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    Chris, I used solid planks of Douglas Fir, 4″ x 12″.

    The wood was stored in my garage about four years before I started building the bench. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico and our humidity level is usually very low because we are in a high desert environment. The wood originated from coastal California. I did not experience splitting during the drying process but I stickered the planks and sealed their ends. The planks did cup and there was a small amount of twist when I started working the planks. The net thickness of the planks were 3 1/2″ after flattening.

    My bench is 21″ by 6′ so I cut down the width of the planks, glued them together and also laminated a 1 3/4″ stick of Ash to the front of the bench. I thought the Ash would make the front edge of the bench more durable than the DF. I did not build in a tool well or add skirts. Douglas Fir is a stringy wood and added challenges to plane because of several dead knots and contrary grain. I suspect older pine like you are considering may be straighter grain and you will not encounter the flattening issues I dealt with. Using thick planks for me required repairing the dead knots but it is a workbench and not fine furniture. But the bench has remains stable, flat and quite serviceable.


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