Wood Selection for First Workbench

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Forum topic by Tommyinnorthfl posted 09-20-2011 07:17 PM 1398 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tommyinnorthfl's profile


5 posts in 2646 days

09-20-2011 07:17 PM

This is my first post show forgive me if I do something wrong. I have been thinking sometime on building me a workbench. After pricing materials @ HD & Lowes #2 yellow pine I can buy rough cut oak at a local saw mill for about the same thing. I know the oak will not be real dry but it is just a workbench that will take some abuse in its normal lifetime. What would be some thought’s from other wood workers that has built their own workbench?

5 replies so far

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 3086 days

#1 posted 09-20-2011 07:51 PM

If you can joint and plane the oak yourself I would go with the oak. However either wood will work fine for a work bench.

I built a small workbench all out of construction grade 2×4s yellow pine and the bench is just as solid as my main bench which is all solid hardwood. However IMO the common grade pine is a mess to work with and I would much rather work with oak then pine.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View knotscott's profile


8154 posts in 3581 days

#2 posted 09-20-2011 07:59 PM

The oak is much harder and would hold up better. As Dan mentioned, oak is also much nicer to work. Ash, maple, and hickory are just a few other possible choices. You could always choose a less expensive wood(like pine) for the base, then use a hardwood for the top.

You can also build the top using a renewable piece of hardboard….flip it when the top wears, then replace it with a new piece after that. Make the substraight from MDF, ply, or whatever you have available. It’ll never be as attractive as a hardwood top IMHO, but it’s a functional option.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View WDHLT15's profile


1793 posts in 2682 days

#3 posted 09-21-2011 03:37 AM

My work bench is red oak, and I love it. I am going to be cutting a bunch of drought killed red oak that I could cut thick for work bench tops.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2896 days

#4 posted 09-21-2011 03:56 AM

Make sure that sawmill oak has been dried. If not, it will warp,twist,curl like you won’t believe.

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

View Matt's profile


40 posts in 2828 days

#5 posted 09-22-2011 01:06 AM

I have been looking at this also. White Ash and White Oak are very similar in hardness. Ash in my area is very cheap because of all the trees coming down due to the Emerald Ash Borer. For that reason I am going with Ash for the base and possibly Hard Maple for the top.
The plan I am using is the Hybrid Roubo from FineWoodworking.
Good Luck with your selection.

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