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Forum topic by Steven Gaffin posted 07-24-2012 03:16 PM 1174 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Steven Gaffin

31 posts in 951 days


07-24-2012 03:16 PM

Recently, I and a group of people were offered all the 70 year old oak we could carry if we took down this two story barn. The barn is made of oak with 2×6, 2×4 and there was some decent 4×4s stored in there as well. I am considering making my top out of either the 2×6 or the 4×4. It seems that a lot of people use softer woods for workbench tops but I wanted to know if anyone used hardwoods and what they think about it.


9 replies so far

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4144 posts in 1647 days


#1 posted 07-24-2012 03:23 PM

People use both. A number of people on here have hardwood tops (including myself) and if it’s free, I’d certainly consider using it. Just mill it square and you’ll be set. Personally, I’d use the 4” thick pieces myself, if you have enough for a top.

Smitty’s sweet bench on here is made of oak, if I recall correctly. Perhaps we can get a picture of it for you. [Edit: Here’s a picture of Smitty’s bench:


]

Here’s a post I wrote about wood selection of a workbench:

http://lumberjocks.com/BrandonW/blog/27563

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Steven Gaffin's profile

Steven Gaffin

31 posts in 951 days


#2 posted 07-24-2012 03:27 PM

There is about 6 4×4 that are over 6ft long but there are a lot of 2×6 and 3×6 boards. I thought about putting them on end so that the top would be about 6 inches thick. I didn’t know if this was overkill.

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jmos

681 posts in 1065 days


#3 posted 07-24-2012 03:36 PM

As far as wood species, to paraphrase Chris Schwarz, you want ‘big, dry, and cheap.’ You reclaimed oak fits all three very well. It should make a terrific bench.

6” thick oak is definitely overkill for a workbench top; but who said overkill was necessarily a bad thing. Just make sure you’ve got some help moving that top around while you’re building the bench, it will weigh a ton.

You could use the 6×3’s to make a 3” top which would still be plenty strong, and the 6” width would require fewer peices and less jointing and gluing. 6×4 would also make a nice 4” thick top.

-- John

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Steven Gaffin

31 posts in 951 days


#4 posted 07-24-2012 03:40 PM

Thanks for your knowledge. I will post some updated photos when I start building.

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Brandon

4144 posts in 1647 days


#5 posted 07-24-2012 03:52 PM

Yes, exactly what jmos said. The 3” oak bench would be pretty nice, In my opinion. The 6” bench would destroy your back. :-)

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1388 days


#6 posted 07-24-2012 03:58 PM

I like Smitty’s chop now that I’ve seen a lot of massive ones. I’ve got an enormous piece of curly cherry 3 inches thick that I planned to use. I might trim it down a bit now. I think oak would be a fine choice, although oak’s not my favorite wood around.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Brett's profile

Brett

633 posts in 1378 days


#7 posted 07-24-2012 04:28 PM

I’m starting to learn about that “it will weigh a ton” part. I’m building a Roubo with southern yellow pine. The boards are 8 feet long and 4.5” thick, and weigh over 10 lbs each. I currently have 11 of them face-glued to each other, with 8 more to go. It ain’t easy trying to toss around 100 to 200 lbs of workbench top. Once the legs and stretchers are attached, I expect the bench to weigh almost 300 lbs.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View Steven Gaffin's profile

Steven Gaffin

31 posts in 951 days


#8 posted 07-24-2012 05:58 PM

Weight isn’t a huge concern for me unless it weighs 400+ pounds. I prefer weight over wobbliness but It sounds like <4 inch thickness is preferred.

View BentheViking's profile

BentheViking

1752 posts in 1259 days


#9 posted 07-24-2012 06:10 PM

I feel like edge gluing something 3” thick and 6” wide will ultimately have too much movement and wont stay true. Could be wrong, but i’d certainly worry.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

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