Best Workbench Wood: Reviews in 2020 (Recommended!)
If you’re a professional woodworker or someone with a hobby for woodcutting, a good workbench is the first thing you need.
A quality workbench needs to be strong and sturdy enough to stand on its own even after heavy workload. And this will only happen when you use the finest material to build it.
The perfect material to make a workbench is wood. Woods are easier to fashion and cut according to one’s own needs in order to make anything out of it. You can easily build a workbench on your own with the best workbench wood.
In this article, we’ll guide you through our favorite products for your wooden workbench. In addition, we’ll also discuss some buying guidelines to help you choose the best wood.
Need a short list? Here you go:
Top 5 Best Workbench Wood Reviews
Choosing the perfect wood which would suit all your needs is not that easy. That’s why you should have a look at our top picks for your workbench wood.
1. Hardwood Lumber Mixed Species Assortment
Discount Lumber Outlet, based in Shakopee, Minnesota, brings an assortment of mixed lumber hardwoods. Sourcing their lumber from all over the USA, they process the lumber from their own manufacturing plant.
The firm promises to provide you the best wood for the workbench with knots and cracks free lumber in a large box made of Hobby Wood. To be honest, the box is big enough and looks surprisingly good.
This large box measures approximately 12" x 12" x 5.5”. You’ll probably find around 15 lumbers from 3 to 6 different species.
Moreover, the wood inside is Kiln dried to perfection so that they don’t bend when made into a workbench. These boards are 11-3/4" long and about 15/16" thick.
Sometimes, the width might also change due to humidity and other seasonal changes. Of course, the width varies by species. For example, Poplar may be up to 11-1/4", Hard Maple is generally 3-1/2", and Red Oak can be up to 7-1/4" depending upon the availability of the lumber.
The types of wood inside the box include Red Oak, White Oak, Poplar, Walnut, Cherry, Birch, Hard Maple, Soft Maple, Hickory, Cherry, and Red Grandis. All these lumbers are surfaced 2 sides.
- Various assortment
- Multiple uses
- Knots and cracks free
- Comes in a large Hobby Wood box
- Sometimes the boards aren’t labeled
2. Hard Maple Lumber 4 Pack
Hard maple, also referred to as sugar or rock maple, is most commonly used by woodworkers for its off-white cream color and stunning outlooks. Its grain is generally straight but wavy with fine and even texture.
This maple lumber from White's Woods is fairly easy to maneuver with both hand and machine tools. But you have to be a little bit careful while cutting it with a machine as maple has a tendency to burn with high-speed cutters.
Furthermore, this product comes in a set of 4 boards, each having 3/4" thick, 2" wide, and 12" long size. The boards are Kiln dried and also sanded on both sides. You can use these boards to make your own musical instrument, workbench, baseball bat, cutting board, keepsake box, etc.
This wood is usually rated between non-durable to a perishable product as they are susceptible to insect attack unless treated with proper insecticide. Besides, the maple wood is also sensitive to extreme humidity and temperature changes.
On the positive side, its great appearance and beauty are undeniable. It is one of the hardest varieties of wood you can find, and workbenches made out of this wood are one of the best. Apart from being easy to clean and maintain, the maple lumber is also very much affordable.
- Very easy to maneuver
- Beautiful looking
- One of the sturdiest woods
- Easy to maintain and clean
- Sanded on either sides
- Wood is susceptible to insect attack
- Sensitive to extreme humidity
3. Box of 3/4" Thick Maple Boards
Prepared in Wisconsin, this box of maple boards is the ultimate product you’d want for your personal woodworks. The firm Woodchucks Wood prepares this box by filling it with various sized thick boards. This whole item weighs between 17 to 20 pounds.
The dimension of the box is about 12" x 12" x 6" and each of the board’s thickness is at least about 3/4" or a bit more. Also, the quantity of the boards in the box isn’t consistent since only the desired weight is measured. Each of the pieces is about 12 inches long and 7 to 8 inches wide.
You might also find many pieces of very thin wood which come in handy in preparing smaller kinds of stuff. Besides, you can also glue some of those together to get an interesting type of plywood.
If you enjoy being creative and love woodworking, you will love this box. The varied selection of pieces comes in real handy at times. Although perfect for small projects, this item isn’t suitable for building a workbench. You might want to have bigger boards for that.
- Kiln-dried maple boards
- Boards come in varied shapes
- Very sturdy wooden boards
- Includes thin pieces for smaller projects
- Not suitable for bigger projects
4. Maple Lumber Square Turning Blanks
We have already discussed the usefulness of maple wood over most other lumber available in the market. That is why most of our top picks for workbench wood is maple.
Apart from being incredibly strong, maple wood also looks great and stains nicely. When you have maple lumber with you, building anything becomes a piece of cake. Woodworkers around the globe prefer maple for its light and creamy color as well as impressive durability.
These maple turning blanks from Barrington Hardwoods are the ones they use to manufacture premium furniture components. Now, you can start your project with confidence and create your own wood products at home.
Although you can make a lot of stuff from these square turning blanks like candle holders, rolling pins, furniture spindles, pepper mills, baseball bats, etc., they can be the best component for the legs of a workbench.
Each of these blanks has a dimension of about 2" x 2" x 12" and the item comes in a package of 4 pieces of them. All of these blanks are clean, thoroughly sanded, and boast a solid weight.
On the downside, some of the blanks might not have the exact dimension described and might not be perfectly flat on all sides.
- Beautiful looking
- Have smooth grain pattern
- Incredibly sturdy
- Thoroughly sanded
- Might not be uniformly sized throughout
5. Maple by the Piece
This is the last entry in our list of top five options for workbench wood. In all the previous picks, we have mentioned sets or boxes of lumber woods. As for this last one, you can buy individual pieces if you want to.
The benefit of buying individual pieces rather than a box full of lumber is that you don't end up having extra stuff in your hand you don't know what to do with. This also saves you some money and space in your home, as you buy just the amount you need.
As for maple wood, we have talked a lot about them already. This is undeniably one of the highest quality hardwoods and also perfectly straight and smooth.
In our next two sections, we'll discuss various other types of wood you can pick for your workbench. But since maple is the most common of them all in terms of usage and availability, we've picked it most of the time.
- Can order on one piece basis
- Great quality hardwood
- Perfectly smooth and straight
- Has a low carbon footprint
- The sizes offered aren’t versatile enough
What to Look for While Buying Workbench Wood?
While buying wood for a workbench, you might want to look for a few things considering the type of functions it will be performing.
So, before buying the best wood to build the workbench, you must decide the factors that are most important to you. These factors could include:
- Cost effectiveness
- Purely functional workbench
- Aesthetics and high performance
No matter what woodworking workbench you want to have, it must be solid as well as sturdy. Because woodworking isn’t a light task, so the surface to work on must be stronger than the task at hand.
Let’s dive a little bit more into these considerations we’ve mentioned to get a grip of what you’ll look for in the wood.
- Cost Effectiveness
For someone with a soft side for inexpensive options because of the low budget, woods, which cost less, become the automatic choice. There are many different types of inexpensive woods out there that are functioning enough.
The general rule is that softwoods are way cheaper than hardwoods. Besides, plywood is also a cheap option for the workbench top. Then again, softwoods also vary in quality and price among themselves. If you are looking for specific names, they are beech, pine, birch, etc.
As for beech and maple, they are the cheapest, and that's why these are commercially used the most. They are a bit low grade and lighter in weight. Some of them are also full of knots as well.
Now, speaking of birch, it is really inexpensive and easy to deal with. But on the downside, the wood is also pretty low on durability regardless of the paint or coat you apply.
Pine is also another great option for cheap wood. But it often can ooze resin that might stick to your work.
- Pure Functionality
Hardwoods are always the best choice for your workbench if you want functionality and sturdiness, which softwoods evidently lack. These woods are the best at resisting any type of major damage, even with rough usage.
The best choice, in this case, would be either oak or maple. Although you’ll have to let go of a generous amount of money, the added durability will make up for it.
So, if you want a long-lasting workbench, make a little compromise on the money and go for hardwoods without a second thought.
- Aesthetics and High functionality
There can be a lot more you can expect from a workbench apart from mere functionality. Rather you can express yourself and your creativity with it. That is why it is important that you do not dismiss a wood you like just because it costs more.
Pine and oak are the two most dominating timbers in the mind of any bench builder. They are loved by all because of their simplicity, workability, and looks.
Besides, if you have a great design in your mind for the workbench, you should look for the type of wood which would look best with it.
- Other Considerations
One of the important things to remember while buying wood is what type of season your region has. Because woods get affected a lot due to seasonal change and the humidity that comes with it. So, anybody who lives in really low or high humidity areas must consider this factor.
A great option while choosing the best wood for the workbench surface is to look for Plywood and MDF. These have great functionality and are very easy to work with; not to mention, they don’t get affected by humidity that much. But on the other hand, they aren’t that sturdy for a long-lasting experience.
If you only have hand tools to work with in order to build a workbench, you might want to choose a wood that is easier to work with bare hands. A machine can take all types of wood fairly in the same way, but only hand tools will let you know if you’ve made a bad choice.
What Wood Is Best for Workbench?
Choosing the best wood for woodworking workbench is not a piece of cake, considering each person has different necessities, aesthetic preferences, and uses for it.
If you’re tight on budget, then the perfect option for you is softwood. Pine and birch are the best types of wood for this purpose. However, the durability of these woods won’t be as good as hardwoods.
On the other hand, hardwood is the choice for any professional woodworker as they last way longer than softwoods. The optimal choice for getting a sturdy and durable workbench is oak or maple wood.
How Do You Cut Wood for a Workbench?
When you are building a workbench for all your woodworks, the first thing you do is cut the wood. The timber that you bought comes in lumber form that needs to be cut into the proper shape to be used as a workbench component.
It is assumed that you already have a design planned for your bench. If the workbench is of standard size, then the top has a probable dimension of 2 meters in length, and almost 1 meter is breadth. A good workbench will also be at least 3.8 to 7.6 centimeters thick.
As for the height, most workbenches have an average height between 0.83 to 0.91 meters, provided that the user is almost 1.8 meters tall.
This is fairly a comfortable height for such a person. Mind that, only a few centimeters change in the height can make a big difference in working on the workbench.
It should be noted that even the simplest of workbenches aren't exactly like a normal table. And it has some additional parts other than four legs and the top.
Those additional parts include a leg vise and an end vise. These two are simple, robust vices which attach to wither parts of the legs. And these are used to joint edges.
Besides, two lower rails connect two pairs of legs, and a center stretcher connects the two rails to create a stronger base. A workbench gets its extra support from these parts when heavy woodworking is being done on it.
Now that you have the basic idea of your workbench dimension, you can start cutting the wood according to this measure.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Maple a Hardwood or Softwood?
Trees with broad leaves make hardwood. On the other hand, softwood trees are those with needles or scales. Although maple comes in many varieties like silver, rock, sugar, soft, hard, etc., it is mainly known for hardwood for higher density and broad leaves.
2. Does maple wood change color over time?
Not only maple, but all hardwoods change color over time and grow a bit darker due to being exposed to UV rays and oxygen. That is why with the passing of time, you'll notice that your white maple piece will develop a honey-gold patina.
3. How thick should I make my workbench top?
Workbench undergoes a lot of stress over its lifetime. That is why you need a thicker best workbench top wood than any other table to take all that pressure.
So, the minimum thickness your workbench top should have is at least 3 inches of solid hardwood, if you want it to last longer than the project you’ll be working on.
4. How long does a workbench last?
It depends on the type of wood you are using to build it, the amount of pressure it takes throughout its lifetime, and the weather of the region.
Since wood gets affected by extreme weather conditions, products made from them get affected too. If you use great quality hardwood, then a workbench might last at least 5 years easily.
Now that you’ve gone through the whole article, picking the best workbench wood will not seem too difficult, since you know all the ins and outs of it. We hope this article has been sufficiently helpful for your woodworking endeavor.