Paul Sellers bench - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-11-2017, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Paul Sellers bench

I am considering building a Paul Sellers style woodworking bench. I am thinking that a 3 1/2" top (ala laminating 2x4s) is the right (and typical) thickness for the top.

So I went over to my local Home Depot and was looking at the options for stock for this thing. I could go with 14 pieces of 2x4 construction whitewood, 7 pieces per side. With the aprons, that would give me 24" of top (not including the well width). That is the most conventional way to go.

BUT ...

HD also has these 4x4 Douglas Fir (NOT pressure treated) pieces, 8 feet long. So I could do something like 4 of those on one side of the well and 3 on the other side. That would give me 15 1/2" on one side of the well and 12" on the other side (after adding in the width of the aprons). Unfortunately, the edges ARE rounded over, so I will have to plane or rip them off as well.

I like the idea of the Douglas as it would save on the glue-up time and effort, and they are a nice brown color.

Compared to whitewood, is Douglas easier/harder to work with, from the perspective of cutting dadoes, mortises and tenons?

Are there any other down sides to using 4x4 Douglas that I am not aware of?

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-11-2017, 05:25 PM
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Larger pieces, greater force applied when they start warping ... if they start warping, if they're straight now. With 2x4s, there's more glued surface, and less warping strength.

If they aren't straight, planing might be more of an issue ... but that's not an official statement, as I've never planed them.
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-11-2017, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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So how about ripping the 4x4s and then laminating them .. would that be better/good enough?
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-11-2017, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Been reading other threads on this topic ... now I'm thinking I might be better off with 2x4s from the start, or a 2x8 with the rounded edges removed and then ripped in half ...

ugh ... so much indecision ... :(

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post #5 of 10 Old 04-11-2017, 08:48 PM
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If those 2by's are white wood,i'd pass on them, and go with the douglas fir, the wood is very stiff and strong for its weight, and is also among the hardest and heaviest softwoods commercially available in North America.
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-11-2017, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canarywood1 View Post
If those 2by's are white wood,i'd pass on them, and go with the douglas fir, the wood is very stiff and strong for its weight, and is also among the hardest and heaviest softwoods commercially available in North America.
They have both at my local Home Depot.

I had already started on a glue/lam using the cheapest crap they have ... the 2x3s ($1.88 each). I have a 9-piece and a 7-piece glued up. I started planing them tonight to see how they turn out. I'm actually surprised at how well it is cleaning up.

It is alot of work though ... look at all those shavings!

I guess I should finish this one up ... I am new at this, so it is a great learning experience.

Then I might start all over again with the douglas.
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-11-2017, 09:54 PM
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When dealing with 2 X 4's, the white woods (Spruce, white Pine, Hemlock) are the softest.
Fir is harder than white wood but Yellow Pine is the hardest of the group.
I don't think you will be happy with a top made of White Wood.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-11-2017, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sure you are right ... but I am also pretty sure I will like it more than my current bench top. I have a new fangled bench, and while i like the idea of it, and it is very flexible, the front apron on it has warped, the top is not flat, and there is not enough solid surface area for my liking.
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post #9 of 10 Old 04-11-2017, 11:54 PM
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I made my top out of white wood from home depot as it was literally all I could afford at the time. That was something like 6 months ago and if I had to do it again I would pass on it.

Its holding up well enough I suppose but its really easy to damage. For example: I was boring out a hole and a round piece of oak that was maybe 1/32nd of an inch thick did not get cleared when I set the workpiece back down on the table and that little piece lodged itself into the top and left a rather nasty hole.

A work bench is going to get chewed up either way but I have so much damage to my top already that I could have avoided if I had gotten some better wood.

Measure 6 times, cut 3. Plane it down wrong and go buy a second board.
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-13-2017, 04:33 PM
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I ripped segments out of 2x12 SYP boards for my Paul Sellers workbench and have been very happy with it. Yes, it dents easier than hardwood and after seven months or so it does look well used. On my website I reviewed Paul Sellers book which includes a bit on the workbench build - Working Wood 1 & 2. Here's a photo of the bench top:
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