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Forum topic by john2005 posted 326 days ago 704 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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john2005

866 posts in 780 days


326 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: resource

Kicking off a bench project soon and trying to find some cheap, heavy and sorta hard wood. Up here pine and spruce abound, but large quantities of clean hardwoods are EXPENSIVE. Any of you guys live up here have any leads on something good? A good source? A different species? So far the best I can come up with is wormy Maple at 2.55/bf. Not bad, but I would like to find something cheaper. It is after all a workbench, not a china hutch. Thx

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.


18 replies so far

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

472 posts in 1133 days


#1 posted 326 days ago

Have you considered Douglas-fir? Should be relatively easy to source, particularly if you’re near the coast, and is certainly strong enough for a workbench. If you look around, you should be able to find it under $1/bdft.

About the only commercially harvested hardwoods in the NW are alder and soft maple. Other hardwoods grow here and there (poplar/aspen/cottonwood, particularly) but locally harvested harder woods are hard to find.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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john2005

866 posts in 780 days


#2 posted 326 days ago

No, I hadn’t considered D-fir. I guess I just passed it off as too soft, but you’re probably right, it should be plenty hard for a bench. Thanks for the idea! I even know at least one place that has some.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

1626 posts in 752 days


#3 posted 326 days ago

I’m in Seattle, but I found a guy selling 4/4 Red Oak at $1.50/bdft so that’s what I went with.

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john2005

866 posts in 780 days


#4 posted 326 days ago

$4-5 is the best I’ve done on oak so far here. (Montana) It would be a great option though. 1.50 is a pretty good price.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

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jmartel

1626 posts in 752 days


#5 posted 326 days ago

Is this at a hardwood dealer? Also, is that for finish planed or rough? Scour Craigslist a lot. The dealer that I go to is over $3 for red oak, but I found a guy on craigslist selling rough Oak in 72”+ lengths and 4/4 thickness (actually a bit more) for said $1.50.

You can also try Ash. That was what I was originally planning on until I found the red oak.

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john2005

866 posts in 780 days


#6 posted 326 days ago

Its at a dealer. So far all I have found on craigslist is construction grade pine and beetle kill pine.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View JayT's profile

JayT

2098 posts in 813 days


#7 posted 326 days ago

If you have access to cheap hardwood, great. Otherwise, there is no reason that Doug Fir or even 2x construction lumber won’t work for a strong and useful workbench. A few examples on LJ would include TerryR's, RLindberry's, and mine. And for advice from a real expert, check out Paul Seller’s workbench build.

If you want to see how they would hold up, check out this post by RaggedKerf.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

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Biff

126 posts in 616 days


#8 posted 326 days ago

I’ve got a DF base for mine and bowling alley top. The fir is plenty strong and cheap!

-- Interested in Oregon property? Visit me at http://www.willamettepropertiesgroup.com

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

690 posts in 1560 days


#9 posted 326 days ago

Fir will be strong enough but will have pitch in it that will stick to anything it touches; the warmer it gets, the more oozes out. Unless you can set the pitch, it may not be a good bench to sit on.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

2857 posts in 1089 days


#10 posted 326 days ago

SPF will work just fine….. Just put a piece of 1/4” Masonite on top of it. When it gets worn out, simply replace it.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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bondogaposis

2446 posts in 953 days


#11 posted 325 days ago

John, I built my bench out of poplar and ash, cheapest hardwoods I could find. I used poplar for most of the top except for the dog strip and front edge. I felt that most of the wear is going to be in the front and along the dog holes for the wagon vise. It has worked quite well so far and I have no issues w/ the softer poplar, here is a pic.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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john2005

866 posts in 780 days


#12 posted 325 days ago

I like it. What are the dimensions of that Bondo?
I have thought about poplar or DF, although so far, poplar is coming up cheaper. I did find a guy who has 1700 bf of purpleheart that he is selling for 3/bf. I am trying to get that as it is almost as cheap as poplar would be.
As far as the construction grade top, I would like something heavy as I do a fair amount of hand planing and I cannot stand a bench that moves. For the last 10 years I have been using 2 sawhorses that I made and while they are handy, I chase them all around the shop. This thing is not gonna move even if I have to fill the legs with lead.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

1626 posts in 752 days


#13 posted 325 days ago

Purple Heart for $3? That is a smokin price.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2446 posts in 953 days


#14 posted 324 days ago

My bench is 78” long by 24” wide by 32” tall. Much lower than my previous bench and I like it way better for hand planing.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View MarkSr's profile

MarkSr

215 posts in 652 days


#15 posted 324 days ago

John, I am at the stage of putting my table top together and I have built the complete bench out of pallet lumber. I recycle pallets, all different sizes, even got a few in heavy duty plastic. Built a outside workbench out of 3 plastic pallets

you see the left side panel of the base of the bench, all that lumber came from pallets, all FREE LUMBER.
I have eight drawers in the base. (those pink and white bins is another story, they are now in the garage). The top is made of yellow pine, poplur, and ash all milled to 1-3/8” x 62”, 21 pieces. The base is all 4×4 treated lumber with solid sides and back of 3/8” x 3-1/2” pine glued together. The only lumber I will purchase will be 3/4” oak for the top’s skirt and to double up for the vice chocks and I purchased a piece of 3/4” plywood, sanded on one side for the drawer fronts. I made my own drawer slides. made from 1” partical board with plastic laminate on both sides, (which I got out of a dumpster of a renovation job of a Wallgreens store), make sure you ask permission to get anything from the dumpster. I am 66 yrs. old and I will probably be using it every day until can’t anymore and hopefull my grandson’s kids will still use it.

The 4×4’s came from two 14’ x 5’ pallets for roof top a/c units. Check with your local a/c contractors, they will give them away and even load them in the truck or trailer for you, it saves them the cost of getting rid of them, and regular pallets are all over the place and they are FREE, just have to take the time to brake them up, strip all the nails and screws and mill them up. They all become brand new usable lumber.

When your on a fixed income you use what you can to get the job done. The only thing I might have trouble with will be the dog holes may get a little sloppy after 20 yrs. from now. I will also be building a router sled, (copied from Mark, the Wood Wisperer) to flatten out the top and if it gets a little battered and out of level, I’ll just put it back to level again, when your only loosing between 1/32” to 1/16” a 3-1/2” thick top will last a long long time.

Good luck with your top, “I’LL SHOW YOU MINE IF YOU SHOW ME YOURS” I was a dirty old man at 8 yrs old when I first said that to my first girl friend who lived next door to me. She was twice the size of me and almost kicked the s_ out of me.

-- Mark, ”...NEWBEE: On the road to learning a lot; but; a lot more to learn…” ("My Granddad used to tell me, if you didn't learn something new today, it just wasn't worth getting out of bed")

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