Oak wood slabs 3” thick 12” wide 7’ long

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  • #634863
    Daniel Rocha
    Participant

    I have these oak Wood slabs(4 pieces), I really don’t know what to do with. I was thinking about making a work bench with them but I hear folks say they will warp with time therefore not a good idea. But I wonder if they have to be really flat to work on? Otherwise I may do the plywood work bench, I don’t know. Does anyone have any suggestions?
    I appreciate the comments.

    #635001
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    Did these folks you heard from look at your slabs?
    What reasons did they give that your slabs would warp? If they are already warped, what evidence is there they willy warp more?

    Every bench building book tells you the wood should be 6% or whatever. Evidence is that that isn’t probably necessary.
    Below is a bench made from sopping wet oak (red, I think) by Chris Schwarz around 2015. Last I heard it is still one of the benches used in his storefront shop where he and others teach. Chris claims his moisture meter topped out at 60%, which seems like an awful lot, but whatever.

    There was a serious body of internet chatter generated by this bench which you can see by searching
    chris schwarz green wood workbench

    Included is this summary article from I think 2017, where the picture comes from

    https://blog.lostartpress.com/2017/01/24/work-with-wet-workbench-tops/

    My own experience with I bench I built from wood taken from a barn with indeterminate drying pedigree was that I had to flatten it twice in the first two yearS until it settled down. In the last 40 yearsI have dressed the top with scrapers every 10 years or so.

    Flat is important for a bench top, but there is more that one way to get there. Depends on your tolerance for risk, I guess.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Larry Geib.
    #635024
    Ed
    Participant

    I wonder if the issue is the general notion that a monolithic slab is more likely to move vs. laminating smaller pieces which might be more rift or QS while the big slab might be more plain sawn? I’ve always wondered about this, whether it is true. A local sawer has long, wide slabs of poplar. It would be relatively expensive vs. construction 2x4s, but I could get a 15″ hunk of poplar at least 12/4. I’ve been very tempted as a way to have a quick bench top, no lamination needed. The last poplar I bought from this guy was beautiful: nicely dried, straight, and stable. On the other hand, the walnut I bought was the worst wood I’ve ever tried to work with.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Ed.
    #707102
    George Scales
    Participant

    Take a looks at Paul’s wooden bench. He used oak. I have made two of these and sold them. The seats are sculpted and fairly easy to do. People really like them

    #729586
    George Scales
    Participant

    Let the slabs rest in your shop for a few weeks. You can always rip them into narrower pieces and glue them back together to stabilize them. A good heavy oak work bench is a treasure.

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