I am building my first work bench and will be using Douglas fir for the top and base. Id like to incorporate holdfasts and bench dogs into the top. I am however a bit worried it might be too soft of a wood to hold up with the use and abuse they will impact on the top of the bench while in use.
The top will be 4-4.5″ thick, I will be using 2×12 that I cut the pith out of. I do have access to hardwoods maple, oaks ect. Though they are not exactly budget friendly options. Can’t get Southern Yellow Pine where I am at as well.
Any and all help will be greatly appreciated, I thank you for your time.
My bench is built the same, and same material.
Make sure you use a super sharp bit to bore the holes, as tear out was an issue for me.
You will also probably have to relieve the underside of each hole as I did, as 4-4.5” could be too thick for the holdfasts.
I have used them more for individual dogs more than holdfasts, but I can say I’ve seen a little bit of compression around the holes but nothing major.
My plan if they did get loose is to core out each hole and fill with hardwood that I then cut a new holdfast hole into.
You can also buy liners for the dog holes, but I have spare sapele and oak lying around and I’m cheap 😂
My top is SYP at 4.5″ thick and Darren is right to bring up concerns about holdfasts holding. I had to up-size to 1″ diameter holdfasts to get them to grab. The 3/4″ I had were not long enough to work and I think they were deflecting too much as well.
My five year experience from a workbench made from 3¾” thick glulam (spruce) is that the first 3″ of the front should have been FAS beech (usually straight and knot free).
The holdfasts have widened the dog holes enough to have an impact on the bench dogs, and securing hold downs. I repaired the holes first enlarging them, inserting pieces of oak, and then re-drilling new ¾” holes. After six months of use, the holdfasts have not had any effect on the the bench holes.
Secondly, with use and wear, the front to edge corner is no longer very sharp. The angle is still overall 90°, but too rounded over to use the edge as a fence support when planing grooves and rebates.
The part of the bench occupied by the tail wise is in beech, with no changes whatsoever.
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