Any idea what wood school PE benches are made of?`

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Agent_zed

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Going to pick up 4 PE benches from my kids school today that they need gone.

I guess I'll find out soonish but wondering what wood they are likely to be. Beech perhaps?

Figure I'll run them through the planer and hopefully have some nice bits of timber. They have been outside for a while but hopefully still good under the top layer.

Doing an extension soon so some nice hardwood windowsills could be in the mix. Or some picture frames.

worst case it's more firewood.
 
Yes it depends, it could be either of those two, I reckon Fir is most likely, but it will be good quality and clear of defects.
Please let us know.
Ian
 
@Jameshow thanks for the vote of confidence 🤪🥴
As Phil said, 60s and 70s stuff seems to be Beech or Parana Pine, at least the stuff I've broken down from here has been, one thing to be aware of with the benches is that most will have cracks running the length of them, the 2 we've condemned here were due to extensive cracks through the length and the 4 we have left are heading the same way. The newer ones we've bought in do look to be pine, they're definitely a lot lighter than the old ones.
 
I think they are all beech from the look of it. The 2 long ones have a bit of cracking and are about an inch in thickness but the 2 shorter ones seem better with less cracking although probably 3/4inch.

I'm assuming they are quite old as they have flat head screws.

Will take some pics before and after running through the planer. Hopefully will get a few useable boards at least. I might make a short bench as the PTA is putting up a book/reading shed so might be quite nice to give them something back.
 
This reminds me of a 'grab-bag' I had about 15yrs ago. I was given some old school or church hall long bench seats, which were made from top quality mahogany.
 
Depends on the age. If they are a dark reddish colour and are old they could well be pitch pine as they were made from the same wood as balance beams which until the late 1060's was the favoured choice.
This was between '60 and' '65 in my case. When I went to evening classes at a different school in the early '70s the benches themselves were Beech but had Pine cupboards beneath them.
 
I do agree that they could be douglas fir, most likely beech and even mahogany which I know we had at our school. But, my friend recently put some through the thicknesser and the tops were 2" Tulipwood. The underside and cross beam were Beech.
 
My memory is that pe benches were Piranha Pine.
Lab work tops Iroko.
Those desks that you opened and kept your books in (and could drop to make dreadful bang ) were beech.
That was in Kent schools which had an architects department that designed their own furniture and much was manufactured locally.
Woodwork benches were beech made by Emir in prisons.
 
I'm guessing this is beech from the grain. 2 different benches but all look to be the same type of wood. The second pic I took a tiny chip out of the side to check it wasn't rotten and it is nice solid looking wood so hopefully once I've planed the top off i can get back to a good surface.
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I'm guessing this is beech from the grain. 2 different benches but all look to be the same type of wood. The second pic I took a tiny chip out of the side to check it wasn't rotten and it is nice solid looking wood so hopefully once I've planed the top off i can get back to a good surface.
View attachment 176706View attachment 176707
You'd need to remove the varnish, if it has red/pink streaks running through it then parana pine, otherwise it looks like it could be beech
 
My memory is that pe benches were Piranha Pine.
Lab work tops Iroko.
Those desks that you opened and kept your books in (and could drop to make dreadful bang ) were beech.
That was in Kent schools which had an architects department that designed their own furniture and much was manufactured locally.
Woodwork benches were beech made by Emir in prisons.
I have some lab bench tops from the mid 1950s which are made of Utile. They were from a lab which had Parana pine cupboards and bookshelves, and notice boards from an African hardwood whose name escapes me for the moment. Stools were made of beech. They were all ripped out in the 1990s and replaced with plastic coated weetabix which lasted at least a couple of weeks before the doors got ripped off the cupboards... The tubular steel framed stools didn't last much longer.

Les
 
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