Maple vs Beech for workbench -- does it matter?

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Sheesh here on the west coast it is over $6 a BF! Alex
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Not everywhere on the west coast. And bear in mind that, for a workbench, color matching and figure may not be all that important to you. You certainly don't need to buy s4s at Home Depot...
Patriarch
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Have to wonder about that. I know our monster mill is steaming the local beech to make it look more appealing. Doesn't seem to have affected it's working qualities much.

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George writes:

European beech is a whole different thing, though. I guess the steaming is for appearance, but once dried EB is stable. American beech is unstable, wet, dry or steamed.
Companies like E. C. Emmerich would long ago have gone out of business if European red beech were unstable. All but one of the E. C. E. planes I have is made of beech, and their workbenchs are primarily beech, too.
Charlie Self "I think the most un-American thing you can say is, 'You can't say that.' " Garrison Keillor
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Well, it's advertisespeak which concerns me. If they really can import Europe's premier hardwood to Colorado for the same price as domestic maple from Michigan, great. My concern is that they haven't.

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George responds:

You could be right. It strikes me that most of the Europeans on the wreck complain about the price of wood being so much higher than it is here, while also griping about most of the tools and their prices. What I've seen in their magazines tends to support the concept that wood in Europe is pricey, compared to here.
Charlie Self "I think the most un-American thing you can say is, 'You can't say that.' " Garrison Keillor
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Not a big leap from a properly described "European-style steamed beech" to a middleman or retailer's "European steamed beech."
My big kid says that the prices in Germany are much higher than Poland/Russia for hardwood.

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Well, these guys are pretty reputable folks; I've bought some equipment and a lot of small quantities of lumber from them. I talked to them on the phone and they confirm it's actually steamed beech, imported from Germany. The 4/4 is $3.61 a bf, and the 8/4 is $3.44 a bf (yeah I thought that was odd but they say the price they charge depends on the deal and volume they get). They sell hard maple at $4.09 a bf, but another guy I know that trucks in once a month from Iowa and sells his hard maple for $3.50 a bf.
Guess I'll build the bench out of 8/4 beech. Now if I can just figure out how to keep from messing up the tail vise design :-P
For the last year or two I've been using a couple of pieces of 1" MDF on a 2x4 frame with a metal face vise and a bench hook. It's going to be really nice to have a real bench.
Thanks for the help, all.
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Good deal, then.

import
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Not much difference - hardwood is expensive in both.
For _softwood_ though, Poland (and Latvia, Lithuanian & Estonia) are indeed much cheaper. Good quality too, if you want it.
--
Smert' spamionam

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The price he quotes for both is roughly what I pay for FAS soft maple in the SF Bay area. Hard maple comes from the other coast, and so is much more money. Colorado IS a rail center, but that doesn't explain EuroBeech.
You're thinking this is a 'mahogany' thing?
Patriarch
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I have a maple benchtop, laminated with fillets. 2 1/2" thick. it's very solid on a trestle leg arrangment. I carve and like a somewhat "stickier" surface and find that keeping it sanded with 100-120 grit and oiled only rather than scraped, oiled and sealed (my original finish) works best.
n snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Nate Perkins) wrote in message

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Thanks for all the helpful replies, everyone. It's appreciated.
Cheers, Nate
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