Thursday, March 19, 2009

Travel Bench Part 1

It doesn't take a bench to build a bench, but building a bench on a nice bench is nice.

My Roubo bench is coming in quite handy for building Benchcrafted's travel bench. Having a massive, flat surface with huge clamping capabilities and lots of real estate makes for almost effortless work.

This bench will be made from soft maple. I wouldn't necessarily choose this wood for a longish Roubo top, where the stiffness of the top is of great importance (due to the lack of upper rails). But for smaller Roubo-style tops which don't need to bridge such a large span, this wood is ideal. It's plenty stiff enough actually for most benches. According to Chris Schwarz's book on workbenches, it's stiffer than European Beech, a common bench wood. It's a creamy white color if you select out some of the browner boards (I didn't bother), and it's about as hard as cherry. It also works very easily, a bit easier than mild-grained cherry. It's nothing like it's rock-hard cousin Hard Maple. It's an excellent wood for bench building. And the price (I paid less than $2 a board foot for skip-planed and straight-lined 8/4 s&b) in my area is right.

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