Workbench lumber - Box store ....which good cheap wood?

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Forum topic by monster1971 posted 10-29-2015 08:19 PM 1233 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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45 posts in 995 days

10-29-2015 08:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench wood workbench lumber

I have been all over the Work Bench Smack down post….its very large, somewhere around 16k replies. My questions are specific and the focus is on not spending a lot of money on the build.

What I know:

1. Make sure its dry…get kilned dried if possible.
2. yellow pine or douglas fur is cheap and will make a mighty fine workbench

My questions:

1. I have seen Douglas Fur at the big box stores around here but not yellow pine. Does it go under a different name?

2. In choosing this wood from these stores do you have any advice?

Thanks in advance.

11 replies so far

View theoldfart's profile


9701 posts in 2450 days

#1 posted 10-29-2015 08:35 PM

Doug fir can be found in most of the BORG type outlets but the other grade found here in the northeast is called White Wood or HemFir. Also somewhat suitable though it is a a bit soft.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2632 days

#2 posted 10-29-2015 08:53 PM

It seems to be regional. I live in Northern Virginia and most of the local big box stores stock Douglas Fir. You can find SYP at a few independent lumber yards, but they tend to only carry larger demensions (ie2×12x12) and its pretty expensive…..almost hardwood expensive.
However, if I travel 50 miles south to Richmond, SYP seems to be in stock at many big box stores and Douglas Fir is no where to be found. (thats how it was last time I checked anyway).

I would say SYP and DF are basically neck and neck in pretty much every category. I happen to like the look of tight grained DF a little bit better than SYP. Thus, when I glue up a new workbench top next month, I’ll probably use 15-20 Douglas Fir 2×4’s.

View Combo Prof's profile

Combo Prof

3507 posts in 1277 days

#3 posted 10-29-2015 08:57 PM

You can compare Douglas Fir to SYP (southern yellow pine) here

Douglas fir will work just fine. I was going to use it until I found a cheap source of Ash.
My bench is mostly air-dried.

-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan .. Soon Holland, Michigan)

View SignWave's profile


440 posts in 3034 days

#4 posted 10-29-2015 10:32 PM

My local home centers have SYP and D. Fir in 2×4’s but usually either one or the other (lately, Fir) in the larger sizes. Either species will work fine for a workbench. I’d choose based on larger pieces, with as few knots as possible and avoiding the pith altogether. Last time I looked, there was a sweet spot for price/bd ft with 2×10s being the best value. If that changes, I’ll buy something different next time.

-- Barry,

View bearkatwood's profile


1572 posts in 1011 days

#5 posted 10-29-2015 10:40 PM

If you can read this it will answer some of your question.

-- Brian Noel

View rwe2156's profile


2926 posts in 1480 days

#6 posted 10-29-2015 11:31 PM

Either one will work.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2797 days

#7 posted 10-30-2015 12:06 AM

Or you can go with 400 lbs of plywood.
Not a joke, it makes a great bench and the material is readily available and not expensive.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2689 days

#8 posted 10-30-2015 12:52 AM

That “kiln dried” lumber from the box stores is NOT very dry so expect some warping, cupping, etc.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View widdle's profile


2069 posts in 2998 days

#9 posted 10-30-2015 01:13 AM

Cheap can end up being expensive sometimes, consider a lumber yard and get what you want and need….Dont know where your from..But You can find killer vertical grain fir if you run across any older homes getting demoed..

View HokieKen's profile


5012 posts in 1138 days

#10 posted 10-30-2015 08:21 PM

There’s plenty of available SYP in my neck of the woods. I’ve never seen it sold under a different name either. One note though, it’s not in with the dimensional lumber at the big box stores around here, it’s with the appearance boards.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View BikerDad's profile


347 posts in 3600 days

#11 posted 10-30-2015 10:21 PM

Availability of SYP at the big box stores is definitely a regional thing. I’ve NEVER seen it in any big box this side of the Rockies. Douglas Fir, on the other hand, is everywhere.

-- I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park! Grace & Peace.

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