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Cherry for a workbench top?

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Forum topic by KodaBear posted 11-18-2013 01:33 AM 1471 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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KodaBear

114 posts in 546 days


11-18-2013 01:33 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cherry workbench

So, I’m moving and getting a tremendous shop upgrade (from a 12×20 shared basement space to a 20×30 dedicated garage shop!). I don’t want to bring my current bench with me (too tall, awkward to work with, I just hate it) but I will be bringing about 100bd ft of cherry.

Does anyone have any experience with a work bench/top made out of cherry?

I’ve seen several on here with maple/cherry tops, but none entirely of cherry.

It would fit Chris schwartz’s rules of dry and cheap, but it would all end up at about 4/4 thick after milling.

My wife thinks I’m crazy for even thinking about using up the cherry on “just a workbench”. She doesn’t get it yet.

Thanks in advance!

-- Kevin H. --Pennsylvania


18 replies so far

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1369 posts in 1291 days


#1 posted 11-18-2013 01:38 AM

I’m actually with the wife on this one. I’ve never personally subscribed to the notion of using expensive hardwoods on a workbench. Douglas Fir works fine. You can buy all you need at Lowes for under $100.
But if you already have the wood, and a cherry workbench will put a smile on your face…...then you should go for it. It sure will look nice when its done.

View lightcs1776's profile

lightcs1776

3662 posts in 312 days


#2 posted 11-18-2013 01:43 AM

I personally love cherry, and had our kitchen cabinets made out of cherry. I agree with both Tedstor and your wife, save the cherry for a project and make the workbench out of something else, such as douglas fir. You could even sell a bit of the cherry to pay for the new bench (although I would personally keep it).

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

View SirTonka's profile

SirTonka

67 posts in 422 days


#3 posted 11-18-2013 01:53 AM

will you only have enough lumber for a 1” benchtop? If you are limited by using power tools you could always go the hand tools route to build bigger. vote to use whatever wood you want, personally my plan is to spend a good bit of time designing and then use woods I like in building a custom bench, thinking dogwood at the moment.

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paratrooper34

760 posts in 1610 days


#4 posted 11-18-2013 02:22 AM

I built a benchtop bench from Cherry. Obviously not the same magnitude. But it has seen a lot of work and I really like it. Just remember, it will darken with age, and like me, others will tell you that dark wood is not ideal for a benchtop. For my little bench and what I do with it, no problem. But I wouldn’t care for it on my everyday bench.

-- Mike

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1377 posts in 841 days


#5 posted 11-18-2013 05:41 AM

Is there enough in your stash for a full workbench top, especially in a large shop? With wastage? About half that 100 BF would go to the top, with a ton of laminations at 4/4 rough.

Personally, I would save most of the cherry for something nice and maybe use a few boards as an accent in the workbench top. But an all cherry top would sure look pretty.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Loren's profile

Loren

7571 posts in 2306 days


#6 posted 11-18-2013 06:31 AM

It’s good if you have the wood. My main bench top
is half cherry offcuts, half a maple restaurant cutting
board.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View KodaBear's profile

KodaBear

114 posts in 546 days


#7 posted 11-18-2013 04:11 PM

Thanks guys!

what’s the philosphy behind dark wood not being good for a bench top? is it a visual (seeing parts) thing?

-- Kevin H. --Pennsylvania

View Loren's profile

Loren

7571 posts in 2306 days


#8 posted 11-18-2013 04:54 PM

Yes. It hasn’t been a problem with the cherry in my bench
but the light bench trend could predate large windows and
electric lighting. A lot of antique benches are dark but
I don’t know if they were sold stained originally.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View KodaBear's profile

KodaBear

114 posts in 546 days


#9 posted 11-18-2013 06:49 PM

Anyone use birch for a top?

-- Kevin H. --Pennsylvania

View crank49's profile

crank49

3434 posts in 1629 days


#10 posted 11-18-2013 07:08 PM

I’m sitting on 535 BF of cherry that I have had drying for a little over a year now, but would go out and buy something else to build a new bench from. Just would not want to use cherry for a bench. It’s beautiful, easy to work, strong, great wood, but I just wouldn’t want to beat it up on a bench. For the same reason I wouldn’t drive a ‘57 Chevy or a ‘69 Boss 302 Mustang to work every day.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

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KodaBear

114 posts in 546 days


#11 posted 11-18-2013 07:17 PM

wiser words have never been said. I’m not going to make my bench out of cherry. thanks everyone.

-- Kevin H. --Pennsylvania

View adaughhetee's profile

adaughhetee

103 posts in 1341 days


#12 posted 11-18-2013 07:24 PM

I’ve seen a lot of articles on people using IKEA counter tops for workbenches. Here’s a link and it is birch. If you have an Ikea close this may be an option but, there shipping is expensive.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50086416/

Lumber liquidators also has options in walnut, cherry, maple, and oak
http://www.lumberliquidators.com/ll/s/countertops

It shows 2 hrs to Ikea and 56 mins to Lumber liquidators. For the price I wouldn’t mess with the milling and glue-up.

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

15045 posts in 1225 days


#13 posted 11-18-2013 07:36 PM

look through the benches on Work bench smack down and ask what the guys in the middle of building a bench think. I don’t think 4/4 is thick enough, especially if you’ll be using hand tools, and I would love a cherry bench, but unless I had an endless supply of cherry, I doubt I’d us it.

That said, it would make a very nice bench.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1377 posts in 841 days


#14 posted 11-19-2013 01:22 AM

adaughhetee: for the Lumber Liquidators butcher blocks, 1.5”x25”x8’ is 25 board feet. At $200 (the cheapest maple), that’s $8/BF.

The Ikea is actually a lot more expensive. 0.625”x25×6’ is 8 board feet. At $125, that’s over $16/BF. And you would need to buy a couple and laminate them horizontally, which isn’t easy to do and keep it flat.

You can get rough birch or oak or even maple for a lot less than $8/BF. Doug fir or southern yellow pine or spruce are even cheaper in construction grade 2X. Laminating takes time, sure, but even with the overhead you’ll end up with a thicker, better top.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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adaughhetee

103 posts in 1341 days


#15 posted 11-19-2013 04:21 AM

Yeah I agree it’s high and also admit that I didn’t do the bf math first :( . The Ikea top is actually 1.5 thick making it 19 bf and $6.50 a BF but, still high. Cost wise I agree with the rough oak it would last a life time and be cheap to build. I don’t know if i’m a fan of the durability of a F/P/S top but, I’m a little rough on things.

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