Workbench top – mixing hard and soft woods

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #554220
    Mark Ridley
    Participant

    Like many others I am now making my first workbench (moving up from a B&D Workmate)…. I have finished my leg assemblies first, as I had some pieces of pine wood left over from some other projects… and although it took me a long time, and my M&T joints are a bit ragged (but still quite tight) I am pleased with progress so far. Today I ordered the rest of the wood from a local timber yard… Being in France I was offered Épicéa (Norwegian Spruce)… Which seems quite similar to pine from what I can read.

    My question here is that I would like to incorporate some strips of Cherry left from a previous project, and some unknown hard wood from an old piece of furniture that was otherwise destined for the dump….will this cause any problems in the laminated top. I don’t see why, but would like to check the wisdom of the forum.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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    Replies
  • #554255
    Mike Goodwin
    Participant

    @mike003

    The only significant issue would be that you will end up with “soft” and “hard” strips on your surface. This could lead, over time, to the surface becoming uneven. The spruce will compress and dent more readily than the cherry and your mystery wood.

    You could, in theory, use that to your advantage by concentrating your hardwood at the front of the bench where it will receive the most wear. If your building an English style bench, like the one Mr. Sellers promotes, you could laminate them together for the apron or, better yet, the tool well.

    #554269
    Steve Giles
    Participant

    @gilessteve

    Why not save the wood for another project where it will be better utilised?

    #554270
    Anthony H
    Participant

    @amishelectricco

    The purpose of laminating is to create a larger piece that functions as a single unit. Personally, I wouldn’t do it. You would be introducing an unknown X factor in what you want to be the most stable, square, and predictable part of your bench.

    #554272
    Tim Ridolfi
    Participant

    @obscurious

    In my experience, mixing species for a laminated bench top is fine. My own bench (8′ long, 24″ wide, no well) was built before video on the internet was a thing. The top is mainly southern yellow pine, but 5″ on each edge is ash. After 15 years of vigorous use, it has some character, but it is still in perfect working condition. It is still as flat as the day I first flattened it. The ash is more robust than a softer wood would be.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Tim Ridolfi.
    #554296
    Mark Ridley
    Participant

    @markridley

    Thanks everybody for your responses …

    [quote quote=554269]Why not save the wood for another project where it will be better utilised?[/quote]
    – I have large pile of 50 year old rough sawn planks … so I don’t need to save too much … in fact my wife is “encouraging” me to use it !

    [quote quote=554255]You could, in theory, use that to your advantage by concentrating your hardwood at the front of the bench where it will receive the most wear. If your building an English style bench, like the one Mr. Sellers promotes, you could laminate them together for the apron or, better yet, the tool well.[/quote]

    [quote quote=554270]The purpose of laminating is to create a larger piece that functions as a single unit. Personally, I wouldn’t do it. You would be introducing an unknown X factor in what you want to be the most stable, square, and predictable part of your bench.[/quote]

    – I was thinking about 3 stripes alternating with the spruce on the main laminated section … rather than concentrated in one patch … but I do like the idea of (also ?) adding some colour to the tool well and/or aprons

    [quote quote=554272]In my experience, mixing species for a laminated bench top is fine. My own bench (8′ long, 24″ wide, no well) was built before video on the internet was a thing. The top is mainly southern yellow pine, but 5″ on each edge is ash. After 15 years of vigorous use, it has some character, but it is still in perfect working condition.[/quote]

    – Good to know …. from some surfing over the weekend, I have seen many benches which look to have incorporated different woods/species in their construction … so for the moment I will continue with my plan, unless I see/hear/read something different before the weekend – when I shall be laminating the top

    #554299
    MarkB
    Participant

    @markbannon

    I added two strips of hard wood into the top of my 8-ft bench. No issues. Was thinking I may want to use holdfasts in the future and heard that the dog holes wear better in hardwood. Now can’t bring myself to drill into the top. Pretty happy with how it came out. Working on the drawers.

    Attachments:
    #554308
    Mark Ridley
    Participant

    @markridley

    Thanks MarkB good to know that you didn’t encounter any problems (yet … it might take years for any problems to finally surface) …. I do like the look of that monster bench you have built there …

    #555413
    Mark Ridley
    Participant

    @markridley

    So, I finally finished …. I used the different woods on the main bench top, and also put a strip of the mystery wood in the tool well (as Mike suggested), just because …

    The adaptation from Paul’s design … the tool well a little narrower, and the bench top a little wider …. I also made a planing stop in one of the cherry wood strips. I cut this along the length, and added some crenelations in the top and bottom piece so I have three different heights that I can raise up this entire strip 5mm 10mm and 15mm. The vice is a bit smaller – but it is a lovely old Woden 189 with quick release, and after a good clean is working fine.

    I include a few pictures …. it is not perfect, but it is my bench and I really enjoyed making it- and now I am looking forward to some more projects

    [attachment file=555416]

    [attachment file=555414]

    [attachment file=555415]

    Attachments:
    #555419
    Mike Goodwin
    Participant

    @mike003

    Looks great. I like how you handled the plane stop. I’m currently building a bench for work and I may end up “borrowing” the concept.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)

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