I am planning a proper woodworking workbench for my shop in a Roubo style with a laminate top. The top will be 2 1/2' x 6'. As I will likely have this bench for the rest of my life, I do not mind spending a little more on the wood. So, after looking at the current availability and pricing at my local lumber yard, I narrowed my choices down to the following, ordered by my preference:
- Black Cherry
- Red Oak
- American Ash
- Douglas Fir
- Southern Yellow Pine
I chose these as they are available and are also not too hard so I can minimize damage to any piece I'm working on if it drops onto the top. The hardest in the list is the ash, just barely over the red oak. The softest being the fir, with the yellow pine a tad harder. The cherry is in the sweet spot, both in aesthetics and hardness.
Originally, I had planned to make the whole thing out of yellow pine, as it is the cheapest. However, my local lumber yard currently has good prices on 8/4 S2S cherry, so my preference is to build the bulk of the top out of cherry and use ash for the areas where the dog holes and vises will be, plus maybe an ash strip down the middle. I don't want the bench to be too heavy so I am considering making the top 3 1/2 - 4" thick.
I'm curious to hear any comments or concerns this design. Specifically, would there be any issues gluing cherry and ash together? Would it be more stable over time if the laminate top was made from a single species? Also, is 3 1/2" thick enough for dog holes and holdfasts?