Maple vs. Ash for workbench leg vise

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Forum topic by Brett posted 746 days ago 1429 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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615 posts in 1188 days

746 days ago

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


1249 posts in 1314 days

#1 posted 746 days ago

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

3196 posts in 2465 days

#2 posted 746 days ago

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


View WDHLT15's profile


985 posts in 981 days

#3 posted 746 days ago

Go for it.

-- Danny, Located in Perry, GA, Forester, Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

353 posts in 1503 days

#4 posted 746 days ago


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


615 posts in 1188 days

#5 posted 743 days ago


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


6774 posts in 2153 days

#6 posted 743 days ago

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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