Workbench lumber question
#21
  Re: Workbench lumber question by ®smpr_fi_mac® (My next "me" project...)
(12-06-2018, 03:34 PM)®smpr_fi_mac® Wrote: My next "me" project is going to be my Roubo workbench.  It'll be a budget build, with borg dimensional lumber.

My question is where to find the clear SYP that I see in all the YouTube videos?  Everything I see at HD or Lowe's is full of knots.  To be honest, I don't care if there are knots in the project; I've never been bothered by them.  I know one concern is that they can rip out when planing the top, but otherwise, are they a problem?

If so, where the heck do I find clear lumber without breaking the bank?

Mac,

Look for the 2x12s at Lowes and cut it down.  You may need to cull through the stack. I have seen them at the Lowe's near Gaithersburg, but not much of the smaller sizes. The further south you go you may find smaller sizes. I visited my mother in Tennessee and they had them there. I am using SYP for the base and ASH for the top on my Roubo.

84 lumber or similar may have them too. They probably carry the larger 2x12s as floor joists.
WoodTinker
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#22
  Re: Workbench lumber question by ®smpr_fi_mac® (My next "me" project...)
How thick are you looking to go Mac? The reason I ask is that when I considered the costs and time involved to acquire, machine, and glue up a benchtop, I found a supplier in California that supplies monster thick slabs for bars/restaurants, etc. could send me a maple top for only a bit more than what a borg lumber bench top would run me.

You'd still need to design and build the base of course, but the top is a LOT of glue/machine/weight challenges. Only a thought.

http://perfectplank.com/ . The wildwood option rocks - http://perfectplank.com/maplewildwood.html

well.. he77, looks like the 3" thick stuff is no longer on their site? Might want to call and see if they still have it as a product. My top was 2 7/8" 30"x72" when I bought it a number (10-12) of years ago.

Michael
Every day find time to appreciate life. It is far too short and 'things' happen. 
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#23
  Re: Workbench lumber question by ®smpr_fi_mac® (My next "me" project...)
Being on the west coast I went with Doug Fir. Sorting through the lumberyard's 20' x 12" x 2" pieces, each yields four pieces for an 8' x 4" benchtop. A yard worker joined in the spirit and helped me find the good pieces. They did the first cut so I has only hailing 10' pieces home.
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#24
  Re: Workbench lumber question by ®smpr_fi_mac® (My next "me" project...)
I have made about 200 work benches in the past for manufacturers lab benches etc. All but 7 were softwood benches 3-5/16" thick.
Your bench appears to be more like 6" thick. First I would select 2x6 or 2x8 stock depending on the final height. Look for straight, no wind, only small hard knots  and make sure the boards look light in color. Dark boards are wet and heavy, reject them.
Rip boards over size and sticker until you get to 11% or less. Most construction lumber is more like 19%. Depending on your location it can take 5/10 months to get to 11%.
When ready to machine you must joint one edge and one face first. The second edge can be sawn to width. The opposite face is then planed. The boards should be flat, the slight rounded edge is now gone. Each edge is now a sharp corner. 
I used 5/16" all thread bolts  in addition to yellow glue to laminate the boards. I suggest you use two all threads at 16" centers starting 8" from one end. Example, 2 @ 8", 2@ 24" , 2@ 40" etc, measure from one end. My benches are half the thickness of yours so I only need one at each dimension. Bore 1/2" hole for the all threads. Make sure the holes line up before gluing. I would use an epoxy glue because of the open time. Yellow glue may not be suitable because of the width of your boards. Use two clamps ,one above the other at each interval. I use clamps 6" from each end and 4 more spaced on a 84" long bench.
Glue 3 at a time. 16 boards will give you about 24" wide. Then glue up the sections with the all threads installed . Leave the all threads the width of the top and bore a 5/8" deep hole ,the diameter shall be larger than your socket. Install a washer and nut, push thru til it come thru the opposite side. Install washer and nut and pull up tight. The all thread will be too long at first. Same thing on all the all threads. When done, cut the excess all thread off with a Dremel tool .If you choose to hide the all threads with a face board then skip cutting off excess and just back bore for all thread excess.
Your bench will be heavy, get help to turn it over. 
Almost forgot, make sure the faces are flat, not necessary the boards perfectly straight as clamping will take care of that. If boards have any twist , flatten again as it is not feasible to clamp twist flat again. You will have to hand plane any ridges , I would not attempt to belt sand as this usually makes it worse. Orbital or palm sander will take out any plane marks. A card scraper will work too if you are familiar with one.
I shellacked each face and ends with a 1/1/2 lb cut of dewaxed shellac. This seals the bench, more shellac, varnish etc can be added if wanted. 
mike
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#25
  Re: Workbench lumber question by ®smpr_fi_mac® (My next "me" project...)
When I started my Roubo style bench, I wanted to use SYP but, like you, I found it extremely expensive for good quality stuff. I got lucky and found a wholesaler in local hardwoods who had some excess birch he was willing to let go at a price I could afford. So, my was made from birch. It has a 4" thick top and is finished with BLO. I was told to leave the top a bit rough (but flattened) to reduce work pieces sliding and that seems to have worked well for me. The birch was air dried and I had it in my shop for about 2 years before I finished the bench. So far, it's working well.

Look around for local hardware wholesalers or lumber mills,. you might get lucky.


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Jim

Demonstrating every day that enthusiasm cannot overcome a lack of talent!
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#26
  Re: Workbench lumber question by ®smpr_fi_mac® (My next "me" project...)
(12-06-2018, 03:34 PM)®smpr_fi_mac® Wrote: My next "me" project is going to be my Roubo workbench.  It'll be a budget build, with borg dimensional lumber.

My question is where to find the clear SYP that I see in all the YouTube videos?  Everything I see at HD or Lowe's is full of knots.  To be honest, I don't care if there are knots in the project; I've never been bothered by them.  I know one concern is that they can rip out when planing the top, but otherwise, are they a problem?

If so, where the heck do I find clear lumber without breaking the bank?

Hard to find up in this neck 'o the woods. What is sold at the "BORG" up[ here is not SYP.  It's "White Wood" or Fir. Genuinely don't think either is suitable to a workbench top.

Try a traditional lumber yard. And don't expect "clear" lumber.  Doesn't exist any longer.

I've been able to get Poplar from my local hardwood store cheaper than dimensional lumber at lumberyards.  Nothing wrong with Poplar once you get over the slightly purple color...

good luck,

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#27
  Re: Workbench lumber question by ®smpr_fi_mac® (My next "me" project...)
Yep as others have indicated you buy 2x12 or 2x10 and rip 4.5 to 5” off each edge. Pick your boards and it’only takes a few trips to get enough clear edges. Effectively 0.70 a board foot or $1 if you don’t count and burn the waste.

Another thing. Look for the edges to be rift grain. Then Your syp bench looks uniform with striped grain lines. If you pick the stuff that’s perfectly quartered on the edges (pith in the middle) then you get the cathedral/curly grain throughout the top and it looks funny. Harder to plane too. Ask me how I know that.

Good luck!
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#28
  Re: Workbench lumber question by ®smpr_fi_mac® (My next "me" project...)
Hey Brad,

The first thing I built was my workbench. The only tool I had was my miter saw and an assortment of hand tools. As you can imagine, there was no planning or jointing. It was all very basic. I still have the bench today and it still works great. The top is made from two 3/4 pieces of MDS with a 1/4 piece of plywood on top which is.... hold your ears and cover your eyes... screwed in! The reason is I like to replace the 1/4" ply every few years as it gets very dinged up. I would not worry about the knots in the wood. I know some people like to build beautiful benches and that is cool but to me a bench is something that is going to get paint on it and nicks, dings and scratches.

Just my two cents.
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#29
  Re: Workbench lumber question by ®smpr_fi_mac® (My next "me" project...)
Thanks for a ll the advice, folks.

I'm not at all worried about the appearance of this bench, so knots aren't a problem. I'm building it on a budget, buying a few sticks of lumber at a time over a few months; I've only grabbed a few so I might just put the money into savings and go buy some rough sawn poplar instead, as mentioned above.

The lumber I've bought so far is 2x10; I plan on cutting it down. It's more white than yellow, so I guess it's fir.

MichaelS--

My intention is 4" thick across the top, with two 3" thick strips running down near the outer edges where my dogholes will go. Looking at those prices for the laminated maple blanks, it might be worth grabbing two and then gluing them down to plywood substrates.
Semper fi,
Brad

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#30
  Re: Workbench lumber question by ®smpr_fi_mac® (My next "me" project...)
(12-07-2018, 10:30 PM)mike4244 Wrote: I have made about 200 work benches in the past for manufacturers lab benches etc. All but 7 were softwood benches 3-5/16" thick.
Your bench appears to be more like 6" thick. First I would select 2x6 or 2x8 stock depending on the final height. Look for straight, no wind, only small hard knots  and make sure the boards look light in color. Dark boards are wet and heavy, reject them.
Rip boards over size and sticker until you get to 11% or less. Most construction lumber is more like 19%. Depending on your location it can take 5/10 months to get to 11%.
When ready to machine you must joint one edge and one face first. The second edge can be sawn to width. The opposite face is then planed. The boards should be flat, the slight rounded edge is now gone. Each edge is now a sharp corner. 
I used 5/16" all thread bolts  in addition to yellow glue to laminate the boards. I suggest you use two all threads at 16" centers starting 8" from one end. Example, 2 @ 8", 2@ 24" , 2@ 40" etc, measure from one end. My benches are half the thickness of yours so I only need one at each dimension. Bore 1/2" hole for the all threads. Make sure the holes line up before gluing. I would use an epoxy glue because of the open time. Yellow glue may not be suitable because of the width of your boards. Use two clamps ,one above the other at each interval. I use clamps 6" from each end and 4 more spaced on a 84" long bench.
Glue 3 at a time. 16 boards will give you about 24" wide. Then glue up the sections with the all threads installed . Leave the all threads the width of the top and bore a 5/8" deep hole ,the diameter shall be larger than your socket. Install a washer and nut, push thru til it come thru the opposite side. Install washer and nut and pull up tight. The all thread will be too long at first. Same thing on all the all threads. When done, cut the excess all thread off with a Dremel tool .If you choose to hide the all threads with a face board then skip cutting off excess and just back bore for all thread excess.
Your bench will be heavy, get help to turn it over. 
Almost forgot, make sure the faces are flat, not necessary the boards perfectly straight as clamping will take care of that. If boards have any twist , flatten again as it is not feasible to clamp twist flat again. You will have to hand plane any ridges , I would not attempt to belt sand as this usually makes it worse. Orbital or palm sander will take out any plane marks. A card scraper will work too if you are familiar with one.
I shellacked each face and ends with a 1/1/2 lb cut of dewaxed shellac. This seals the bench, more shellac, varnish etc can be added if wanted. 
mike

Mike,

This is pretty close to the steps I was planning on doing. Hadn't really considered the all-thread option; might incorporate that into it.
Semper fi,
Brad

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