The first choice for my new workbench was really the easiest choice. I like building shop work devises from Douglas Fir. Anything from sawbenches, workbenches, shaving horses, or whatever, I like to use DF. Why? It is cheaper than most woods, even if you buy the really nice vertical grain DF, which is a fancy way of saying rift or quarter sawn, and it has really good stability and strength.
The DF that I am using for this workbench is mostly rift sawn wood and is about 99% clear. Meaning that the end grain runs at about a 45+ degree to near vertical direction and there are only a couple small knots in all the wood that I am using for the bench.
A couple more things I will say about DF is that it can be easy to work with, but your tools need to be supper sharp. VG DF is one of the easiest wood to work because the growth rings are close enough together that the wood just shears off nice and easy. However, the really good stuff will have hard spots or just be harder in general, and require a really sharp blade. So when building a bench from DF, stop often and sharped your blades, it will save you several gallons of sweat I swear.These harder areas are areas where more resin has set up, or seasoned in the boards, and these more resinous areas can be very difficult to plane without a wicked sharp blade. Now, these boards are not "sappy" , they have already cured and have trapped all the resin in place. This makes the boards more rigid and dense, and not as soft and flexible as young growth 2x4's that are more commonly used in house construction. Basically, there is a big difference between the 2x6's that you get at the big box stores and the VG DF 2x6's that I used to construct my bench tops. And for those wondering, the boards that I am using have been air dried (10+ years more than likely) and not kiln dried. I purchased them from a home builder friend of my that keeps a lot of this stuff on hand in storage for finish work in homes. Best part, I paid what he paid for them 10+ years ago, so yeah me for being thrifty.
The other wood that I want to talk about is Keruing wood. You ever hear of it before, maybe you have, it has about 70 different names and is used for many things. Basically, it is a type of Teak wood that comes from South East Asia. It is used to make outdoor furniture and even for truck trailer beds. I actually got a good size piece that was in a junk yard. I guess it never made it on the trailer it was bound for so I got it for $20. Yeah me for being cheap. The wood had been outside for a long time, but even after planing down the true 2" by 6" piece, I was able to glue up 4 legs that are 3 3/4" by 5 3/4" . They were a little splintery so I did seal them with a coat of lacquer, but they are supper strong and heavy and are perfect for legs.
I guess I mention the wood for the legs for two reasons. One, I know people are going to ask because it doesn't look like DF at all. Second, think out of the box when it comes to the undercarriage of the workbench. I don't believe the wood for the undercarriage matters all that much. It just needs to be strong and heavy, and I think it is the perfect opportunity to add character to a workbench.
I hope everyone enjoys the bench build. I should have the first video up soon, and if you just joined me you can catch up by clicking on the category Split Top Roubo on the right hand side of the screen. The link will take you to all the posts regarding the Split Top Roubo build.
Like always. If you have questions or comments please let me know. I am just sitting here at my computer just waiting for you to write me.
Now get in the shop and have some fun. I know I am.