Question about workbench build
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Tagged: doug fir, kiln dried, pine, workbench
- This topic has 19 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 2 months ago by Hugo Notti.
6 September 2016 at 9:21 pm #139956
I am building Paul’s workbench from one of his books. So far I have been laminating kiln dried Doug Fir for the top and legs. The rails between the legs are also kiln dried. I have had to plane EVERY dang surface to get rid of the rounded corners. What a pain. I am getting ready to get the aprons laminated.
I can only find kiln dried lumber in 2×4 widths, which means planing a total of 8 more lengths to get the aprons made.
I’m tempted to just laminate just two 2×6’s of what Home Depot calls “prime doug fir”, instead of all those 2×4’s. They don’t seem green but I have no way of knowing really how dry they are. They aren’t physically or visually “wet” or green.
Am I asking for future problems? Anyone else tried this? I’ve had a bad experience with 2×12’s pulling screwed as it cupped outside, but would 2×6’s be fairly stable?
And advice is welcome. Thanks all. Kevin6 September 2016 at 11:40 pm #139958
For what it is worth, I bought all my lumber from Lowes. 2×4 for the top/legs/stretchers. 2×10 for the apron and 1×10 for the well.
I let it sit in my garage for a week and started to build. I only planed the rounded corners off the top and that was after it was laminated. That was 1 year ago last month. No problems yet
I did the same as Joe. The stock I used had rounded corners too. I just laminated it as it was after some slight surface skimming with the plane. After the glue had dried I used a scrub plane to plane down to however flat I needed it to be. The worktop and the well board are completely flat but the aprons still show the rounded corners of each individual piece.
If you want to try it this way, it will drastically cut down on your workload.
7 September 2016 at 1:17 am #139969
- This reply was modified 6 years, 6 months ago by raze599.
Thank you for the response. I may save myself HOURS of planing and go with a 2×10 for the aprons. Kevin7 September 2016 at 4:37 pm #139983
Yep, I just used 2×10’s for the aprons, too, like Joe. Let them season in the garage for awhile. You may have to plane out some twist and cup, but it will be fine.
I made sure to orient mine with the heart-side “in” towards the center of the bench, that way any future cupping will be outwards. A lot easier to plane out the edges than a big bulge right down the middle.
Denver, Colorado23 September 2016 at 5:04 am #140794
So I went with a 2×10 for the aprons. Spent about an hour getting it flat and smooth on both sides, which was really pretty easy. I went out to the garage to cut the housings the next day, and they were cupped again. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. I flattened the cup out again and cut the housings. I think it turned out well.
Thanks again for the advice.
I used 2″x10″ southern yellow pine. I ripped an 1/8 inch off each edge on the table saw and then ripped each in half and used that to build my bench.
I chose this way because the 2″x10″ at this store were over a year old and a lot straiter than anything else they had. I’m guessing they don’t sell a lot of them.17 October 2016 at 5:49 pm #141518
I bought 2×4’s from Lowes and built. I did not have any problems. My bench is about a year old.
13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.17 October 2016 at 10:21 pm #141530
I think, Paul Sellers answered this question in his last (? – #4) Q&A video. His advice: Laminate the top from 4×2, then plane down. He didn’t mention the aprons, but planing down the sides shouldn’t take too long either, you don’t need to set your plane to paper-thin shavings. He actually talked about this in his original video about making the workbench too.
I don’t know, what “prime doug fir” is, but I had rough times with construction wood. I suppose, you are not a master planer yet, because otherwise, you wouldn’t have trouble planing down the edges of the 2×4. Construction wood is not made to be seen, so don’t expect to get as nice surfaces as with pre-planed wood, it can be quite challenging. It might be more work than planing down the 2x4s. (I am guessing from my experience with construction wood available in Germany, it might be different, but I don’t think so).
Dieter17 October 2016 at 10:25 pm #141531
The construction grade wood in the US is pretty bad also.
13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.18 October 2016 at 7:27 pm #141575
so it might definitely save time to plane down the 2x4s instead.18 October 2016 at 7:29 pm #141576
I would say plane down after you glued up. Unless you are a lot better than me at gluing, you will need to flatten the top once it is dried. So I cannot see planing the boards flat then planing the glued top flat again.
13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
I’ve been disappointed with how wet 2x’s are and any rough lumber (cherry, oak) that I can get. They seem to be wetter than outside equilibrium would be. They’re selling them a bit green around here.
I lean them against a wall in the garage, and they dry some more. Months before I want to use them I bring them inside and they start dry further. I brought some cherry in the house, a year ago, they’ve cupped quite a bit but seem to have stopped moving, no matter the season.22 October 2016 at 5:44 am #141779
If I were to build this again, I think I would go for laminating 2×4’s for the aprons. Mine are slightly cupped again already. The construction grade lumber is very difficult to work with, but so long as I’m not buying hardwood, I suppose it’s ok to be a bit rough. It gets fairly scarred up as it gets used I’ve learned anyways.
I guess it’s like every other project, you learn a little more every time you build something. Who knows, maybe I’ll build another one some day 🙂
Thanks for all the responses.
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