Workbench material question

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Forum topic by Kevin posted 02-27-2008 05:11 AM 8865 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Kevin's profile


291 posts in 4468 days

02-27-2008 05:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: ash pine workbench knotty pine reclaimed recycled

As some of you have probably read, I recently found out the house I am tearing down has rough cut Ash studs in it. I am think I will use these for my workbench top.
(see my blog on the house process: )

There is also some 2” x 6” clear pine that was used for the door jambs. It seems really heavy for pine, but I am pretty sure that is what it is.

Do you think the pine would be better for the workbench base or do you think the Ash would be better?

I plan to use it for some hand tool work, but it will also get used for some portable power tool jobs as well. I want a vise on the front and the side. I haven’t fully decided on the design and am in the process of reading Chris’s Workbench book right now.

The pine will clean up at 2×6 and the Ash probably closer to 1 3/4×3 3/4.

-- Kevin, Wichita, Kansas

8 replies so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4498 days

#1 posted 02-27-2008 06:05 AM

Since ash is at least twice as hard as pine, I would use the ash for the top and pine for the base.

I used southern yellow pine for the base on my table and it works great.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4385 days

#2 posted 02-27-2008 06:15 AM

I think the pine would be fine for the base. I’ve seen several very sturdy benches built on pine frames. Personally, I’d use the ash for the whole thing if I had enough ash available … but it would just be out of personal preference.

-- -- --

View jcees's profile


1077 posts in 4309 days

#3 posted 02-27-2008 04:19 PM

Either way you’ll have a fine bench using those two woods. My bench is ALL Southern Yellow Pine and was fabricated from 2x material. Mostly from 2”x12”x16’ so I could avoid knots and wany grain. The thing I like about the SYP for the top is that it’s not as slippery as a “hardwood” top. Again, either wood will suffice and comes down to what you can get from the amount of material you have or can attain.

Not mentioned but important, let that stuff acclimate for a season or two in your space before you build it. Keep us informed and put up some pics. We all love the benches.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Belle City Woodworking's profile

Belle City Woodworking

356 posts in 4527 days

#4 posted 02-27-2008 04:22 PM

I would echo what Gary said…...Ash for the top and pine for the base. Should work great.


-- Formerly known as John's Woodshop - and NO not the one from Ohio!

View TampaTom's profile


74 posts in 4264 days

#5 posted 02-27-2008 08:24 PM

Hey, if you have the ash for the top, go for it.

My workbench is an old front entry door… I got it for free and it works pretty well for me! :D

-- Tom's Workbench -

View Kevin's profile


291 posts in 4468 days

#6 posted 02-28-2008 04:48 AM

Thanks for the advice guys.

I think I will try out the pine on the stand after all. I figured it’d be OK, but it is always nice to have other thoughts on things.

Thank you.

-- Kevin, Wichita, Kansas

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4500 days

#7 posted 02-28-2008 03:15 PM

Mine’s all pine in the base and pressure treated where the wood meets the floor. I’ve had no problem with it and if it gets dinged…so what. Costs less too.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4472 days

#8 posted 02-28-2008 03:31 PM

My new bench (see my projects) has a pine base. Works very well.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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