How to Select the Best Wood for Workbench the Cheapest Way
The perfect wood for your workbench is one that is budget friendly and fits the work you intend to do. A bonus feature would be its aesthetic property. Each wood has its unique qualities. To select the best wood for workbench, the trick here is to choose the material that has the qualities that you need to let the workbench serve its very purpose.
If you are tight on the budget, softwoods are perfect for you. You can easily create a workbench out of pine or birch with a limited budget.
The reason softwoods are much cheaper than hardwood is because of their availability. Softwoods are readily available because they grow faster compared to hardwoods.
One drawback of softwoods is that any task that applies medium force on the workbench can easily dent or damage it. Even if you coat the workbench well with protective substance or paint, it will sustain damage. (Unless, of course, you use a special coating called Line-X.)
Dropping a tool on the workbench, for instance, can create a dent on the surface where it lands. On the plus side, dropping something on your workbench made of softwood does not damage it that much.
Another advantage of a softwood is that they’re relatively less dense than hardwood. Thus, a softwood workbench would be lighter. You can easily carry it wherever you like thus improving mobility.
Examples of softwood are:
If you prefer durability over price, then hardwoods are perfect for you. Hardwood is the perfect material for your workbench if you intend to use it for tasks that require force. The hardest of the hardwoods are dent proof to some extent but are also relatively more expensive than regular hardwoods.
Hardwoods can ensure that your workbench will last not just because they are very tough but also because most of them tend to resist mold, fire, and moisture. In addition, because hardwood resists moisture (if properly prepared), they are less likely prone to shrinkage or expansion.
Because of its durability, a hardwood workbench would be best for almost all task. Particularly, it would be ideal for general repair, fitting and assembling, art and sculpture, metalworking, woodworking and other tasks that apply force similar to these tasks.
Examples of hardwood include:
If you want a balance between cost and durability, plywood is the best option for you. Not only is plywood cheaper, because of the way the grains are arranged, they are also very durable. A plywood workbench can withstand forceful tasks and heavy materials.
Another benefit from using plywood is that you can easily sand it down to remove scratches or dents. Also, if the dent is great enough, you can just replace the surface. (Plywood is surprisingly cheap considering its durability.)
#4 Medium-density Fiberboard
MDFs are similar to plywood in the sense that they are engineered wood. Both are durable, and light but MDFs cost less than plywood.
Because of the ridge-like pattern in the surface of plywood, it can be used for tasks that require very smooth surface. MDFs can solve that shortcoming. They are made out of materials that resemble sawdust and pressed at very high pressures so there are no spaces within the material and there is no grain. These qualities make MDFs more durable than plywood.
One of the best ways to make use of the best qualities of these woods is to use them in combination. For instance, you can use hardwood for the surface and legs but softwood for other parts. Any combination that would allow you to take advantage of the great qualities of each with as little cost as possible.
Another method would be to attach MDF or plywood at the top layer of either softwood or hardwood base. That way, you can just sand the surface after some time or replace it with a new one after sustaining some damage.
Another cost-saving method would be to use a hollow wood door instead of using hardwood as a base. They are relatively cheap. You can buy one from a home improvement store.
Planning well before creating your workbench will give you the best one for your task without spending as much. However, be open to the possibility of improvement in the future. The first workbench might not be perfect at first and you’ll likely to develop ideas on how to improve it or how to create another more durable and cheaper one.
So far, the best way is to use a combination of the woods. If you can afford a hardwood, you can use it as a base. If you have access to softwood, it would be a cheaper option for your base than hardwood. A hollow wood door is the best option, though, which will give you durability at the lowest cost possible.
Did you like our suggestion? Do you have any in mind that you think we missed and should be on the list? Tell us in the comment section below.