roubo benchtop wood size question

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Forum topic by charliej63 posted 01-09-2017 04:43 AM 558 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 714 days

01-09-2017 04:43 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am planning to make a roubo workbench with home depot wood ,and was wondering which which would be best choice for the slab 2×6 or 4×6 laminated

5 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


10767 posts in 1692 days

#1 posted 01-09-2017 05:12 AM

Not 4X4

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

View JayGunn's profile


5 posts in 1204 days

#2 posted 01-09-2017 10:42 AM

I suggest you buy yellow pine 2×8s, acclimate them for at least a month, rip them into 2 pcs about 1 1/2×3 1/8, plane them down to about 1 1/4” thick (do you have a friend with a shop?) then glue the 3”+ surfaces together to make a top approaching 3” thick after leveling.

Since yellow pine moves a fair amount with humidity changes it might be best to do a split top bench. Say 2 top panels each about 12” wide and whatever length you need (in my case 7’). Attach them to a base leaving about 1 3/4” gap between the panels for a net depth of just under 27”, or whatever measurements work for your space and your projects.

What I did that worked really well was to put breadboard ends on the top. The breadboard end is glued at the extreme front of the front panel and the extreme rear of the rear panel. As the tops expand and contract, they can increase and reduce the 1 3/4” gap between front and rear panel. Nothing is stressed this way.

Maybe you didn’t want a full workbench discourse. But the split 2×8 approach worked really well for me—not much waste, very good strength, no cracks after several years. Hope you find a satisfactory design for your needs.

BTW I second the suggestion not to use 4×4 / 4×6, since some of the framing lumber species (including spruce and yellow pine—our only choices in NC) tend to twist when they expand and contract, so thinner laminations are better. Also 4×4 board 99% of the time have the heart in the middle of the board and they tend to check quite severely. Whereas when you split a 2×8 you’ll cut the piece into two pieces that do not have wood from both sides of the heart, and they’ll be MUCH more stable.

Good luck!

View rwe2156's profile


3174 posts in 1686 days

#3 posted 01-09-2017 03:25 PM

With construction lumber especially you have to stack and sticker (preferably in a heated area) for at least 1-2 months before using. Even a cheap moisture meter will put you in ballpark (no more than 12% MC).

I would recommend 2×12’s. First joint an edge and rip 2 / 4 1/2 ” wide boards, leaving the pith (center). You will have quartersawn (or nearly so) lumber which is more stable. You are shooting for a 4” thick top (which is plenty, btw).

Don’t be surprised if some of the boards twist or bow a lot after ripping, so I would by at least 20% more than you need. Mild bowing or twisting can be clamped out during glue up.

Movement will be across the width of the board, not the thickness, so you shouldn’t have any problems with a laminated benchtop.

When you do your glue up, be sure the grain direction is running the same in all the boards. This will make planing your top much more enjoyable.

Make some winding sticks and invest in a #7 or 8 jointer plane to get that top flat.

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

View charliej63's profile


3 posts in 714 days

#4 posted 01-09-2017 09:50 PM

thanks for the advice 2x it is .will have to wait till summer so wood will dry better.dont have heated shop
2×12s ripped sounds like good idea would 2×10 work so there is not so much waste.i was planning on 20”x4-6’ top due to shop size .will make winding sticks. looks like ill add a #8 plane to the list i had planed starting with a #4

View TheFridge's profile


10767 posts in 1692 days

#5 posted 01-10-2017 06:07 AM

Winter or summer. It will still acclimate.

I think the reason for 2×12 is so you can cut out the pith and still have a useable thickness?

Or something like that. I heard the reason at one time or another but can’t remember.

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

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