Maple vs. Ash for workbench leg vise

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Forum topic by Brett posted 04-06-2012 06:58 PM 2038 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brett's profile


657 posts in 1771 days

04-06-2012 06:58 PM

I’m still at the beginner stage of woodworking, so when I build something from plans, I’m reluctant to deviate too much.

I need to buy some lumber for the leg vise and other parts of a Roubo workbench. The instructions say to use ash, but my local lumberyard does not carry ash thicker than 4/4. They do have 10/4 maple that is about 9 inches wide, which the size I need.

Is there any reason why I could not substitute maple for ash for the leg vise? Are there benefits to using ash for a leg vise or other parts of a workbench?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

6 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1402 posts in 1897 days

#1 posted 04-06-2012 08:07 PM

Were it me I would prefer maple. I certainly cant come up with any reasons to specify ash in a design for a leg vise.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4021 posts in 3048 days

#2 posted 04-06-2012 08:12 PM

Maple will work just fine. Ash, oak, hickory… what? I have oak on my bench. Hasn’t fellen down yet.


View WDHLT15's profile


1416 posts in 1564 days

#3 posted 04-07-2012 01:07 AM

Go for it.

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

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

529 posts in 2086 days

#4 posted 04-07-2012 01:54 AM


If for some reason you want all the wood to match (i.e. all oak, all maple, all ash), why not just laminate two or more pieces of 4/4 material to make your chop? That is what I did for my chop, and so far it works well.


View Brett's profile


657 posts in 1771 days

#5 posted 04-09-2012 06:20 PM


My top is going to be southern yellow pine (per Chris Schwarz’s directions), so nothing but pine would match any way. :)

I know that maple is used for benches, I just didn’t know whether ash had some benefit for leg vises over maple.


-- More tools, fewer machines.

View Loren's profile


7967 posts in 2736 days

#6 posted 04-09-2012 07:12 PM

I would use the ash. Ash is very tough and springy. Maple
is hard and brittle. Ash is generally cheaper than maple as
well. Hickory, oak and elm have similar characteristics to ash.

I suggest ripping the flatsawn ash and laminating up a jaw.


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