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Is oak a good choice for workbench slab?

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Forum topic by Troy Cleckler posted 10-18-2014 03:40 PM 1044 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Troy Cleckler

384 posts in 837 days


10-18-2014 03:40 PM

Planning on building a Roubo bench and most suggestions is SYP or Douglas fir, which I assume is because of cost. I have a friend that has cut some true 2” oak and it’s been stickered for a few years now. Got opertunity to get it at good price. Is oak a good choice for the slabs for split top?

-- Troy. - Measure twice, cut once and fill the gaps....


14 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

8313 posts in 3114 days


#1 posted 10-18-2014 03:45 PM

Well, oak does tend to be stable when dry. When
I buy oak for client jobs the boards are usually not
much trouble to mill flat. It’s predictable that way.

In flattening you may find the oak gets some ugly
tearout. Maple and other wood tear out too, but
with maple it’s not as ugly imo. It’s a workbench,
not a fine furniture piece after all.

If you do metal work on your oak bench you may
get fine metal dust in the pores and this could
be an annoyance. I’m just speculating. My own
main bench is maple and cherry and the top
gets dirty from metal but the pores aren’t open
so clogging isn’t really an issue. That’s my main
concern about porous wood benches. I actually
have an oak bench some hobbiest built that I bought
used because it’s the old traditional style with the
tail vise and shoulder vise. I just find the old style
with the wood vises handsome.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4036 posts in 1817 days


#2 posted 10-18-2014 04:35 PM

Oak is fine. Really what ever you can get at reasonable cost is ok. Many fine benches have been made with lots different woods, it really makes little difference. Do a search on LJ and you will see what I mean.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View gsimon's profile

gsimon

1195 posts in 1579 days


#3 posted 10-18-2014 04:41 PM

I did mine out of old oak door jams that came out of an institution and it’s great
the tear out can be an issue if your relatively new at this like me but over all I like it
Here’s a pic of mine
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/80775

-- Greg Simon

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JoeinGa

7483 posts in 1473 days


#4 posted 10-18-2014 04:43 PM

The “simple answer” is….

Sure, why not!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Don W's profile

Don W

17971 posts in 2034 days


#5 posted 10-18-2014 04:46 PM

I was think oak would be better then syp or fir. That would be my opinion anyhow.

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

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2085 days


#6 posted 10-18-2014 05:54 PM

Oak is fine.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1942 days


#7 posted 10-19-2014 01:05 AM

My work bench is oak, and she has seen many a furniture project. She is now very experienced, has a beautiful patina, and does a fine job.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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Tugboater78

2450 posts in 1658 days


#8 posted 10-19-2014 02:39 AM

I sure hope so, cause I’ve got half my top glued up, and I ain’t going backwards.

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)

firefighterontheside

13517 posts in 1323 days


#9 posted 10-19-2014 02:42 AM

The oak is fine as long as you save some for a project to build on your bench once the bench is done.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Troy Cleckler 's profile

Troy Cleckler

384 posts in 837 days


#10 posted 10-19-2014 11:04 AM

Wow Smitty, is that a show piece or do you actually use it. Looks like glass on top.

He’s gonna check and see just how much he’s got. He knows there’s enough for the tops and I’m hoping there’s enough for complete bench. It just keeps getting better. I talked to him again and ask him to figure out how much he has and give me a price. He says if I can use it just come and get it. Not gonna do that, of course. He’s got a portable sawmill and he’s got time and hard work into getting those boards out of the tree so I will pay him in some form or another. it’s good to have true friends and I do appreciate you thoughts and directions as well.

-- Troy. - Measure twice, cut once and fill the gaps....

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Troy Cleckler

384 posts in 837 days


#11 posted 10-19-2014 11:09 AM

Man I hate spell check. If you didn’t understand, what I ment to say was ROUBO bench not ROUND.

-- Troy. - Measure twice, cut once and fill the gaps....

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2085 days


#12 posted 10-20-2014 12:25 AM

Troy, it’s used every day if I can help it. Here’s more if interested.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View buildingmonkey's profile

buildingmonkey

242 posts in 1014 days


#13 posted 10-20-2014 12:59 AM

My bench is built from burr oak, had some 2” thick, I planed it flat, surfaced the pieces and glued it up in 2 pieces approx 12” wide, and glued the 2 up separately. Then I surfaced the pieces and glued the 2 together. My planer is only 15” wide, so could not do the whole thing at one time. Made it 3 1/2” thick. It is now 10 years old and just as solid as when it was new.

-- Jim from Kansas

View rustfever's profile

rustfever

716 posts in 2776 days


#14 posted 10-20-2014 02:42 AM

Doug Fir is very good…when it is in the form of a Glu-Laminated beam. the wood used to make Glu-lams is very dense, tight grained wood. it will hold up to most anything you can throw at it.
If you are making a Doug Fir bench by gluing up construction grade 2x ’s, then you can expect more surface damage.
However, most oak will exceed any form of Doug Fir.

-- Rustfever, Central California

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