Workbench stain

Soon, I'll be building a new workbench with 2x material on edge for the top, but being cheap, I refuse to part with the money to make it out of Maple so I'm going to do it with construction fir. My question is about stain, while I'm not trying to make it look like something it isn't, I don't want to put something on it that makes it yellow. Is there an effective way to stain, shellac or do any other type of finish for fir (or pine) with something darker without making it look like it has some kind of disease?
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I made the mistake of laying 2X6 stock flat instead of 2X4s on edge. I used a router to level it then after several years used BLO on it to slow down glue runout and finish spills. Don't quite see the advantage of stain as first gotcha means repair.
wrote:

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I presume it warped, right?
...just curious. I've thought of doing the same if rushed for time and wanted a temporary bench. Seems a helluvalot easier to make...
H.

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It would work fine for a temporary bench. My first bench was laid flat and I learn't some important lessons:
- Don't believe the seller when he says the timber is "dry", sometimes that means it didn't rain *that* particular day.
-Any movement laterally tears the other timber out of its keys also.
-You have less timber to plane down
If it seems earier to make, it is. It is somewhat like buying a cheap and nasty tool, it seems ok, but over time you'll be wishing you'd listened to those inner voices. It may be ok if you have very dry timber.
regards,
Greg
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As suggested, I went to the local BORG looking for SYP - they had never heard of it. My choice of 2x material is limited to grades of construction pine and cedar. What do you think about cedar? - it's stable, but probably still too soft and costs a bunch more money.
DJ
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DJ asks:

Cedar's way too soft. Have you checked out the phone book for local suppliers for contractors other than the big box stores?
Don't know where you're located, but EVERY small city I've been in has at least one, and often two, three, four or five, Borg competitors. Check on Building Supplies and Contractors' Supplies and similar headings.
Never accept a single store, no matter how large, as the only supplier available in an area.
Failing all that, build your workbench as originally contemplated, then go find a local sawmill that sells green lumber. Buy and sticker and stack some maple or beech (the beech will warp like crazy, so sticker very carefully, weight the stack, and set aside at least three times what you think you'll need). In 2x4 thicknesses, that will be ready for workbench use in about 24 months in most areas (finish off the drying in your basement, if dry, or garage).
Charlie Self
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." James Madison
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DJ,
following on from Charlie's advice, you *can* use cedar - but I would top it with masonite. The cedar provides the mass and the masonite gives the surface some durability. If you want to see the timber itself, follow Charlies advice and get something harder. You may be able to get some scrap timber (such as pallets) that when cleaned up and jointed is quite serviceable. Dont forget that the "face" of the timber is not really important, what you need is clean edges that will form the top. Therefore scarred faces are not really a problem.
Greg

probably
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Yor a few dollars more you can use construction grade yellow pine, much harder and will stain better. I took some YP 2" x 10"s' ripped them in thirds to make a work surface. Stable and dent resistent.
"V.E. Dorn" wrote:

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Have you priced beech in your area? It makes a nice workbench top, almost as good as maple. Yellow pine would be much better than fir. Over time, you will be glad you used harder lumber. You will spend just as much over a few years because you will have to make it several times, but you will have a lot more labor in it. And all the time you are using it, you will be working on a soft bench. Stain? Only if you never have a chisel slip or set a random orbit sander down before it has stopped completely. My first workbench was double-layered ply, which kept splintering. I replaced it with more ply and a masonite top. It was better but it still bounced. Then I built a top out of 3-inch maple and have never regretted it. If something happened to me, I think my wife would move it into the kitchen. harrym

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V.E. Dorn spaketh...

I wouldn't stain it. You're not Tage Frid yet, so pine is fine. Years down the road if you want a swanky bench you can build it then. I built mine out of 2X6 SYP. It's great. I built it heavy and I can pound on it, spill things on it, all sorts of abuse. Occasionally I run over it with 60 grit on the ROS.
Build it with bench dogs and clamping in mind.
--
McQualude

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wrote:

I built one with 2x4 pine on their sides, so it's 2" thick. I finished it with 3 coats of shellac, the first one very thin. It looks good, but don't know if I would do it again, seems little point other than cosmetics. I'm half thinking of laying 3/4 particle board on top as a sacrificial layer, but then I'd need to match up all the dog holes etc.
Barry Lennox
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