I’m about to make the Paul Sellers workbench and am am trying to decide whether to make the top out of Douglas fir, which I have, or Baltic Birch plywood. My concern is structural stability and freedom from warping in my uninsulated garage that is subject to extreme temperature and humidity changes. I would think that plywood for the top is superior for this purpose. All of my 2×4 studs have bows in them to some degree or another. Would a hybrid material build make sense — Douglas fir for the trestles/legs and aprons and plywood for the bench top lamination, or would that be an unnecessary expense with no benefit?
It’s your bench, so the ultimate decision is up to you.
I’ve worked off a 2×4 stud bench in my uninsulated garage in Texas for years now. Temps swing from 12-120F (-11-49C) in there over the year and I haven’t had any problems. You’ll probably re-flatten the top after about a year, but that’s it.
Unless you have the setup (machines) necessary to process the large number of cuts you’ll have with the sheet goods, I’d call it unnecessary. Birch ply is also exceedingly expensive where I am. I’d choose spend my money on other items.
I agree with Austin, I made the Paul Sellers bench out of recycled 2x4s and keep it in an un heated and un insulated garage. Temps range from -5 to 39C and it’s been fine.
It swells side to side a bit in the winter as you would expect, but that’s fine.
I recommend using Douglas Fir. I made a 7’ x 24” x 4” bench starting with Douglas fir 2 x 10s from the home center. It was still 10-15% moisture content when I jointed and planed the boards. After several seasons of drying, along with a few annual levelings with hand planes, it has turned out to be remarkably stable. I check it every season with a straight edge.
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