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bleedinblue

A Roubo from beams?

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I just spent a few minutes hand planing enough of each beam for identification.  I think only two of them are white oak, one long one is maple, one short one is maple, and the rest is red oak.  Kind of a bummer...not sure where to go from here.  Gotta gnaw on whether I want this bench to be almost entirely red oak.

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Go drop it off on Eri's front lawn.... i heard he loves red oak. :D I get not wanting the bench to be made from red oak. At the same time it'd be cheap and it's just a bench....

Do you have many shop pieces left to build? You could save it for other shop stuff.

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The reality is, there's only a few pieces of wood that make the most visual impact with the bench. The front laminate, end cap, vise chop, and right leg are what you see. You could make the rest out of whatever you wanted and as long as it's functional, it would be fine. On mine I picked those pieces for appearance and used some uglier wood in the laminations.

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11 hours ago, bleedinblue said:

I just spent a few minutes hand planing enough of each beam for identification.  I think only two of them are white oak, one long one is maple, one short one is maple, and the rest is red oak.  Kind of a bummer...not sure where to go from here.  Gotta gnaw on whether I want this bench to be almost entirely red oak.

Blue........ It's a tool, not much different than a wrench in your toolbox.   Maybe I'm old fashioned, but sexy and good looking stuff goes out of the shop, not in.

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I'm pretty sure I'll use it.  It'd be silly for me to not...have all of these beams with nothing to do with it, then spend $800+ for lumber for the bench.  I know someone posted a red oak Roubo on the Guild FB page and it actually looked really good.  I can always look at bleaching or dying it if I really don't like how it looks...but I can probably make it look passable for a work bench.

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I would use it in a heart beat. I havent ever worked with red oak, but with the price of lumber and quantity need for the Roubo I couldn't justify not using it. It will perform just as well as any other hardwood. 

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1 minute ago, drzaius said:

A bench is a great use of red oak. Keeps it out of the furniture supply stream :) 

My wife would thump you.

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37 minutes ago, drzaius said:

A bench is a great use of red oak. Keeps it out of the furniture supply stream :) 

Red Oak is like any wood, grain selection is key.  Staining it is were you get in to trouble with it.

For a work bench, just go for it don't worry about bleaching.  Dying could get you in the same trouble as staining.

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29 minutes ago, Chet said:

Red Oak is like any wood, grain selection is key.  Staining it is were you get in to trouble with it.

For a work bench, just go for it don't worry about bleaching.  Dying could get you in the same trouble as staining.

Okay, full disclosure: I do have some bedroom furniture (unfinished) that we bought years ago that is red oak. But it stains just fine. No blotching or other nastiness. I was able to get a stain mix that reasonably matches the Stickley mission finish.

The only thing to watch for is the open grain that can drink up a ton of stain or dye & then bleed it out for days after.

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I've used red oak twice...once was for a TV stand, I stained it not knowing any better.  I hate that piece and no longer use it.  The other was one of those beer caddy/six pack things.  I only cleared it with poly or something.  It's actually not ugly.  

Any thoughts on moisture content with these things?  They were stickered outside for over five years.  I know Shannon Rodgers says thick beams never really fully dry in a kiln and they're good to use anyway, but I dont know if these should sit in my basement for a substantial amount of time or not.   I just bought a meter but I know I won't get an accurate reading of the middle of the beams.

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I'd try and store them in your shop for as long as possible before using them. If you wanted to get them more dry i'd rip them in half. If you did rip them expect to have to joint them again. I have some 3.25x3.25 beams that did manage to get fully dry after a year or so having them stored in my shop.

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I just checked existing dry wood in the house and shop, it's all between 5-7%.  Checking the beams, that I just brought in the house yesterday, I got readings from 7-14% checking from various locations, including freshly cut ends.  That's better than I expected.  

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I use a strong magnet if i'm only going to work the surface. If you were going to resaw then it might be important to get a detector.

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On 2/5/2019 at 12:38 PM, Chet said:

Red Oak is like any wood, grain selection is key.  Staining it is were you get in to trouble with it.

For a work bench, just go for it don't worry about bleaching.  Dying could get you in the same trouble as staining.

That is interesting. I've generally had good success staining red oak. It seems to readily accept penetrating stains, and I don't seem to have blotchiness issues. 

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I agree with Isaac, red oak stains pretty well.  If you go too dark it can really make the grain pattern strong, perhaps that is what is turnin people off on this.  

As for a work bench, I would not hesitate too much on red oak if that's what was available to me.

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Since I was old when I built my bench, I used two slabs of 4" by 11" poplar.  There's no chance in hell that I'll wear it out or destroy it.  Besides it's a tool and is gonna get used hard.

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It looks like I'll probably get the slabs glued up this weekend.  I didn't forsee even starting this build for weeks or months.  

I think I'm going to get the back slab out of three beams.  I think they're clean and square enough, and three beams are right at 11".  Sacrificing 1/8", but I'm ok with that.  Having three boards to keep aligned instead of four (or seven 8/4 boards) will be nice.

Two beams are going to put me pretty shy of the 7 13/16 or whatever the front slab should be.  I guess I'll have to add on a thin board to get close to that.

 

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6 minutes ago, bleedinblue said:

I didn't forsee even starting this build for weeks or months.

Well building the bench now is a good way to get the lumber out of your way.

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45 minutes ago, bleedinblue said:

It looks like I'll probably get the slabs glued up this weekend.  I didn't forsee even starting this build for weeks or months.  

I think I'm going to get the back slab out of three beams.  I think they're clean and square enough, and three beams are right at 11".  Sacrificing 1/8", but I'm ok with that.  Having three boards to keep aligned instead of four (or seven 8/4 boards) will be nice.

Two beams are going to put me pretty shy of the 7 13/16 or whatever the front slab should be.  I guess I'll have to add on a thin board to get close to that.

 

For what it's worth, I added a bit of width to both of my slabs to end up with total width of about 25 1/2".  This way I can more easily work with wider pieces.  The overall construction is the same.  All you have to do is size your small rails appropriately for the wider top.  I also made my gap stop 2" wide to more easily accept clamps.

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