What wood to use for Paul sellers workbench

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Samwise-thebrave

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Hi all. I want a new project for the new year and as I haven’t really got a proper workbench I have been thinking about the Paul sellers workbench as it looks ‘fairly’ easy for a beginner like me. However, I want to know what wood people used and where they got it from? Wickes seems to be the obvious choice but would appreciate any guidance. I’m based in Leeds and timber merchants don’t seem to be very popular around here, I also don’t want to spend a fortune!
Thanks

Sam
 

marcros

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hi Sam

Welcome to the forum. Where in Leeds are you? You are correct in that there are not too many places around. I would avoid Wickes, B&Q and Homebase. For hardwoods, I would go to British Hardwoods near Keighley and for other stuff, Arnold Laver are reasonable. Check the prices though, they can be a bit expensive on some, particularly odd lengths of hardwood. Clive walker are ok too, but check stocks. They claim to sell everything and any size but I am not convinced that they hold much on site. For this project, a builders merchant will be good enough, so shop local! William Madden (the Bradley depot) is my preferred builders merchant but it is local to me. Go somewhere that you can see what you are buying and select good straight pieces.

For a work bench, I would use whatever you can get easily and cheaply. Workbenches (at least for me) are a functional item so I would use softwood unless you have a glut of hardwood available at a sensible price. The c16 graded sawn stuff softwood is better than the fast growing CLS. You may also find that the 8x2 is better than the 4x2 and so cut it down to size. WIth that said, I am sure that many benches have been made with CLS in the past without problem.

One thing that you may want to consider is using a solid core firedoor as the top. Saves laminating timber etc and is heavy, dense and reasonably priced- especially if you can pick one up on Facebook or gumtree for not much.

Mark
 
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dannyr

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marcros
good reply, but please define CLS and solid core firedog

I think Sellars talks sense generally and is inspirational to many (not me but I read him, can't be bothered with the vids), but one bench of his I had my doubts about was the plywood bench - I'd steer clear of such and any engineered woods if there's chance of damp as in basements, garages and garden sheds - but he strongly disagreed when I made this point.
 
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marcros

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marcros
good reply, but please define CLS and solid core firedog

I think Sellars talks sense generally and is inspirational, but one bench of his I had my doubts about was the plywood bench - I'd steer clear of such and any engineered woods if there's chance of damp as in basements, garages and garden sheds - but he strongly disagreed when I made this point.

firedog was a typo, damn auto correct.

Howdens Solid Core Blank Plywood Flush FD30 Fire Door this type of thing. It is solid inside so is heavy. I dont know what the material is inside- chipboard maybe.

CLS- studding timber. What is CLS Timber? | Arnold Laver Blog and CLS Studwork Timber | Timber | Wickes.co.uk

I find that sellers grates on me a bit, but horses for corses...
 

Linus

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Hi Sam

Started hobby woodworking 6 years ago and first off was Paul Sellars bench in CLS as advised. Cheap, easily available, just needed squaring up as Paul shows. As a complete woodworking novice, I followed Paul's videos and ended up with what I'm still using today, no problems. Vice was secondhand off ebay for £20. I'm satisfied with it.
20160305_154204.jpg
 

Jameshow

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Hi

I'd recommend Henshaw timber Baildon.

However the best timber they stock is rough sawn as its swedish pine with very close growth rings.

Thier 4x2 is typical fast growing cheap pine.

If you can use a plane, power plane or thicknesser that would be my choice.
 
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Benchwayze

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Southern Yellow Pine has been recommended by Chris Schwarz; he based his opinion on the 'hardness' of SYP; albeit that it's a softwood by botanical definition. (Hardness definitions are measured on the 'Janka' Scale; I believe.)

I've used SYP for other jobs, and it's always been easy enough to obtain in the UK (Outside of DIY stores!) It is also pleasant to work; with SHARP tools. It is a lot more expensive here, than is quoted on YouTube; the USA is where it grows!

The first time I bought any, I had shopped for Pitch Pine. The timber merchant said 'Nah! We don't have any. What you want is some Southern Yellow Pine. It's just as good.' I can't say I was convinced, but I did buy the SYP, and it was certainly good enough for the job.

If you are near Warwickshire, then George Sykes in Atherstone is as good as anywhere else for supply of SYP.

HTH

John
 
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Jameshow

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firedog was a typo, damn auto correct.

Howdens Solid Core Blank Plywood Flush FD30 Fire Door this type of thing. It is solid inside so is heavy. I dont know what the material is inside- chipboard maybe.

CLS- studding timber. What is CLS Timber? | Arnold Laver Blog and CLS Studwork Timber | Timber | Wickes.co.uk

I find that sellers grates on me a bit, but horses for corses...

I have yet to find a YouTube woodworker who doesn't grate!!!

As for plywood for a workbench it just seems wrong from an engineering point of view.

Cheers James
 

marcros

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I have yet to find a YouTube woodworker who doesn't grate!!!

As for plywood for a workbench it just seems wrong from an engineering point of view.

Cheers James

I haven't seen it. I think for a work bench I would rather spend the 40-50 odd quid that a couple of sheets of 12 or 18mm ply costs on some timber- whether that be reclaimed, or softwood or whatever. For an assembly bench or a portable bench then the sheet material might be fine. It all depends really on what the bench will be used for.
 

Jameshow

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@Jameshow I think it reasonable to call Paul Sellers a woodworker, with a modicum of skills?
If he's happy with it, why might we argue, from which engineering pov?
Because half the fibres are going in an alternate direction to the main forces in the bench top and legs.
Also from a asthetic position I find its lacking.

Having said that my workbench has a plywood top soon to be covered by some softwood.

Cheers James
 

Ollie78

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I would say get unsorted redwood or douglas fir rather than cls. It won`t cost much more but will be much nicer ,less knots etc. Also available in bigger sizes.
Cls for stud work is the lowest grade they can possibly get away with.

Ollie
 

thetyreman

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yes get some redwood pine or douglas fir, I don't recommend CLS either, it's always low grade, but I've had problems with quality of redwood pine this year, quality has dropped off a cliff since lockdown, make sure you see the timber before ordering anything or at least explain you want joinery grade, if you can self select the pieces especially for the worktop you want as knot free as possible, then that will be ideal, old timber is often much better than anything we can get nowadays, often much tighter rings and stronger softwood and less knots.
 

SMALMALEKI

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I bought some 1.5 *3 inch beechwood off eBay for my workbench. It was reasonably priced and local. Took me longer to make with more blade sharpening than I should have had.
If I go back to make it I’ll go with some softwood instead.
I also have a piece of sapele in the middle it was the first Paul Sellers workbench design with added middle dust clear out groove

Saeid
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johnnyb

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but I will say it pleases me(and mr sellars no doubt) that a simple workbench fires beginners up so much.
when I was a small child the first thing I made was a footstool. my dear mum always encouraged me and indeed went up the road and brought the wood. screws glue nails and a few hours. then sand stain and varnish and id got a bit of furniture. I guess adults need something more to get there teeth into.almost a rite of passage. but its a good lesson to learn that what is easy in one wood species is a pipper in another!
 

Jameshow

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CLS isn't all the same..

I've found some really decent lengths in the pallet.
Hardly any knots close rings and regular sized.

4x2 CLS X2 would be ideal for legs and cross members and 3x2 for the top. 60mm finished size as you don't need to plane the underside.

Cheers James
 
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