Workbench Wood

NOTE:Just so you know, Paul has a new Workbench series. If you are interested in the updated version of Paul’s workbench please click the button down below. This page links to a cutting list, tools list, FAQS and much more.

If you are searching out wood for parts of your workbench build here in the UK I found some very nice dry stock, flat straight and near knot free. Probably cost under £50 for a really nice bench. It was in Home Base, yes, I do mean Home Base (no kickback for me) in Oxford. Don’t know if all their stores stock the same quality but we’ll worth checking out. This was nicer this the stuff I built mine from and quite hard and a little denser grained too. Should plane up very nicely.


  1. I think you were lucky on the day Paul. I built my bench three years ago (after watching your series), and it took me a few weeks and a few visits to ‘Bunnings’, to get wood piecemeal until I had enough to a reasonable standard. I know it is not a lot of wood, but same with the stepladder I am in the middle of making. Nearly an hour to find match in colour and grain (Tasmanian Oak). So I wish people luck in there endeavor

        1. The one near the Mini Plant Eastern Bypass and Horsepath but should be the same at Abingdon. Last time I went to Abingdon it was the same stuff.

  2. I went to Bunnings today and got my first lot of timber for the bench top…only took 15 mins to find good straight lengths and it was very reasonably priced. Next payday I’ll get the timber for the aprons…bit by bit I’ll get it done! 🙂

    1. It goes to show that they can come up with better quality with a little effort. In the USA it does seem that the decline of quality in the two main big box suppliers is far greater than the UK. Frankly I would not shop at B&Q, the equivalent of Home Depot here, because the quality of materials generally is so very poor and the prices are hiked way too high. If they would have pursued sourcing better quality materials they would have a better customer following I believe.

      1. I’m NOT referring to the quality or price of wood, but in my experience, for DIY generally, B&Q are much better on price than Homebase.

  3. Hey, that’s the one closest to my house. I picked my own laminated bench top out of that very stack a couple of months ago.

    It’s worth pointing out that this particular store has been cleaning up and improving over the past year or so. It’s still quite hit and miss in the plywood section, and as visible in your video the square-edge timber is also not always fully stocked. But I’m sure in another years time they’ll have their supply chain under control, I think I read that it changed franchise owner recently which is probably the cause of the overhaul.

    Paul, where in/around Oxford would you send a hobbyist to get hardwood (or non-construction softwood), assuming that the wood recycling center in Abingdon doesn’t have it at that moment?

  4. Paul,
    I would like to let your followers know a good source of “free“wood, available almost everywhere. Stone yards, the ones that make granite counter tops. The slabs are shipped in bundles, some of which are
    beautiful timbers of what appears to be white pine. In a size of about 2 1/2”x3 1/2”x72”. They are usually piled up in a corner of the yard and are there for the asking and they’re happy to see them go. Also available are some exotic woods, very dense heavy and squirrelly grained. Beautiful but difficult to work.
    I worked in the industry for years and have seen it grow at a staggering rate. In the U.S. there is at least one shop in every town.
    I hope this helps some of the bench builders. Take a saw, hammer and nail bar. You will have to pull a few nails buy it’s well worth it.
    Good luck,

    1. Thank you Guy and you’re right. I drive past one here in my town and see them piled up. On one of my recent workbenches it seemed an anomaly that I got several bench legs from the bearers that framed a massive tablesaw for delivery; 4x4s and clear, dead square stock too.

  5. I am enjoying your new “How to Make a Workbench” episodes.

    1. In looking over the specs, you mention dimensions but don’t have an overall height. Since I am rather tall, I expect I’ll add to my table’s legs, but don’t know the final height of your bench.

    2. Do you discuss anywhere your design preferences? I am curious about the tall apron.

    3. Where do you prefer the bench vise to be mounted? You specified the medium sized Eclipse vise, but I’d have assumed that bigger was better.

    4. Do you use and have an opinion on a sliding deadman?

    Maybe I’m wishing you had a video devoted to the topic of bench design.

    Thanks so much for your sharing of our love for working wood!

    1. 1) The height of this bench is 38″ a height that has suited me and thousands of students who are also of the average 5’10” to 5’11” height. I’ve used this height for over 50 years and have zero back issues to date. Personally, when I work at other people’s workbenches which are generally 3-4″ lower than this, I find them very uncomfortable and have consistently advised people to test out a height for a few weeks to see how they feel after that. That way, instead of just taking someone else’s advice, they are taking responsibility for their own backs and necks. Jack up a bench on blocks or place plywood on the floor to elevate the user to establish this.
      2) No, not really. I have found people often recommend overly heavy workbenches work best but I have found that to be most unhelpful and indeed a great encumbrance to progress generally. My audience and indeed myself need to move the bench around because of space constraints, stowage and so on. Our surveys show that most woodworkers work in a single car garage or a room in their home. Workbenches need to be moveable and not sluggish. It’s also true that most woodworkers are not working with heavy stock bot small components. Having made massive doors and cabinets and then small boxes and tiny projects, I realise that even the largest project is made from small components. So it’s the rarity not the norm for the need for a heavy bench. Oh, and the wide aprons remove the need for cross rails lower down and do gave tremendous stability that resists stresses and strains of sawing and planing.
      3) Same as shown in all my videos.
      4) Never seen the need for them and never saw a craftsman use one ever.

  6. Paul,
    Could pallet wood be used to make the side bord’s made to your specifications. I can have all the pallets I want for $0.00 and would southern yellow pine work for the rest of the work bench.

    1. Yes, to both questions. It will be more work but the wood will be free. I have made many SYP benches and they were excellent.

  7. Paul,
    With reference to the aprons, would laminated 3×2 narrow edge be suitable as I’m finding it difficult to source the correct sized timber? I’m not used to the strengths that laminated timbers could withstand so am unsure.

    1. Yes, you can edge laminate these and it will be fine. I have a home bench I have had for 11 years now that was done that way.

      1. Hi Paul,

        I realize that you might not even see this on such an old post but I did just start making the bench and I have a question on lamination as well.

        I’m laminating the bench top obviously and you’ve mentioned in the videos that slight bends in the boards are not a problem as the pressure of the whole system should work it all out. Now I’d already planed down a few spots because my dry fits showed that not everything would actually even itself out, even if applying pressure right on that spot. Unfortunately I may have screwed up the whole bench top now by going on with the lamination after letting everything sit overnight without dry fitting again first. I still have a few spots where there’s a gap between boards.

        Will this become an issue later on and/or what do you recommend doing about it? Will a little bit of wood filler on the top be enough or am I running the risk of the whole thing coming apart as it doesn’t seem like the whole cavity has filled itself with glue?

        The lumber cost me about $30 CAD, so I’m not too worried there if if I have to redo it although trying to find usable boards that are straight-ish from the start can be a bit of a hassle over here (Canada), especially with the 2x4s and I’ve had to drive to multiple Home Depots to find enough stock.

        Bonus question: I just couldn’t wait to start building it but I might be moving soon and I’m worried about being able to disassemble the bench. I noticed quite a few screws being used. I’m particularly worried about the screws that attach the back apron and the screws on the underside to attach the top and well. Should I be worried about this at all or what could be done about this?

        1. Hello, You could buy some slow set epoxy glue to fill any gaps afterwards. Let set up and then plane flush. You can mix sawdust with the final level of epoxy for a match. Re apron screws. You can screw without gluing anything so that you can remove them later.

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