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Planning on building a Roubo bench and most suggestions is SYP or Douglas fir, which I assume is because of cost. I have a friend that has cut some true 2" oak and it's been stickered for a few years now. Got opertunity to get it at good price. Is oak a good choice for the slabs for split top?
 

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Well, oak does tend to be stable when dry. When
I buy oak for client jobs the boards are usually not
much trouble to mill flat. It's predictable that way.

In flattening you may find the oak gets some ugly
tearout. Maple and other wood tear out too, but
with maple it's not as ugly imo. It's a workbench,
not a fine furniture piece after all.

If you do metal work on your oak bench you may
get fine metal dust in the pores and this could
be an annoyance. I'm just speculating. My own
main bench is maple and cherry and the top
gets dirty from metal but the pores aren't open
so clogging isn't really an issue. That's my main
concern about porous wood benches. I actually
have an oak bench some hobbiest built that I bought
used because it's the old traditional style with the
tail vise and shoulder vise. I just find the old style
with the wood vises handsome.
 

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My work bench is oak, and she has seen many a furniture project. She is now very experienced, has a beautiful patina, and does a fine job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow Smitty, is that a show piece or do you actually use it. Looks like glass on top.

He's gonna check and see just how much he's got. He knows there's enough for the tops and I'm hoping there's enough for complete bench. It just keeps getting better. I talked to him again and ask him to figure out how much he has and give me a price. He says if I can use it just come and get it. Not gonna do that, of course. He's got a portable sawmill and he's got time and hard work into getting those boards out of the tree so I will pay him in some form or another. it's good to have true friends and I do appreciate you thoughts and directions as well.
 

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My bench is built from burr oak, had some 2" thick, I planed it flat, surfaced the pieces and glued it up in 2 pieces approx 12" wide, and glued the 2 up separately. Then I surfaced the pieces and glued the 2 together. My planer is only 15" wide, so could not do the whole thing at one time. Made it 3 1/2" thick. It is now 10 years old and just as solid as when it was new.
 

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Doug Fir is very good…when it is in the form of a Glu-Laminated beam. the wood used to make Glu-lams is very dense, tight grained wood. it will hold up to most anything you can throw at it.
If you are making a Doug Fir bench by gluing up construction grade 2x 's, then you can expect more surface damage.
However, most oak will exceed any form of Doug Fir.
 
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