New Bench #3: The Plan 1.3

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Blog entry by Rhoots posted 02-02-2015 05:45 PM 964 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The Plan 1.2 Part 3 of New Bench series Part 4: Mortise & Tenon Layout »

I know it’s late, but I finally started this thing. It’s grown to 9 feet long instead of 7 so I can plane an 8 foot long piece of moulding all at once. I actually got started and cut some wood. I’ll be posting pictures soon.

The question still remains if I should use Ash or Douglas Fir for the top?

Updated design here.

6 comments so far

View TheFridge's profile


5682 posts in 910 days

#1 posted 02-02-2015 05:53 PM

I’d vote for hardwood if you can afford it.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View handsawgeek's profile


591 posts in 819 days

#2 posted 02-02-2015 06:28 PM

Second on the hardwood, but if it is too pricy, Doug fir would work just fine. Look forward to following your progress on this.

-- Ed

View NinjaAssassin's profile


629 posts in 1148 days

#3 posted 02-02-2015 06:32 PM

Hardwood (depending on species) could look very pretty. On the other hand, if it’s harder than the project you’re working on, you could mar your project before you mar the bench top. For practical reasons, I’m partial to a softwood for the bench top. I’d hate to drop my walnut project boards on my white oak top and damage the project boards.

Ultimately it’s personal preference :)

-- - Billy

View Rhoots's profile


11 posts in 722 days

#4 posted 02-02-2015 07:41 PM

Interesting argument for softwood top. Worth considering


View NinjaAssassin's profile


629 posts in 1148 days

#5 posted 02-02-2015 08:08 PM

For what it’s worth, a great number of people build their benchtops with hardwoods and have for centuries without incident. It’s something to think about but I’m not sure it’s something to worry too much about.

My sincere opinion on the matter is use what’s available and get to making stuff. If you want to make a bench from hardwoods, go for it. There’s a good chance it’ll look really pretty while still serving the purpose. You’ll probably want to be careful with your project lumber, not to bang it into your bench (or anything else) but that’s good advice even if your bench is made of white pine and you’re working with ipe.

I tend to be a little clumsy at times and I intend to allow my children to work on projects with me so softwood has a little more value for me. I also fell into a really sweet deal on some pine beams so that kind of made my decision for me :)

-- - Billy

View bigJohninvegas's profile


185 posts in 886 days

#6 posted 02-03-2015 04:00 AM

I was on my way to building a hardwood bench till I started reading. To many books and articles to quote them all, but one of the Chris Schwarz books I read detailed the strength properties of different wood species, both hard and soft. Whats the common wood in your area. For my area, Southwest USA, its fir. Others it may be southern yellow pine. To cite the book, 2X12 give you good straight boards, never use a 2X4. So far I have a drawing, French Rubio style, and a basic cut list. Home Depot fir 2X12 will cost me about $1.05 a bdf. Compared to $3.80 bdf, for Beech and $4.80 for hard maple. I am surprised to see how strong Fir, and yellow pine are. I really wanted the Hard Maple bench, but after costing out the material, its just not in my budget. I have a plywood bench at the moment. Cover it with cardboard when doing glue ups, and finish work, and it still has stain spots all over it. Now spill some stain on that new maple bench. lol.

-- John

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