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Thread: Workbench Lumber Question

  1. #16
    Construction lumber imported from B.C. is likely going to be S-P-F, spruce ,pine , balsam fir. None of which rates workbench quality. When I want a 2x4, I'll dig through the pile for good looking pine. Douglas fir is going to be second growth, if you find any.

  2. #17
    Lot of the old books suggested beech , cuz it was plentiful and cheap. None of them suggested rosewood, mahogany, or the finest of
    anything.

  3. #18
    I have built 3 24" x 60" workbenches. All have hardwood tops. 4" square legs of either glued up plywood or hardwood. 2 were gift that are in m kids garages not really being used. My personal one has a 2 3/4" top of mostly poplar with some common cherry in the mix. It is hardly a masterpiece like some of the ones posted here but has served me well for 8 years and has held up to serious hobbyist use. If I did it again I would put a 5/4" strip of hard maple on the outside edges as they take the brunt of the abuse.

    I personally would avoid construction lumber. My two pennies. Good luck!

    Groff and Groff has common cherry, poplar and red oak in the $3-4 range.
    Last edited by Ron Citerone; 05-27-2024 at 8:51 AM.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Wenatchee, WA
    Posts
    452
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rainey View Post
    Schwarz recommends looking through stacks and stacks of KD lumbar and picking out quality boards.
    I think I read it more along the lines of he looks through the first few layers of the bunker every time he goes to the box store for something else, and usually finds one (or two) boards worth messing with, and throws them in the back of the truck. Yes, I have a big truck (F350 crew cab dually) - no, I'm not taking it across town every time I need a box of screws or plumbing fittings.

    That may take a whole weekend or more.
    Emphasis added. I know some people who live in more 'metro' areas have conscripted a friend or family member, and gone to two, three, or more box stores in a weekend, and unstacked every single board in the relevant bunkers to find enough usable boards. And then re-stacked the rest back in the bunker.

    And then they *still* needed to wait weeks (or more) to let that 'kiln dried' stuff actually dry out enough to stop moving.

    Better off to go find some 8/4 poplar @ the local *lumber* dealer. It'll likely be drier to start, and end up thicker once it's planed to dimension, than the generic box store 2x stuff.

  5. #20
    I built a couple anarchist workbenches out of lumber from HD - out here in California, that is douglas fir. In retrospect, I'm not sure I'd go that vs buying kiln dried hardwood lumber - red oak is fairly inexpensive (<$4/bdft).

    I wasn't going to do the exercise of collecting 2x12s over the course of many months. And when I did it, the number of 2x12s in stock at any given time was fairly low, but there were piles of 2x6s - so easier to look through those and find ones that were at least decent (no pith) and get the supply, and I did stack/dry them for a few months before assembling.

    Going with hardwood would certainly have been a bit more expensive, but maybe in the tune of a few hundred dollars, but likely would have saved me time in the construction (hardwood is often at least S2S and fairly straight, so saves the time in milling of the 2x6s). And for a workbench, I likely would be buying enough to get free delivery, or fairly low cost in comparison the the price of material.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Wenatchee, WA
    Posts
    452
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Wedel View Post
    the number of 2x12s in stock at any given time was fairly low, but there were piles of 2x6s - so easier to look through those and find ones that were at least decent (no pith) and get the supply, and I did stack/dry them for a few months before assembling.
    Same here (central WA state); probably 2-3 (maybe 4) times as many 2x6's in stock at any given time as 2x12s... and most of them were visibly better condition all around than the 2x12, even before the PITA factor of ripping them down.

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