Douglas Fir Bench Top

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Forum topic by Brohymn62 posted 04-12-2012 05:34 PM 2079 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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125 posts in 2249 days

04-12-2012 05:34 PM


I am in the process of planning a work bench build. It’s going to be made of reclaimed douglas fir, the timbers I have are 4” x 12” x 20’.... what would be the optimal size to mill that down to for the top glue up? I’ve been doing some digging online and found several good looking tops made of 3 1/2” x 3 1/2” pieces glues up to final dimensions of the top. The top will probably be 30” wide x 60” long.

-- Chris G. ; Los Angeles, CA

4 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


4717 posts in 2345 days

#1 posted 04-12-2012 06:32 PM

I’d just glue 2 pieces together for a 24” x 4” top.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View jmos's profile


827 posts in 2363 days

#2 posted 04-12-2012 06:47 PM

3.5” to 4” range for thickness in a soft wood top is great. For width, bigger is better. The fewer pieces you laminate the less gluing up, alignment, and flattening you have to do. If I could have gotten a single slab for my top I’d have grabbed it.

If the 12” spans don’t include the pith (center of the tree, which makes them much less stable) and you can manage them (can get tricky maneuvering a heavy slab across a jointer or through a planer), I’d use two pieces. If you really want 30” (nothing wrong with that) than use three 10” wide. If you’re worried about movement, you can cut them down further and alternate growth ring direction, but I’d keep them as wide as you can manage.

-- John

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10373 posts in 3642 days

#3 posted 04-12-2012 07:10 PM

If ripped and glued so the top face of the bench is in effect
quarter-sawn there would be some advantage in stability
across the bench. The wood will move more evenly
and you may avoid the seasonal bulges and valleys that
can occur with flatsawn slabs.

View DrewM's profile


176 posts in 2993 days

#4 posted 04-13-2012 02:30 AM

I used 14 doug fir 2×4s for my workbench top, so far it has been working great for me.

-- Drew, Delaware

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