#22
  
I am dealing with a person who wants me to build a Split Top Roubo Bench. He wants it exactly like the one Benchcrafted sells hardware and plans for. I was looking it over and I saw the different materials recommended to build with and they are ( We recommend using hardwoods like ash, hard or soft maple, or beech for their mass and durability ).  I can under stand hard maple and Beech even though Beech is a common wood in Europe  is not real common here like hard Maple is. I think soft Maple sucks, prone to warping and I tried using it as drawer material and gave up on it.  So that leaves Ash.

But I was surprised to see Ash listed. I was wondering why Ash and not oak. Bur oak , which is a member of the white oak family and is real common here in north central Iowa. And Cedar Rapids or Amana  which is where Bench Crafted is located is only about 1 1/2 to 2 hours away so the hardwood population doesn't change that fast.

I am  just wondering why ask and asking for your thoughts on the matter.

Tom
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#23
  Roubo bench tablesawtom I am dealing with a ...
Andre Roubo recommends beech or elm for a bench top. He also recommends a single plank top with the bark side down.

Beech is a nice wood because it is a rather dead wood, that is to say it absorbs shock. Hard maple is a very live wood which does not absorb shock and vibration, it bounces it back to you. Hard maple would be tiring to pound on for hours on end. 

Soft maple (red maple) is a premier cabinet wood. It is nice to work and it does absorb vibration. Woods like silver maple and box elder also can be sold as soft maple, but I would avoid these as lower quality. Look for straight grain wood.

Ash also deadens. That is why it used to be used for baseball bats; there is a lot less sting than one can get from hard maple or hickory. With the advent of high tech batting gloves, the sting is less important and some now use hard maple bats.

Often white oak is pretty lively. Red oak is deader but more coarse with large pores. All oaks are in the beech family.
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#24
  Roubo bench tablesawtom I am dealing with a ...
I think you should use whichever hardwood is readily available. If that's oak, it would work great. A few years ago there was a group of people, including perhaps the Benchcrafted folks, who built benches out of slabs from an oak log that had been brought over from France to build Roubo benches. I didn't hear any complaints about the wood. Jeff Miller, the furniture maker in Chicago, has one of those benches, and it's beautiful. You might be able to find a local mill that will cut you a thick slab. I did once outside of Chicago.
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#25
  RE: Roubo bench overland I think you should u...
(02-09-2019, 09:34 PM)overland Wrote: I think you should use whichever hardwood is readily available. If that's oak, it would work great. A few years ago there was a group of people, including perhaps the Benchcrafted folks, who built benches out of slabs from an oak log that had been brought over from France to build Roubo benches. I didn't hear any complaints about the wood. Jeff Miller, the furniture maker in Chicago, has one of those benches, and it's beautiful. You might be able to find a local mill that will cut you a thick slab. I did once outside of Chicago.

I used birch for mine - it was readily available and cheap. I (mostly) followed the Benchcrafted plans. After a year of use, it's holding up well.
Jim

Demonstrating every day that enthusiasm cannot overcome a lack of talent!
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#26
  Roubo bench tablesawtom I am dealing with a ...
Tom -

Get it straight from the horse's mouth - give Benchcrafted a call and ask them why not oak.

Phil
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#27
  Roubo bench tablesawtom I am dealing with a ...
(02-09-2019, 09:34 PM)overland Wrote: I think you should use whichever hardwood is readily available. If that's oak, it would work great. A few years ago there was a group of people, including perhaps the Benchcrafted folks, who built benches out of slabs from an oak log that had been brought over from France to build Roubo benches. I didn't hear any complaints about the wood. Jeff Miller, the furniture maker in Chicago, has one of those benches, and it's beautiful. You might be able to find a local mill that will cut you a thick slab. I did once outside of Chicago.

I think Jameel Abraham at Benchcrafted would tell you that white oak would work just fine. Overland mentioned above that white oak was used for Roubo bench tops at the French Oak Roubo Project - a/k/a "FORP" (https://benchcrafted.blogspot.com/search...ak%20Roubo). Here is a photo of some of the oak slabs that were used for those benches.


IMG_0767 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

Those are my sunglasses in the middle of the top slab for an idea of the size of the slabs.

Speaking of Jeff Miller, here is a photo of Jeff cutting the dovetail on the leg tenon for his bench on big Tannewitz bandsaw:


IMG_0751 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

Here is The Schwartz getting ready to attack his slab with a 607 (or is it a 608?):


IMG_0747 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

And Away he goes!


IMG_0748 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

Rather than tapping the big oak legs for the bench screw, dovetail inserts were tapped and glued into female dovetail slots cut into the legs. Here is one of the inserts:


IMG_0163 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

Here is Jameel Abraham paring the dovetail slot in his bench leg:


IMG_0763 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

Jeff Miller supplied the muscle and they pounded the insert into the glued slot:


IMG_0160 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

Success!


IMG_0759 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

Check out the Benchcrafted Blogspot sited above for the full FORP story and photos of these amazing oak benches.
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#28
  Roubo bench tablesawtom I am dealing with a ...
I have built and sold about 4 benches now. The first had two had hard maple top. The third was made out of beech because I bought enough to build a bench out of it at an auction. I thought that Beech was a little porous.  And my present bench, which can be seen if one looks of some of my resent posts it is made out of hickory. Which I had also bought at an auction

Note: I do not ever plan on using hickory again. Soft Maple is a dime a dozen around here and if it is furniture wood I wouldn't know it. Local saw mills don't bother with it. It ranks right up there with cotton wood. Box elder from around here has red streaks in it. 

I have worked with all  of the woods listed and I find Hard Maple the easiest to work besides Ash. Beech splinters a little to easy for me and much harder to come by. Elm is also a little harder to come by. When sawing Ash one finds out real quickly why it is called ash, powder all over. Works nicely and finishes nicely. For furniture it has a little to wild a grain pattern for me.

I did see a you tube video comparing a Roubo bench tops . One made out of Hickory and one made out of Southern Yellow Pine. The pine was because it was readily available there in the south and he compared it to Douglass fir found more in the north. He preferred the pine because of the bounce factor. 

Ash certainly fits in with the bounce factor.  But it is porous so it would need to have a good finish on it in case of stains.    

 Now I do have a customer I am working with and he wants a Hard Maple top and I believe he should have whatever he wants, so hard Maple it will be, but I was just wondering why Ask and I really likes the bounce answer.

I did enjoy from hearing from you and thanks for taking the time to answer. Pictures were great.

Tom
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#29
  Roubo bench tablesawtom I am dealing with a ...
One bench building suggestion I have... arrange the boards for the top such that they all hand plane the same direction... Flattening the top, once every couple years or so... it will pay off.
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#30
  RE: Roubo bench Strokes77 One bench building s...
(02-10-2019, 01:00 PM)Strokes77 Wrote: One bench building suggestion I have... arrange the boards for the top such that they all hand plane the same direction... Flattening the top, once every couple years or so... it will pay off.

After four benches I hear you about the grain directions. And trust me I after 48 years of woodworking I try to pay attention to grain direction in everything I build for that very reason. I will do this for the future client and leave the hand planing for him to do after a couple of years.. I say future because we are still talking. 

We have a cabinet shop here in the town of 1200 people, which is about 15 miles from the nearest stop light, and that believe it or not, has a 60 inch surface sander, which has 3 heads. So stuff gets sanded with 60, 120 and 220 grit abrasives in a single pass. And so I do not plan on doing a lot of flattening with a hand plane.

Thank you for saying something about grain direction. I didn't need this information per say,  but there are a lot of younger woodworkers out there who wouldn't think of this until to late. And you know what they say about experience, experience is what you get when you don't get what you want. And when I a say younger, I am not talking about age. 

So thank you again for passing along this information.

Tom
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#31
  Roubo bench tablesawtom I am dealing with a ...
(02-09-2019, 09:34 PM)overland Wrote: I think you should use whichever hardwood is readily available...

This.

Depending on your location and timing, certain hardwoods will be more economically feasible.
Wood is good. 
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