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I have been researching workbenches - plans materials etc. - and while I can't really afford what I want right now, I have become confused about something.

Is Ash a suitable wood for a workbench top? Maple seems to be the standard, but it is only a little harder than ash. (Ash is just below white oak, in most hardness ratings I can find.)


But the big difference is price. A local supplier has 4/4 ash for $2.80 per board foot, while hard maple is $6.25 per board foot. Larger pieces are closer in price, so maybe it isn't as much of a problem as I think it might be.

But then why choose maple? It isn't near the top of the hardness scale? Brazilian Cherry is almost twice as hard as hard maple. (Don't know the cost…) And ipe is harder still (though it is difficult to machine).

So why use one and not another? When should you avoid a certain wood?
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