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Which wood to use?

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Forum topic by b2rtch posted 05-18-2010 02:25 AM 1221 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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b2rtch

4822 posts in 2508 days


05-18-2010 02:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question pine

I am building an inexpensive woodworking bench following s a Chris Schwartz’s design.
In his design Chris uses southern yellow pines for the top.
I called every single lumber yard in Salt Lake City today, not one carries this species.
What would be a good substitute?
Thank you.
Bert

-- Bert


14 replies so far

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4541 posts in 2534 days


#1 posted 05-18-2010 03:28 AM

Douglas Fir

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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a1Jim

115201 posts in 3037 days


#2 posted 05-18-2010 03:30 AM

Doug fir would work or if you want a really tough bench how about Ipe.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3197 days


#3 posted 05-18-2010 03:40 AM

Red Beech is a normal and inexpensive wood for benches. It is very durable and easy to work.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

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b2rtch

4822 posts in 2508 days


#4 posted 05-18-2010 03:44 AM

Thank you for your answers.

-- Bert

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uffitze

199 posts in 2415 days


#5 posted 05-18-2010 08:25 AM

The key wood characteristic that you want with a workbench is cheap. Schwarz used SYP because it’s cheap and he could pick it up at his local (orange?) box store. The secondary characteristic that you may want is dense wood to hold up to some serious hand tool work.

You aren’t going to find SYP in Utah, but, doug fir will work fine, and can be picked up at your local big box store. Alternatively, look for a small sawyer, and see if you can pick up some ash or oak or maple or something fairly cheap.

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b2rtch

4822 posts in 2508 days


#6 posted 05-18-2010 11:59 AM

Again, thank you all for your help
I shall go with Douglas fir.
I bought some to build the base ( 2×10x8), this thing cracked and twisted so bad just in one night.
Chris in his book recommenced to let the wood dry on edge ( so that it will dry on both sides at the same rate) for several days before uing it but I am concerned that if I buy the wood and let it dry then most of it will be just about unusable but if I do no let it dry first then I shall have troubles after assembly.
“You aren’t going to find SYP in Utah” do you know why?
Thank you.
Bert

-- Bert

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GMman

3902 posts in 3157 days


#7 posted 05-18-2010 01:43 PM

Bert make sure you don’t dry it in sunlight try a covered place with the air flowing through and with space on each side and over and under.

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rance

4245 posts in 2620 days


#8 posted 05-18-2010 01:46 PM

Bert,

I was going to suggest you go back and re-read Shwarz’s book and then I read uffitze’s post. He hit the nail on the head. USE WHAT YOU HAVE AVAILABLE.

I’ll go one step further than Shwarz, and I’m sure most here will disagree. Build your workbench to WORK on, then build a dead-flat ASSEMBLY bench to assemble on. I suggest your workbench be mostly flat. At least flat enough to do what you need to do with it. But when it comes to absolutely needing a flat place to assemble & glue up your project, use an assembly bench (a torsion box). Yeah, you can bang on it a little, but not like you could a workbench.

I hear of Shwarz & others having to re-flatten their bench once or twice a year, in my opinion, that is rediculous, but then I’m not a hand-plane guy either. A solid block of wood like that is just going to move, so let it. I don’t mind drilling into a workbench(oh, I can hear the cries from some of you now) from time to time (within reason). For crying out loud, it is a CONSUMABLE TOOL in your shop. USE IT UP if you have to. Add a replacable top if it bothers you that much. I’ve seen folks build a bench using Purpleheart. That in itself would limit my ability to use it to it’s full potential.

Go forth and build yourself a WORKbench, then use it up and then build another one.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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b2rtch

4822 posts in 2508 days


#9 posted 05-18-2010 02:09 PM

Thank you all for your advice.
Rance,The reason to plane the workbench on a regular basis is to have a perfectly flat surface to plane on so that what you plane will be flat. If the surface under the piece you plane is not flat then what ever you plane will flex under the pressure and it will not be flat.
I like the idea to have a replaceable surface (MDF) on the top of my bench but then I cannot enjoy the ‘look ” of the wood.
I am thinking about building another assembly table later on.

-- Bert

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GMman

3902 posts in 3157 days


#10 posted 05-18-2010 03:04 PM

Bert have a look at LJ superdave0002 work bench.

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rance

4245 posts in 2620 days


#11 posted 05-18-2010 03:06 PM

Bert, I humbly (and maybe ignorantly) disagree. Although I don’t do much planing, I have barely done some. Recall that I did say ‘flat enough’. :) Who’s to say you couldn’t plane on your dead-flat assembly table? Back to your workbench. When you grip a board to plane, you grip it on the edges, you aren’t clamping it against the table. And if you are planing it down to 3/4”(the most common), then how much can it actually flex? Even if it is severely twisted, then it is still supported at 3 points. I’m not talking about having a rough-sawn wompy-jawed top, I’m just saying build it flat, and then don’t worry about the little changes. If it is changing THAT much, then you’ve got bigger problems. If you are really concerned about an uneven board flexing, then put a shim under one corner while planing. Maybe this is exposing my ignorance about ‘real’ planing. Most of my planing is for getting a board (that is too wide for the jointer) flat enough to run through the planer.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3197 days


#12 posted 05-18-2010 04:53 PM

If you want a surface that will remain flat for hand planing I suggest you build a torsion box top. It will stay flat and you will not need to keep truing it all the time. The point is to have a flat surface. A torsion box will achieve what you are looking for. You can put sacrificial MDF or Melamine on top if need be. I use melamine when doing glue ups in order to be able to clean quickly.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

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uffitze

199 posts in 2415 days


#13 posted 05-18-2010 06:18 PM

It’s an aside to the primary discussion, but the reason why you won’t find SYP in Utah is because the stuff grows in the south, and it is used primarily as framing lumber. In the west, we use doug fir for framing lumber. (It’s what is local, and there is no point in shipping that kind of wood across the country.)

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b2rtch

4822 posts in 2508 days


#14 posted 05-18-2010 07:38 PM

Thank you uffitze ( which kind of name is that?)

-- Bert

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