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Alternative to Douglas FIr


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#1 Wayne 57

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:57 PM

I am new to this forum although I have enjoyed the WW before. I hope this topic/question is in the right area.

I am about to begin a project building a workbench. the plans call for douglas fir but being on the east coast, supplies are limited. When I have found suppliers, they want a considerable amount of money for the wood.

Does anyone have an idea for a good alternative? It has to be a clear grain and durable. Maple would be great, but I am pretty sure I would end up in divorce court or bankcruptcy court... haha.

Thank you for any ideas!

Wayne

#2 jwatson

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 02:01 PM

do you have Southern Yellow Pine available to you? I used it in my bench.

#3 RenaissanceWW

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:51 AM

For a workbench, use whatever is locally available and cheap. I built mine from Ash because I was able to get 8 and 12/4 material for a song. At the same time the typical big box store Hem/Fir out here works just as well. Of course depending on where you are, I carry Douglas Fir timbers and may be able to help,

#4 SignWave

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:18 PM

Dimensional lumber (2x4, 2x6, etc) is usually available locally in either doug fir or soft yellow pine. Use whatever they have locally, I think. I laminated my bench top from doug fir 2x10's ripped in thirds. I found that there were fewer knots in the larger width boards, and the boards didn't twist as much as the 2x4's.

I have no delusions about this bench being handed down to my grandchildren, but the bench functions wll for my purposes.

#5 WoodChip

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:37 PM

Dimensional lumber (2x4, 2x6, etc) is usually available locally in either doug fir or soft yellow pine. Use whatever they have locally, I think. I laminated my bench top from doug fir 2x10's ripped in thirds. I found that there were fewer knots in the larger width boards, and the boards didn't twist as much as the 2x4's.

I have no delusions about this bench being handed down to my grandchildren, but the bench functions wll for my purposes.


See if your supplier has 'kiln dried' lumber. Our local lumber yard has a small supply - well worth the higher price for nice, straight, dry lumber. Shop where you can pick and choose what you buy! It's not uncommon to find better lumber in the long stock; 10, 12, 16, etc. Lay each piece you select on the floor (assuming it's flat) and check for twist.

-Don

#6 TRBaker

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 06:38 PM

Good advice, Woodchip

#7 Darth Rust

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 07:28 AM

I second the Southern Yellow Pine option. I built my Roubo out of it last spring, all of it from a big box store and I have zero regrets. It cost me something like $180 for the whole project (minus glue and vises). If you google around enough you'll find workbenches build of just about anything that's inexpensive and available. Or there are plenty of benches built out of leftovers where you'll see odities like purpleheart, pine, and walnut in one lamination. The usefulness of a workbench is mostly bound up in the design itself, not the wood.

Some tips: Avoid 2x4s like the plague. They tend to be the leftovers from other processes and will move quite a bit when cut into any other dimensions (even planed a little). 2" x 8" , 2" x 10", and 2" x 12" worked great, whatever works for your cuts. Get the clearest, flattest, straightest grained boards you can but a few solid knots didn't seem to bother anything. Have no fear of pulling 40 of boards out of the bin until you found the three you really want. Pass on the ones that were on the outside of the bundle and have all the staples or forklift bites, they were more trouble than they were worth. I know there's somewhat of a debate on the topic, but I really did find that SYP laminations moved a lot less than single boards. I didn't have a lot of parts less than 1 1 /2" on a side, so it wasn't an issue usually. Lastly, the SYP built up a lot of sap/resin on my blades very quickly, particularly in the planer. I recall a few evenings of just cleaning blades at the end of the day, moreso than I would otherwise expect.

In any event, it came out great and I have zero regrets.
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#8 Cochese

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:11 PM

SYP. Although it will turn and twist on you if you look at it wrong.

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#9 lighthearted

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:14 AM

I am actually not a big fan right now of building with Doug Fir. I am working on a loft bed project right and instead of using pine 4x4 i went with Doug Fir. I don't really like the way it cut and am not enjoying the joinery. very splintery. I wish the 4x4 wash available in pine was available when I went to the lumber yard.