Wood for a new workbench

Tagged: 

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #495531
    Harvey Kimsey
    Participant

    I think my next project will be a new workbench. My old one has an old maple tabletop for the work surface and a plywood cabinet I made for the base. I was thinking of using Douglas Fir as it is widely available here in the US. It seems fairly stable and a lot tougher than other softwoods. Do others here have experience with this wood? What’s the ideal material for a workbench?

    #495687
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    Douglas fir is excellent for workbenches. You will probably have to let it dry a bit, since most stuff in stores is 15%-19%.

    But be a little careful. Douglas fir is a different wood than that firs. Those woods (grand fir, noble fir, etc) are lumped together in stores with Spruce and pine under the SPF (Spruce-pine-fir) and are softer and weaker woods. Loblolly and Ponderosa pines, although technically considered yellow pines, are in that group and soft.
    There is no Douglas fir in SPF.

    If you want Douglas fir, it will have a grade stamp that says D-FIR, D-FIR-LARCH, Doug-fir or DFL. I would use number two grade( standard) at a minimum, but better grades will obviously yield a nicer bench. ( number 1, select, ) the nicest stuff you will find is Machine stress grade or scaffold grade. Those are individually tested for strength.(and spendy)

    A common sales tactic if for mills is to group grades under 2-and-better, Standard-and-Better at only slightly more than #2 price. 1-and-better is also sometimes available. If your yard or store allows you to pick the stacks, you can get better graded wood at a better price.
    Stay away from wood marked stud grade or construction grade. Those aren’t really grades, but Woods that don’t really meet structural building codes. You can’t use those for structural walls, floors or roofs, so they won’t be good for a bench.

    And if you pick the Larch out ( it is redder, slightly denser, and harder) it will be better yet.
    Not all stacks will have larch in them.

    A more complete overview of the grading system in the West is here https://www.wwpa.org/western-lumber/interpreting-grade-stamps other parts of the country have different grading associations, but since lumber is shipped everywhere, they are similar.

    Browse the wood database to see wood properties, including hardness, (Janka Hardness) which is a measure of pounds necessary to imbed a steel ball halfway into the wood

    Home

    #495729
    Harvey Kimsey
    Participant

    Wow, that’s a lot of information! Thank you!

    #495763
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    Note I didn’t go into the appearance grades, which are graded for how nice they look. Clear vertical grain, for instance, is stunning stuff at a stunning price. Very popular for trim and detail in the NorthWest.

    #495765
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    Note I didn’t go into the appearance grades, which are graded for how nice they look. CVG (Clear vertical grain), for instance, is stunning stuff at a stunning price. Very popular for trim and detail in the NorthWest for Arts and Crafts styles.

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.