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Thread: Workbench top made of 2" thick pine slabs

  1. #1
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    Workbench top made of 2" thick pine slabs

    Hello,

    I've the opportunity to get some wide slabs of pine, 2" thick. I'm thinking of using them for a bench top. Do you guys have any thoughts about the feasibility of this?

    Rafael

  2. #2
    My benchtop is pine. It works fine.
    Depending on how wide your slabs are, you might get some warping. There's ways to reduce that though.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  3. #3
    Certainly it's feasible. But there are many varieties of pine. Southern Yellow Pine in particular is very hard and dense and makes a great benchtop. Some other varieties of pine are a lot softer and less dense, and so are less ideal for a benchtop, but can still be serviceable. Do you know the specific variety?

  4. #4
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    The tree was felled in Western Pennsylvania. The seller does not know. Here are pictures of the slabs, can you tell what species it is?
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
    Looks like yellow pine. Rings are pretty close,so it's been around for a while. I'd use it if the price is good. My preference
    would be to make the top of two layers of it.

  6. #6
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    Another way to make the top would be to cut it into strips as wide as you want the the thickness of the top. Then laminate them together to make the top. This might give better stability and a thicker top.

    2" isn't too bad for a top if you just wanted to use a single piece. My Sjoberg bench is less than 2" in the center and can still work with a holdfast.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  7. #7
    Yellow pine is not very common in Western PA. Most common there is Eastern White Pine, also called Northern white pine, but there are other varieties it could be.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Another way to make the top would be to cut it into strips as wide as you want the the thickness of the top. Then laminate them together to make the top. This might give better stability and a thicker top.
    jtk
    This is exactly what I would do. Slabs are too prone to cracking and warping it can take many years for them to totally acclimate.

  9. I made my Nicholson bench out of spruce construction lumber, and wouldn't be afraid to make another out of even softer white pine, as long as it didn't have too many knots. Yellow pine is much harder than either of those, it will work fine, and would last better.

    A lot of new woodworkers get hung up on building a bench before they even get to making any furniture, as there's a lot of literature and conflicting opinion to wade through. Material choice is one of those areas where opinions diverge. If you're constrained by time or money, you're better off building something simple that works rather than letting the whole process of decision making, materials search, and build (a big challenge when you might not yet have the know-how) drag out. You can build your dream bench later when you have a better idea what kind of woodworking you want to do. After working with my 7ft Nicholoson for awhile, all I want extra are some hold fasts, and more length!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    ...cut it into strips as wide as you want the the thickness of the top. Then laminate them together to make the top...
    This would be the best way to use that cheap material.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  11. #11
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    A lot of new woodworkers get hung up on building a bench before they even get to making any furniture, as there's a lot of literature and conflicting opinion to wade through. Material choice is one of those areas where opinions diverge.
    One comment often seen in discussions on bench building is to use wood that is local and inexpensive.

    To me it seems the best advice might be that used in a particular TV commercial, "just do it."

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  12. #12
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    Looks like eastern white to me

  13. #13
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    hi rafael i just put the last coat of oil on this bench. it is all pine the top is 2x12 and 1x12 under the 2 by. its a beast cant wait to use it! looking forward to using a viseless bench. jerry
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Schram View Post
    hi rafael i just put the last coat of oil on this bench. it is all pine the top is 2x12 and 1x12 under the 2 by. its a beast cant wait to use it! looking forward to using a viseless bench. jerry
    Just my opinion, but it needs more holes!

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  15. #15
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    jim i was going to drill the holes in the top as needed. the new bench is 3" higher than the other one. my eyes aren't what they were 20 year ago when i made the other one. jerry

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