Slab Top Workbench

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
I’m in the planning stage of a workbench too to replace my old one. Please ignore the messy bench—that is my current setup.

Backstory: When not in use my unisaw lives under my workbench. My current bench is a solid core wooden door. I purchased a new fence for my unisaw and it does not fit under my current workbench, so I’m now making a new saw cart and need a new top for the cart to fit under.

I was planning to use SYP cut into 3” to 3.5” strips, but found a guy on FB marketplace selling 2” oak slabs for $85. My guess is that they are not very dry, but I’m wondering if 2” would be sufficient for a workbench top spanning 84” long by 36” wide?
 

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Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
This may not be a concern for you, but the way I use my bench, I would be concerned about a slab staying flat. Plus, 2" is not thick enough for that length of span.

Stick with the SYP idea ;)
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
You should be fine with a 2" thick oak slab for your top despite the 84" wide span. Plug a few numbers in to the "Sagulator" to check for yourself. You'll still be able to store your saw under the table.

 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
I learned the oak had only been drying for 6-8 months. I was still considering it, but the seller removed the ad.

I also found some poplar 4/4 boards that I’m considering instead. They’re supposed to be at 10% for the past few months.
 

ncfromnc

neil
User
I learned the oak had only been drying for 6-8 months. I was still considering it, but the seller removed the ad.

I also found some poplar 4/4 boards that I’m considering instead. They’re supposed to be at 10% for the past few months.
I would consider Poplar to be too soft for a work bench
 

photostu

New User
Stuart
Bob,

I'm in the process of wanting to build a Roubo, I may be interested in some of your wood.
 

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
SYP would make a nice benchtop.

Zach are you incredibly tall? Your benchtop must be 42" high! Have you considered building the saw into your bench? It sure would put your bench at a much more comfortable height, save you some wood, and give you a ready-made outfeed table.
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
If you want to re-consider SYP I have some offered on CL. https://raleigh.craigslist.org/mat/d/durham-miscellaneous-pine/6876577381.html

There's enough to make a bench top of your dimensions. I would re-saw those that are too thick and give an NCWW member a discount.

Bob
Thanks Bob! If I were nearer to Raleigh, I would definitely take you up on the offer.

SYP would make a nice benchtop.

Zach are you incredibly tall? Your benchtop must be 42" high! Have you considered building the saw into your bench? It sure would put your bench at a much more comfortable height, save you some wood, and give you a ready-made outfeed table.
Richard, I'm not tall (only 6'), the bench design is dictated by my garage space (that I use as a shop and still park two cars in). My saw actually sits about 2-3" taller on the stand--a happy accident from my last setup where I needed additional space beneath my table saw to run the dust collection system. I grew accustomed to the taller working height of my saw table and did the same with my unisaw. My current workbench does not get used for much hand work, something I hope to change whenever I get a dedicated shop (or at least shop space). The picture that I attached also shows the other "workbench" that the main workbench rests on, which also influenced the height.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
Two sheets of 5/8" or 3/4" thick plywood should work without a torsion box for additional support. What's the vertical height beneath your bench? The Unisaw is on a frame with wheels and the new fence is how high and it all fits.

You'll need 2 more of those Ikea legs for your design.

Try the Sagulator to get an idea how much sag/deflection to expect over 8' l.

 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
Two sheets of 5/8" or 3/4" thick plywood should work without a torsion box for additional support. What's the vertical height beneath your bench? The Unisaw is on a frame with wheels and the new fence is how high and it all fits.

You'll need 2 more of those Ikea legs for your design.

Try the Sagulator to get an idea how much sag/deflection to expect over 8' l.

Hey Jeff!

I think you may have responded to the wrong thread. I think this is the thread that you meant:

 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
It took me a while to find this thread again—but I had a chance to work on the workbench.

I started last week and my planer died, or so I thought. There was a buildup of dust in the motor.

I’ll pull the clamps later today.

For some reason this hickory planed much better than the hickory I used for my kids’ bunk beds. The only discernsblendifference was that this lumber had more color variation than the hickory for my kids’ bed.
 

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Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
I'm confused again after looking back at your original thread. You've switched to hickory instead of oak or SYP. Hickory will make a good workbench too.

The boards appear to contain a lot of heartwood (the dark part) but I don't know if that affects how the wood will plane.

Lots of heartwood in this pic from HobbittHouse.

Screen Shot 2020-02-23 at 9.18.51 AM.png
 

creasman

Jim
User
I used hickory as the principal wood for my bench top. It's a good choice. The top is 3" thick and composed of laminated 1" x 3" boards. The only caution is hickory can be stringy and tear out when planing. Go slow and skew the plane when flattening. Otherwise, it makes a heavy, rock solid top.
 

Pop Golden

Pop
Corporate Member
When I built my new workbench last year I used pine. It's 2 X 4's planed to 1.25 X 2.5 they are laminated with screws between each layer. It was built in 2 sections because I only have a 15 in. plane. It is supported by 4 X 4 oak legs and multiple supports between the drawers. It's very sturdy with 0 deflection. Top is coated with 6 coats of poly.
 

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