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Workbench question- Is Poplar a good choice?

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Forum topic by Chelios posted 01-30-2011 05:43 PM 2256 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Chelios

567 posts in 1813 days


01-30-2011 05:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Quick question- Is 12/4 poplar a good choice for the trestle base of a workbench? The top is going to be hard maple and probably weigh more than 200 lb.

thanks


8 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

7822 posts in 2395 days


#1 posted 01-30-2011 09:24 PM

Yes. It’s fine. Spacing of the ends of the trestles is more important
to bench stability than the weight of them. In a very light bench
this might not be true. The wider the stance of the bench, the more
stable it will be under when you work with hand planes. Your top is
plenty heavy enough that the bench should never lift up if the legs are
near the ends.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

6046 posts in 2175 days


#2 posted 01-30-2011 09:30 PM

Just out of curiosity, what are the dimensions of your top?

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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reggiek

2240 posts in 2017 days


#3 posted 01-30-2011 09:42 PM

Poplar has the density of approximately 23 lb/ft. To compare with others like pine at 22 and Walnut at around 40. That considered…I would say that it would not be the best pick.

Poplar does have a much closer grain then pine though and the wood fibers are more robust along the grain and across it (laterally). The density numbers are much more important if your stresses are lateral rather then vertical. With vertical stresses on what you have indicated….I don’t think you will have a problem with the legs holding and for stability – just be careful to make sure you don’t make your stretchers too long or too thin.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Chelios's profile

Chelios

567 posts in 1813 days


#4 posted 01-31-2011 03:41 AM

Thanks for pointers and good information. The top will 3’ wide x 7’ long x 3” thick

View crank49's profile

crank49

3511 posts in 1718 days


#5 posted 01-31-2011 08:34 AM

That sounds like a very wide top. But, I don’t know what you will be using it for; may be needed for some types of assembly work. I built my bench 25” wide for using hand tools, and would not want it any wider at all.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

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roninkokomo

14 posts in 1419 days


#6 posted 01-31-2011 08:52 PM

Depends on what kind of work you do…......but for most woodworking the 12/4 poplar should be fine for that application.

roninkokomo

-- roninkokomo

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

617 posts in 2014 days


#7 posted 01-31-2011 09:51 PM

i used doubled up pine 2×4s for my bench legs and they are fine im sure poplar would be fine as well

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4525 posts in 1821 days


#8 posted 02-01-2011 02:22 AM

I don’t think it matters very much what you use for a workbench frame. The key is to engineer it so it is sturdy and stable. You don’t want it to flex at all. The more important issue is the top and maple is good. Personally, I prefer at least one layer of MDF. It is so heavy and flat! Then I would put the maple on top of the MDF.

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

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