Mixing SYP and maple in a workbench - any value?

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Forum topic by jwb96 posted 02-06-2020 11:22 PM 343 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 1359 days

02-06-2020 11:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench

I’m planning a split top Roubo, and going with Southern Yellow Pine mainly for cost, and that I haven’t heard too many people regret using it.

That said, I was thinking there may be a few places it would be worth substituting some maple. Namely, for the leg vise and the row of dog holes lined up with the tail vise, as well as the filler between the top. And maybe the front edge and front of the laminated leg of the leg vise.

Anyone have opinions on whether it would improve the bench to mix in maple in any of these spots?

The one thing holding me back is the thought that the two species have such different grain and growth rings, does that risk warping due to differing expansion/contraction rates?


5 replies so far

View GrantA's profile


2279 posts in 2080 days

#1 posted 02-06-2020 11:57 PM

I think that’s a great idea, using a harder wood for the dog holes and the vise chop.
As for mixing the two, they just need to be equally dry. Don’t expect to get yellow pine from the store and use it right away together with kiln dried maple.

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)


5125 posts in 1246 days

#2 posted 02-07-2020 07:20 AM

Betting it’s been done thousands of times. I’ve seen it a lot.

Now inserting Maple into a SYP top, I can’t visualize that, so not sure how it’s gonna work. Make the SYP 3” thick or so, and it will wear fine.

But for a leg vise, an apron, apron to a deadman, this is where I have seen it.

-- Think safe, be safe

View BubbaIBA's profile


539 posts in 3049 days

#3 posted 02-23-2020 06:12 PM


You are over thinking the build. For the bench itself SYP works well and in fact gets harder as it ages. I’ve one bench made with a SYP base and Slab and have had no problems with the dog holes nor the front edge. The one place I would use something other than SYP in the vise chop and parallel guide (if using one, BTW there are better options). On those something like Red Oak (cheaper than Maple) works fine as would Maple.

If cost is a factor there are better options for the build than a Roubo that offer the same stability, an easier build, and with less cost for the wood.


View bondogaposis's profile


5681 posts in 3023 days

#4 posted 02-23-2020 06:48 PM

No problem with that. I did something similar with my Roubo, I used poplar for most of mine except the the front edge and dog hole area, I used ash. The front edge takes most of the abuse.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Andre's profile


3194 posts in 2478 days

#5 posted 02-23-2020 07:14 PM

Base for my bench all Birch and top has one piece of Birch to bring it to desired width. Looks very similar but acts and responds very differently IMHO!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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