I am working (slowly) on a workbench and was wondering if there is a reason
on not using oak for the top? Other than it's not as hard as maple.
I have a bunch of 8/4 oak and want to make the top out of this wood, I like
oak as my favorite wood so that is why the question.....Brian
One suggestion that I picked up from an article in a very old FWW. Put
an edge of softer wood around the top. That way it'll get dinged
instead of the prize project you just bumped against it :-). I used
Maple and Beech are traditional and may offer some advantages....but oak
will work fine.
I started on one myself this past week end, top will be ash, base will be
oak. I'm replacing a bench I made 25 years ago. The top was build up using 2
layers of particle board, then a layer of 4/4 oak. Lots of character.
If you are the adventrous type, make the top up out of 1 1/2 strips of oak,
glued up face to face. About 36 strips will give you a nice 28" top with
the side grain showing. Looks nice and removes the splinter problem.
You will want a hand power plane and a good belt sander, as well as three
men and a boy to move it, but makes a nice stable top.
Any standard Oak, red or white, and Ash (too soft) are both too open
grained, closed grained is what you want like hard or soft Maple and
Euro or American Beech. Euro Beech and hard rock sugar maple are
the best for the job, though as well Ipe (Pao Lope) decking boards
(harder, common) could be ripped and laminated together with epoxy,
but it would be harder on the cutting edges of hand tools. Southern
Yellow Pine (SYP) would be a good choice if you can get it, so
would Osage Orange.
If you use the Oak you would save bucks. When the top becomes worn,
deeply nicked too much and grain becomes more open from wear, you
would hand plane it down, therefore make it a thick top to begin with,
like 3". It will still last you for many years anyway, so don't sweat it. The
Oak is definitely hard and strong enough to do the job.
Alex - newbie_neander in woodworking
On Wed, 13 Apr 2005 20:49:54 -0400, "Brian In Hampton"
The only reason I could think of is that it has open grain that will
feel a little rough to the touch, but other than that, I can't imagine
it would make anything less than a superb bench top.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
The only problem I could forsee with oak is possible difficulties with
fasteners for building the bench ie attaching the legs to the top. I
have had some bad experiences with oak cabinets, moulding, etc, and I
could only see these problems being a much bigger deal on larger pieces
such as a bench top.
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