WT260 – The Slender Member

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On today’s show we’re talking about softwood for a workbench, establishing your woodworking style, using a router as a jointer, and choosing wood for a table top.

What’s on the Bench?

  • Marc has ditched woodworking for weaving for his new hamper design
  • Matt finished and delivered some storage cabinets
  • Shannon can’t glue up panels

What’s New?

Poll of the Week

Do you have an assembly table?


  • Amr says that wooden toothbrushes are commonly used in the Middle East
  • Brian says that woodworking has made him focus on ensuring everything he buys is of good quality.
  • Keith, a Home Depot employee, says that more hardwoods may be coming to Home Depot.
  • Issac advises some caution when choosing the wood species for a frame saw.


  • Scott called in with a question about using softwood for a workbench
  • The OCD Woodworker called in asking about a split level shop


  • Tom is unsure whether developing a design style is a good thing
  • Scott wants to know whether a router can be used to joint stock
  • John is building a Cherry table and wondering about using flatsawn vs quartersawn wood

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6 replies on “WT260 – The Slender Member”

Regarding the second story of a workshop, FINISHING ROOM!!
There would be plenty of room for a spray booth, and no chance of getting dust on wet finishes.

In the appalachian mountains they used black gum tree twigs for toothbrushes. I remember my grandparents still used them when I was a kid.

Douglas fir for workbenches:
I am in the middle of building a split top Roubo with Doug fir.
I bought 12 2x12x10′ planks a year ago ($200) and let them dry in my garage shop. Why Doug fir?
This is at margin of my skills, so didn’t want to throw money away.
I can always recycle the hardware stores n a new bench
It’s just a workbench!

I just built my first “real” work bench using douglas fir from the home center. It’s a modified Paul Sellers style bench with a tool rack instead of a tool well. I would definitely consider this style of bench to be more utilitarian than some of the others, but you can’t argue with how rock solid it is AND I can take it apart in about 5 minutes if I ever need to move it by myself.

I cut down the lumber in the parking lot and brought it home and started building. No stickering or drying. So far, I’ve had no issues with warping or twisting and the top is still very flat. It’s only about 4 months and 3 projects old, but I’m very happy with it. Yes the top is somewhat soft and dents relatively easy, but it’s just a work bench. A few scars here and there from past projects don’t really bother me.

I think as long as you’re not overly concerned with the long term appearance of the bench, softwood makes a more than adequate workbench. Hardwood is obviously more durable and will be more resistant to dents and dings over the long term. As Shannon mentioned, I don’t make a habit of dropping projects onto my bench either, but from my limited experience on this bench the metal tools are more problematic than the wood I’m working with. If nothing else, I’m not scared to use it for fear of damaging it.

For me personally, I saw it as all to easy to fall into the trap of building a bench that looks so nice I would have been afraid to use it. I felt I ran less of a risk of this using softwood if for no other reason than cost alone.


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