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Master firewood maker
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This will be my thread documenting the build of my next and hopefully last bench. I will post lots of pics, and ask questions as I go.
 

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Master firewood maker
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i feel like the base is the weakest link in the whole bench, so that is the part where mine will be different. it will still look similar, but they will be much beefier and sturdy.

i am also thinking i will use 2x3s face-glued together. i will rip 1/4" off each side to remove the rounded edges and end up with a 2" thick top. that way, i have a beefier top and the support for the top is simply a 2x4.
 

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I'm considering doing the same thing this weekend. The 2x3 idea is actually pretty common now from what I have read.

I'm pricing ash today, if it comes out way over budget, I'll just use white pine, and border it with an ash skirt for my vice and durability.

I'll be watching your build, good luck!!
 

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I have been planning on a bench build for a while once I catch up on some other things, but I believe yellow pine is recommended over white pine. The latter is too soft, whereas the former will harden to fairly respectable hardness after a bit of time. This is from Chris Schwarz's book.

Around here yellow pine is less available but is not really more expensive than white pine, so you may want to look into that.
 

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Master firewood maker
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Discussion Starter #6
i am going to be using douglas fir as much as i can
 

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Chris have you given any thought to using something wider than a 2x3 for the top, maybe a 2x10? That would be less waste with only two edges to remove and you could get 4 widths out of each board. It would also give you an extra 1/4" to your top thickness (minus blade thickness) which could be a plus or minus depending on your needs. I haven't priced anything, but that is one thing I am considering for my bench build.
 

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Master firewood maker
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Discussion Starter #8
So the guy picked up my other bench tonight. Maybe I didn't ask enough for it, but the goal was to sell it quickly, and I didn't lose money on it, so it's all good.

TRC, I have given that some thought. If I thicken the top too much, then there won't be enough room in the well side walls for the holes for the front vises, so I'd have to go to a 4" well, and that would mean ripping a 2x10 or a couple of 2x6s. I think that is more work than it is worth. But I'll chew on it some more.

I used $18 of it for the lumber for the legs. I think it's hemlock fir, if that makes sense ... the stamp says "hem fir" on it. Here is the plan for the legs:
 

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Creative sawdust maker
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Having built one I was surprised at how sturdy it is. I haven't had any issues with the base.
 

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Master firewood maker
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Discussion Starter #10
Chris have you given any thought to using something wider than a 2x3 for the top, maybe a 2x10? That would be less waste with only two edges to remove and you could get 4 widths out of each board. It would also give you an extra 1/4" to your top thickness (minus blade thickness) which could be a plus or minus depending on your needs. I haven't priced anything, but that is one thing I am considering for my bench build.
I can't get doug fir anyway in the 2x3s, so I think I will now be going with a 2x12 16 foot and a 2x8 8 foot sized framing lumber. That should give me enough that I can machine it as needed and glue up a solid DF top.

Now I have to decide if I should return this HEM-FIR I got for the legs. I have not cut anything yet, so that is still an option.

It has a fairly reddish tone to it, so it actualy looks similar to the DF.

But it would probably be better to stick with all the same wood, so I will probably return the HEM-FIR.
 
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Master firewood maker
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Discussion Starter #12
dave, i am confident it is douglas fir.

they have the DF in 2x6 and larger, not 2x4 or 2x3.

if i get the 2x8 and rip it down the middle, i can get 2 pieces 3 1/2" wide, to make my own 2x4s for the legs.

i need 3 2x4s for each leg assembly. if i get 2 2x4s out of one 2x8, then i need 3 2x8s for the legs.

so the question is, should i or should i not return the hem-fir i bought for the legs and get 3 pieces of 2x8 douglas fir?

i think i probably should. yes or no?
 

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Chris, I honestly don't know if it will really make a difference between the hem-fir and doug fir, but since you are leaning towards returning the hem-fir I would do that. If you don't and something doesn't turn out right, you'll always be kicking yourself. Since this is a project you will be living with for a long time and something you'll be looking at every time you pick up a tool, just get the Douglas fir and be done with it. Then there will be no second guessing.
 

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worked in a mill when I went to school- big difference from doug fir to the hem fir. The fir in hem fir is white fir. Soft- coarse and not very strong. At that time it was all shipped east- because it was lighter and shipping was cheaper. If you still can I would take it back.
 
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Master firewood maker
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Discussion Starter #15
i went back and got the doug fir ... one 16 foot long 2x10. i had them cut it in half for me so i could get it in the car.

it bugs me that even though it is sold as a 2x10, in reality it was 1 1/2 x 9 1/4. i was kinda counting on that extra 1/4"

time to make a new rip and cut list.
 

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Good choice on getting the dougfir, there's a reason it's used for the top and bottom plates in residential construction...it's strength.
 

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i went back and got the doug fir ... one 16 foot long 2x10. i had them cut it in half for me so i could get it in the car.

it bugs me that even though it is sold as a 2x10, in reality it was 1 1/2 x 9 1/4. i was kinda counting on that extra 1/4"

time to make a new rip and cut list.
I do not know why the construction lumber industry defines the sizes the way that they do, but starting with "8in" the width is 1/4in not 1/2in. :furious:

So "8in" is actually 7 1/4in, "10in" is actually 9 1/4in etc.

Rough cut hardwoods are the dimensions as expected, since we normally pay by the board foot.
 

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Master firewood maker
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Discussion Starter #18
So, the problem now is ... how the heck am I going to mill this stuff? I have what could be considered one of the cheapest, crappiest little table saws made ... a Skil 3400. I guess I'll just try to send it through and see what happens.
 

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So, the problem now is ... how the heck am I going to mill this stuff? I have what could be considered one of the cheapest, crappiest little table saws made ... a Skil 3400. I guess I'll just try to send it through and see what happens.
Since you only have the crappy Skil table saw, then you have to either use this or hand saw which is a LOT of elbow grease.

If you have a jig saw or circular saw and a stiff straight edge you would have other options.

If the boards are straight and have little or no internal stresses, you should get decent rips. You will likely need to use a hand plane to remove burn or saw blade marks.

To help with the short table depth, I would have some support on the outfeed so that you are only pushing the wood, not pushing and preventing it from lifting, which is a potential for kickback.
 
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