Douglas Fir

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Forum topic by psquared posted 04-24-2009 03:02 PM 1514 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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46 posts in 3468 days

04-24-2009 03:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource

Building a Workbench this week. Plan calls for Douglas Fir because of it’s ability to stand up to more abuse than standard white wood from the big box store. Plan is supposed to use wood you can get anywhere. I’m in the south and can’t find Douglas Fir. Any suggestions for wood that would be comparable?

-- When the tide goes out you see who's been skinny dipping.

10 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3785 days

#1 posted 04-24-2009 03:16 PM

How about southern yellow pine? It is relatively cheap, available from any of the big box stores and is a favorite wood of Chris Schwarz for building benches.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View depictureboy's profile


420 posts in 3605 days

#2 posted 04-24-2009 03:21 PM

I dont know about down there, but alot of the higher grade construction lumber around here is fir or maybe its spruce…but yea I think the SYP is the way to go too…I read somewhere once that if you look at 2x again and its 6” or larger then its probably SYP….at least in this area(mid atlantic)

-- If you can't build it, code it. If you can't code it, build it. But always ALWAYS take a picture.

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3488 days

#3 posted 04-24-2009 03:27 PM

If you go to a lumberyard you can get syp, doug fir, hemlock fir, or regular spf. They have to carry them all to meet the demands of the housing market. When I order out a roof load, I specify what length, and species I need to build the house. Doug fir is used for long span rafters where strength is needed, so you might only find doug fir in longer lengths, but you can always cut and rip them to suite your needs.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4077 days

#4 posted 04-24-2009 03:49 PM

If you can get Southern Yellow Pine, it is a very good choice for a workbench. Christopher Schwarz the workbench guru has used it on many of his benches.

View psquared's profile


46 posts in 3468 days

#5 posted 04-24-2009 05:58 PM

Thanks very much.

-- When the tide goes out you see who's been skinny dipping.

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4077 days

#6 posted 04-24-2009 06:03 PM

Also, if you want to see a bench made out of Douglas Fir, have a look at my blog I did a while back.

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3356 days

#7 posted 04-24-2009 06:51 PM

I bought an used Workbench a few days ago, the top is in yellow pine, 2-3/4” thick and let me tell you, that thing is hard!
Most of the lumber at Home Centers are intended for construction, cheap stuff, so the quality is not the best. I suggest to look for Hardwood suppliers that also carry SYP and Douglas Fir for the Doors&Windows Industry.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2781 posts in 3400 days

#8 posted 04-24-2009 07:33 PM

I’m in the north and spruce is the big construction lumber but fir is available.. but only at home depot. And, not at all of them do. Spruce splits easily and is chippy. In my experience Southern Yellow Pine is too but up here we only get it in the form pressure treated lumber. Fir is tougher than Pine but cuts and works much like pine. It doesn’t split easily.
Often at Home depot it won’t be listed as Fir. You have to look on the stamping on the wood itself. You can usually tell it from other woods as it often has a brownish/goldish tinge to it compared to the other woods which seem white in comparison. It makes a great bench at a good cost. Pick over some 2×10’s or 12’s and slice them up to upgrade. A 2×10x12 fir beam can yield a lot of good usable pieces at a small cost.

Here's a link to my bench made of fir

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View psquared's profile


46 posts in 3468 days

#9 posted 04-25-2009 03:52 AM

Everyone has been a great help. I bought some 2×10x12’s a cut them down. You guys are great. Thanks especially for the links to your benches.

-- When the tide goes out you see who's been skinny dipping.

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3540 days

#10 posted 04-25-2009 06:51 AM

doug fir is all over the place up in Oregon,but in the south I would go with southern yellow pine

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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