Chances are good it will be %18 moisture. That's just the way it is for
construction lumber. If you can get Southern Yellow Pine construction
lumber where you are, that would be far superior to spruce. Also, you
may want to consider buying 2x12s instead of 2x4s, then ripping them to
the widths you need. The advantage of this is that 2x12s tend to be
clearer and straighter.
Let it sit for a week and you should be fine. The boards that are
cooler to the touch are wetter...use them for the legs. Use the driest
boards for the stretchers, and the rest for the top. This way the legs
will shrink more than the stretchers and the mortises in the legs will
tighten down on your stretcher tenons.
It is a very reasonable plan. I highly recommend buying/borrowing
Christopher Schwarz's recent workbench book. It discusses what a
workbench needs to do and different ways of doing it, along with two
(three if you get the CD) workbench designs of very different styles.
Very well written.
Probably overkill. A single row of dog holes near the front, with
widely spaced holes 6" in from the back for use with holdfasts/holddowns
will likely work better. The end vise should be right at the front
edge, with a thick (3" or so) wooden jaw containing a single dog hole in
the middle. Put a row of dog holes in the workbench about 4" apart in
line with the hole in the vise, and you're set.
Green Doug Fir is also far superior to kiln dried spruce. Doug fir
is supposed to be exceptionally stable when drying, unlike other
woods. THAT is why it is about the only lumber that is routinely
It will shrink as it dries, but is not supposed to cup as other woods
will. Kiln dried spruce construction lumber will only be kiln dried
about 18% moisture content and would probably move worse as
it dries than will the green Doug Fir.
Doug Fir is about as hard as Southern yellow pine.
I'm not surprised the lumber company will exchange
kiln dried spruce for green Doug Fir.
I would too!
Be aware that spruce is very soft. It's not really a good choice for
a bench top. It's light, strong for its weight, and nice to work
with, but it's very, very easy to knock a dent into it. Try pressing
your thumbnail into a piece of spruce, then into a piece of fir, then
into a piece of the soft maple that Home Depot sells and you'll see a
significant difference in hardness. If they've got some cutoffs, try
banging a corner of each into the other and then imagine what your
bench is going to be like after a few years of that.
Do you have a Workmate or the Stanley FatMax project center that's the
same idea? If not, you might want one--they're very handy things to
have around. If you look closely at the file you linked you'll notice
that a Workmate appears in many of the photos.
Because when you're done with it you'll have something that's going to
last. I think you'll also be surprised at how much easier it is to
work with cabinet-grade maple than with construction-grade fir.
You still put a racking load on the vise, which unless the vise is
purpos-designed to accept such loads is eventually going to wreck it.
Do you have the Scott Landis book? Chiseling the dog holes is doing
it the hard way if you're going with square. He shows a couple of
alternative methods of making them IIRC.
I wouldn't call it a "major waste of time"--it's going to be far more
useful than the floor--but considering the time you're going to put
into making it, using better materials and a better design would be
worthwhile. Yeah, get some spruce too, cut it to the same dimensions
as your maple, and use it to check your setups before you cut the
maple or birch or whatever you decide to use.
If you need a set of plans to work from, Lee Valley has three nice
sets and sells all the hardware needed to make them. They tell you
everything you need to know and as long as you remember to measure
twice and cut once, and do a dry assembly and mark what goes where
before each glue up you should be fine.
There's also a school of thought that says make a cheap first bench and
learn as you go, use it for a few years and change it around to see what
you like, then make a better one once you know your preferences.
A softer top does have the advantage that if you accidently drop a
workpiece on the edge of the top it's less likely to damage the workpiece.
I tend to concur w/ the latter view -- one thing that is pretty
effective and inexpensive for a first bench is to use the construction
lumber then lay a piece of masonite or similar hardboard on top--a
couple small brads countersunk can hold it down but not be a problem w/
edges and if it gets destroyed it's easy/cheap to replace. It's
surprisingly durable as well as smooth...
Don't knock the workmate, you can do a whole lot with them. Including
build a workbench.
Why, indeed? Build what you are capable of building Now with the least
expensive materials that will do the job and *not frustrate you* by being
difficult to to work or warping within weeks. When you know you want to
continue woodworking and know the type of woodworking you like doing,
Then build your ultimate bench. You may even find you have already built
The suggested books are still worth reading Now, as they do have tips on
Simple work benches. The Landis book, IIRC, even has a chapter devoted to
I'm slowly putting together ideas for a new (small) bench to fit beside the
old bench in our cramped garage. I thought a hardwood butcher-block top
would be nice until I started checking prices. Guess where I found
reasonably-priced butcher-block tops? Ikea. They make them in various
sizes for kitchen cabinets, and one is perfect for the size bench I'd like
to build and way cheaper than anybody else I've seen. I might slap a sheet
of plywood underneath it to be sure it will support a couple of vises with
no problems, but I think I've found the top I wanted and it won't need
The main problem with that is that the butcher-block top will expand and
contract with humidity changes, while the plywood will not. As long as
you plan for this, you shouldn't have any problems.
I appreciate everyone's input. Based on other websites and forums,
people that have built this bench seem to be happy with it and use it
for many years to develop their skills. I'm sorry if I've offended
the purists here :-) . I can appreciate their views because I'm the
same way with guitars and musical instruments.
Josh I think you have the right attitude. Listen to the purists and take
them with a grain of salt.
I have the killer euro-maple-bench but it took me a long time to get there.
Developing you woodworking skills is an iterative process as is upgrading
your tooling to match your skills.
Others have mentioned the Landis book; buy it. It addresses all types of
benches spanning European, Japanese, Plywood and even a chapter on the
workmate. Live with the tubafor bench for a couple of years and you will
have a better idea of the style of bench that will best suit your needs for
the long term. That book will give you a broad selection of designs from
which to draw ideas.
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
That occured to me but I'm not sure how to address that. If the idea is to
in effect make the top thicker and tougher to support vises without danger
of cracking, what would be the best way to go about that provided I want to
stay with the butcher-block top?
I"m guessing that expansion slots in the
plywood for screws routed in the
direction that's across the maple grain
would take care of the
expansion/contraction. And no glue on
the ply/maple surfaces.
But is that enough to hold the ply to
I don't know if this is any cheaper or better, but in the current
Woodcraft sales flyer that arrived in the mail today, I see they've
got laminated maple bench tops on sale. I was going put up a URL, but
Woodcraft's web site is still showing the old sales flyer. In case
you don't receive it, here's what they're offering:
24" x 60" 70 lbs regular: $249.99 sale: $199.99
30" x 60" 88 lbs regular: $269.99 sale: $215.99
24" x 84" 98 lbs regular: $299.99 sale: $239.99
For those like me, with no Ikea near by, but have a Woodcraft store in
the area . . .
If you want to reply via email, change the obvious words to numbers and
While the woodcraft ones are of a different class the Ikea ones are 30
Bucks for some sizes.
Length: 48 7/8 ", Depth: 15 ", Thickness: 1 1/8 "
Length: 73 1/4 ", Depth: 25 5/8 ", Thickness: 1 1/8 "
Not too shabby. Put some 3/4" ply under that and you should have a
nice rigid top.
After selecting oak the page does claim that it is solid Oak.
product description & measurements
Solid oak, Oil
I would guess that if it wasn't solid oak that they would be sued.
IKEA would make a pretty big target for false claims lawsuits
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.