a frame to hold a top and some storage shelving underneath.  If you want to add doors and drawers, I would start with materials that are straight and square and only plan to cut to size and join.  That will cost more and you're limited to 3/4" thick materials in the big box stores. 

Thanks for all the advice.  Like I said, I'm new to this so learning the ropes.  Unfortunately I don't have a lumber yard nearby that sells good lumber.  I have to rely on big box store stuff for now until I find a place.  I just created a MFT top so was thinking of a hybrid bench that I've seen.  People make the bench bases out of 4x4 and 2x lumber with a MFT top and cabinet of drawers under.  Maybe I'll try the approach of 3/4" plywood cabinet on wheels as a base for now.

Thanks again
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Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 3482
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2017, 01:08 PM »
If this were my project I wouldn't bother...Simpson Strong Ties make galvanized brackets that are specifically designed to connect 2x material to each other for benches etc. Just cut the lumber to length, add the brackets and screw them together. I made the bench below over 25 years ago and it works well. It probably weighs over 800# with everything I have on it. The 2 vises alone are over 160# while the maple top is 100#.

If I were to make a new one today, I'd use 4x4's for the legs rather than 2x4's.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 01:21 PM by Cheese »

Offline live4ever

  • Posts: 529
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2017, 01:19 PM »
I have to agree with live4ever, it does seem like you're aspiring to build a furniture grade workbench with construction grade lumber.  That's an exercise in frustration, because the lumber is not straight and will be riddled with knots and cracks.  It can be used for building out a frame to hold a top and some storage shelving underneath.  If you want to add doors and drawers, I would start with materials that are straight and square and only plan to cut to size and join.  That will cost more and you're limited to 3/4" thick materials in the big box stores. 

Thanks for all the advice.  Like I said, I'm new to this so learning the ropes.  Unfortunately I don't have a lumber yard nearby that sells good lumber.  I have to rely on big box store stuff for now until I find a place.  I just created a MFT top so was thinking of a hybrid bench that I've seen.  People make the bench bases out of 4x4 and 2x lumber with a MFT top and cabinet of drawers under.  Maybe I'll try the approach of 3/4" plywood cabinet on wheels as a base for now.

Thanks again

Nothing wrong with what you're thinking.  Just that you may be overthinking what you really need to do to the 2x4s to accomplish what you need.  Buy straight lumber, glue and screw and bolt it together (lots of plans available for 2x4 bases...I'll see if I can dig up the one I used many years ago).  You can build a cabinet with drawers or doors or both for the space under the top.

You can also take the cabinet on wheels approach.  The truth is you don't need a super robust and solid bench unless you start doing a lot of handtool work. 

"What you have to do tomorrow, do today.  What you have to do today, do now."  - a wise grandfather who was clearly talking about purchasing Festools

Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 715
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2017, 01:35 PM »
@DIY WoodWerx here's some info and plans from the experimental aircraft association for a nice simple and sturdy worktable made from big box available materials.

http://www.eaa1000.av.org/technicl/worktabl/worktabl.htm

http://www.eaa1000.av.org/technicl/worktabl/tablefig.htm

Ron

Offline DIY WoodWerx

  • Posts: 57
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2017, 01:36 PM »
@DIY WoodWerx here's some info and plans from the experimental aircraft association for a nice simple and sturdy worktable made from big box available materials.

http://www.eaa1000.av.org/technicl/worktabl/worktabl.htm

http://www.eaa1000.av.org/technicl/worktabl/tablefig.htm

Ron

Thanks, I'll take a look.
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Online Cochese

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Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2017, 03:03 PM »
I have to agree with live4ever, it does seem like you're aspiring to build a furniture grade workbench with construction grade lumber.  That's an exercise in frustration, because the lumber is not straight and will be riddled with knots and cracks.  It can be used for building out a frame to hold a top and some storage shelving underneath.  If you want to add doors and drawers, I would start with materials that are straight and square and only plan to cut to size and join.  That will cost more and you're limited to 3/4" thick materials in the big box stores.

It can be done, just probably not with the tools and experience this person has.



OP, if you're looking for just a work bench, anything will do.

If you're looking for a workbench, then you'll need to assess what you're looking to accomplish. Power tool work, hand tool work, a combination, etc.

I still greatly enjoy my Schwarz Holtzapffel, but I had a jointer, planer, #7 plane and a few more things to get me to completion.

Offline QuailRider43

  • Posts: 81
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2017, 10:31 PM »
For what I do at least, I've found these type of work benches to be a waste of time and materials (i.e. laminated thick solid wood tops hand planed to perfection).  They're more of an art project for hand tool wielding exotic wood lovers than a necessity for getting things done in the shop.  I'll take an MFT table with a couple of height adjustable workmate style extension tables any day.  Throw a 3/4" sheet of plywood under the MFT, and you have yourself a shelf for compressor, systainers etc.  No need to get fancy - it's just a workbench after all.  As long as it has precision located dog holes and good clamping surfaces, you're good to go.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 11:39 AM by QuailRider43 »

Offline Corwin

  • Posts: 2403
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2017, 12:14 AM »
Here's an example of another option for someone just starting out:

Rock-Solid Plywood Bench - Fine Woodworking

And, since you already own a track saw, you'll just need a bunch of clamps.   [blink]
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 11:00 PM by Corwin »
Looks like your rabbit joint is a hare off! ;)

Offline Nat X

  • Posts: 231
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2017, 11:09 PM »
The wood at Home Depot will literally squirt water when cut so sanding it is completely pointless.

Online jobsworth

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Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2017, 02:23 PM »
go to a reputable luimber yard , join the timber together using the domino and Tite bond or Roo glue (not gorilla glue but actual Roo glue)

once assembled find yer self a cabinet shop/ woodworking shop/ woodworking college instructor/ high school woodshed instructor and see if they have a wide belt sander, some cabinet shops will rent their wide belt sanders out, , run it though the wide belt sander and you should be good to go
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Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 634
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2017, 07:36 AM »
One way to flatten a large bench top would be to use a router in a sled running on two rails.
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline J0hn

  • Posts: 79
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2017, 12:41 PM »
@DIY WoodWerx here's some info and plans from the experimental aircraft association for a nice simple and sturdy worktable made from big box available materials.

http://www.eaa1000.av.org/technicl/worktabl/worktabl.htm

http://www.eaa1000.av.org/technicl/worktabl/tablefig.htm

Ron

I'll second the EAA Work Table.  It's a classic that has stood the test of time.  Simple to make with decent 2 x 4's and 3/4" mdf for the top and shelf.  I have made several and as I recall, you can make two of them for about $125.  They are very sturdy and can be adapted for a lot of things

Here is the basic frame assembled for one of them with the parts for a second cut out
269059-0


I used my 'MFT Template" to the top and even added my router lift with dust collection because it seems my main router table is always in use or covered up with something
269061-1

269063-2


Offline #Tee

  • Posts: 773
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2017, 01:50 PM »
not sure how smooth you want it to be after all its a work bench as like a cutting board its a work surface ready to get pounded on. i would rather throw on a .5in sheet of mdf as the work surface and use your 2x4 as a base.
When youre feeling depressed just treat yourself to a systainer even if its a mini systainer its ok.

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Offline mkasdin

  • Posts: 118
Re: Sanding construction grade 2x4 lumber question
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2017, 10:44 PM »
There was a YouTube video of a Brit making a woodworking bench using a hand planer. He was working outside and used winding sticks. Dimensionally 2x6 are thicker than they are in the USA. From what I remember he glued everything together first with clamps then he did the final leveling. This post is vastly simplified. The bloaks name is Peter Sellers. You will find your answer there. I believe it's three parts.