LumberJocks

work bench in magazine

  • Advertise with us

« back to Coffee Lounge forum

Forum topic by MarkN posted 03-26-2008 02:44 PM 1508 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MarkN's profile

MarkN

28 posts in 3799 days


03-26-2008 02:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I was looking through my recent copie of pop wood and there is a article on leveling your workbench top. i noticed that the bench they are demoing that it looks like the bench is made completely out of pine and the top is from 2×4 glued together. i throught that you should only use hardwood for the top. maybe i am seeing it wrong. anyone else see this?

-- Mark from Deer Park, Texas


17 replies so far

View Recycler's profile

Recycler

40 posts in 3844 days


#1 posted 03-26-2008 03:00 PM

Yellow pine makes a pretty good bench top. It’s heavy, strong, and about as hard as most hardwoods.

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

5321 posts in 3962 days


#2 posted 03-26-2008 03:11 PM

Not everyone can afford a hardwood top. It also depends on what you really need. Some people use solid core doors or even MDF with hardboard on top. More important is what you make on top of the bench.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View ChasHutch's profile

ChasHutch

56 posts in 3795 days


#3 posted 03-26-2008 03:42 PM

I need a solid workbench for my shop. After checking prices and researching designs, I decided to cut and surface 3 sides of 24 of my straightest 2×4x8 yellow pine boards. I cut the boards to 55” (I want the bench top to be 52” by 30-32” overall). I have about 8 of the pairs glued together. After I have glued all 12 pairs, I will begin gluing the pairs together, then the quads to each other, then hopefully I will end up with a 30-32” wide top (after planing and sanding).

I was glad to see this post… I was concerned that it may not hold up.

Any thoughts around finishing a workbench top? Does it get varnish (will varnish, stain or oil transfer to any workpieces that I may work on?).

-- Hutch - North Dallas, Tx - Safety First

View MarkN's profile

MarkN

28 posts in 3799 days


#4 posted 03-26-2008 03:48 PM

thanks for the replies, my bench right now is plywood sourounded by 4×4 and it works for me right now. i want to make a better top for it, more stable and level and wanted to make it out of pine. i just wasnt sure about it but cost is a big factor for me.

-- Mark from Deer Park, Texas

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

5321 posts in 3962 days


#5 posted 03-26-2008 03:58 PM

Here is an inexpensive ‘New Fangled” workbench that has been getting a lot of good reviews:
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/2653
or
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/3528

Here is a more traditional one out of fir:
http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/Koonan/blog/3247

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View DannyBoy's profile

DannyBoy

521 posts in 3945 days


#6 posted 03-26-2008 04:09 PM

That is what my workbench is made of. Pretty darn stout too.

-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 4068 days


#7 posted 03-26-2008 04:19 PM

I made the top of mine out of an old maple bowling alley lane. The base was made from yellow pine.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View ChasHutch's profile

ChasHutch

56 posts in 3795 days


#8 posted 03-26-2008 04:24 PM

The bowling alley wood is a great idea. If it can take 16lb bowling balls being hurled at it from 3-4 feet, it likely will stand up to anything.

-- Hutch - North Dallas, Tx - Safety First

View Tony Z's profile

Tony Z

205 posts in 3870 days


#9 posted 03-26-2008 06:22 PM

I just got done reading Chris Schwarz’s book Workbenches. He recommends using Southern Yellow Pine for workbenches because it’s readily available and cheap. It is also a very stiff wood. It has a stiffness E-factor of 1.93, Actually stiffer than Oaks and Maples. He also recommends getting wide 2×12” stock and ripping it down. This way you’ll get fewer knots and a much more stable bench. The 2×4’s at Home Depot are total crap. He also states he gets all his 2×12” material from Home Depot and his benches are top notch. Everyone should read this book if you are going to build a workbench.

-- Tony, Ohio

View DannyBoy's profile

DannyBoy

521 posts in 3945 days


#10 posted 03-26-2008 07:25 PM

Chris Scwarz's book. I read through part of it at B&N the other day. Very good.

I would also recommend Lon Schleining’s book The Workbench: A Complete Guide to Creating Your Perfect Bench. I checked it out from my local library while I was building my bench. Came up with some better ideas on how I wanted mine done.

-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/

View ShannonRogers's profile

ShannonRogers

540 posts in 3868 days


#11 posted 03-27-2008 03:55 AM

I heartily second the Chris Schwarz Worbench recommendation. I am about to start building my Roubo bench and I am letting the lumber acclimate know. I actually em’d Chris because I couldn’t find any SYP in the mid atlantic or Doug Fir for that matter, and he told me that whatever my Home Depot has is sufficient. I am using plain old HemFir. The mass of the benches discussed in his book really cancels out any concerns over wood stiffness and dent resistance. Check out Chris’s personal blog Lost Art Press and his entry for Nov 2007 and you will find a great article on which wood to choose.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at www.renaissancewoodworker.com

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 3954 days


#12 posted 03-27-2008 10:22 AM

I just wish I had room for a good sturdy bench.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4042 days


#13 posted 03-27-2008 01:22 PM

My bench tops are particle board with a top of plywood. Two are 17 years old and the other is the one in my projects. Cheap, dense and flat.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View DannyBoy's profile

DannyBoy

521 posts in 3945 days


#14 posted 03-27-2008 03:17 PM

“Cheap, dense, and flat…” My kind of gal.

-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/

View johnjoiner's profile

johnjoiner

160 posts in 3973 days


#15 posted 03-28-2008 08:03 PM

I’ve also read Schwarz’s book, and loved it. And now all the deficiencies of the bench I built years ago are glaring at me.

I think part of his deal with using some of the denser soft-woods like Southern Yellow Pine or Doug Fir for the top is that they are hard and stiff enough, and usually a lot cheaper than a rock maple top. Also note that, iirc, his plans call for the top being three or four inches thick. This gives the bench plenty of mass to stay put so you can hand-plane on it. And the thickness lets you plane it down to a fresh surface many times if you wish.

His approach is to view the bench is a giant work-holding device. So it needs to be pretty stable and flat, heavy enough to stay put, and stiff. Dent resistance is not as important.

If you want to read a lot about this online, here’s a link to Schwarz’s blog entries that he tagged with workbenches. A lot of the content from his book was posted to that blog in various entries.

After reading his book, I was just left with the question, “Roubo? or Holtzapffel? Holtzapffel or Roubo?

-- johnjoiner

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com