On Thick, Wet Slab Tops for Workbenches

Benchtop slabs (6" thick) that are green and ready to use.

Benchtop slabs (6″ thick) which are inexperienced and able to use.

Over the last seven years, I’ve slowly turn into a fan of utilizing
a monolithic slab for the highest of a workbench. And I’ve additionally
slowly begun to disregard all of the criticisms of slab tops.

I constructed my first slab-top workbench in 2009-2010, which was
printed within the
August 2010 issue
of Well-liked Woodworking Journal.
The highest was some moist cherry that had been rotting within the log
yard of Ron Herman for a number of years.

Even though the highest was punky and intensely moist, it
has turn into a workbench that doesn’t transfer a lot seasonally and is
remarkably stable. (Sure, Roy Underhill broke off a piece of
the highest throughout a Woodworking in America, nevertheless it bolted proper
again on.)

I’ve additionally helped construct a pair dozen slab workbenches with the
French Oak Roubo Venture, which makes use of oak that has been drying
for greater than a decade however remains to be very moist (as much as 60 %
moisture content material).

My expertise with these benchtops goes like this: As a result of they
are moist, they’re pretty simple to airplane and mortise, although they
weigh loads due to the additional moisture. After assembling the
bench and dealing on it, they have an inclination to dry out slowly. The primary
12 months with the bench requires some upkeep – you would possibly
flatten the highest two or extra occasions.

Through the second 12 months the benchtop strikes much less. You would possibly
flatten the highest a couple of times. The third 12 months would possibly want solely
one flattening. Then the highest steadily settles to the purpose
the place it doesn’t transfer a lot, if in any respect.

Roubo bench kits that are ready to ship from Lesley Caudle's sawmill.

Roubo bench kits which are able to ship from Lesley Caudle’s

I’m to the purpose the place I’m prepared to make use of slabs which have been
lower over the last 12 months. To check my principle I’ve a pink
oak high that was lower throughout the winter that I’ll use to make
a full-on French workbench. The highest is extraordinarily moist. The legs
and stretchers shall be dry.

Why do that? It can save you some huge cash and time by buying
fresh-cut slabs. I purchased all of the wooden for my subsequent Roubo bench
for $500 from Lesley Caudle, a sawyer in Booneville, N.C. You
can learn extra about Lesley’s operation
and order bench kits through e-mail at: lesley27011@yahoo.com. Now
in case you don’t consider that is potential, that’s OK. You’ll simply
need to be affected person and browse in regards to the course of after I begin
constructing this bench in January or February.

Lesley Caudle running his band saw mill.

Lesley Caudle working his band noticed mill.

However for these of you who’re extra daring, drop Lesley a line
and construct together with us. As a substitute of ready a decade for a
bench (or spending a fortune) you’ll be able to have a bench this winter.

— Christopher Schwarz

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