Spruce. Yes, spruce. - Router Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Default Spruce. Yes, spruce.

I went through my lumber pile and 90% of my 2x stock has some sort of split. I'm trying to make a butcher block top for a work bench out of spruce and I don't want any cracks, if I can help it.

My lumber is all 6+ months old so it's probably getting pretty dry. I could pick up some fresh stuff from the lumber yard but wouldn't that just split over time? I'll probably treat the blocks with a clear barrier finish so that might trap some of the moisture.

What's the trick? Is there one?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 10:50 AM
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Hey, Tom; I'm really surprised that your lumber is wet(?)! All the SPF lumber out here in BC is kiln dried and wrapped at the mill. The only way it can get soaked is if the lumberyard isn't diligent about keeping it covered once the wrap is pulled back.
In any case, I'm also surprised your Spruce is splitting. Too much heat ie drying out too quickly?
Spruce (and Pine) is pretty soft for a bench top; no Interior KD D. Fir available where you are (DF-N)?
Douglas Fir
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Dan.

We have KD fir here. I even have quite a bit of it in my wood pile but I always thought fir split more than spruce so wasn't a good choice.

My wood is stored in a weather proof, but unheated, shed. It's uncovered outside at the lumber yard, though.

The only lumber yard that stores wood indoors is Home Depot but their stuff is so wet, my hands get wet just holding it. Crazy.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 12:39 PM
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I feel your pain, Tom. I needed some D.Fir 2x10 last week, to machine into replacement window sills. The top three layers of material in the lift (at the lumberyard) were already covered with fungus, and wet needless to say.
The fifth layer had some nice, straight, almost clear, and nearly dry pieces.
The daytime temp. has now dropped to 7 C., well below the minimum of 10 C. required for priming/painting with acrylic paint (the project is under a big tarp so it's staying dry). Now what...
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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A quick description of the project is that I picked up a half dozen rolling tool cabinets. They are steel units with a rubber mat on top. They also have a small lip on the sides and back to position the upper toolbox.

I'm going to use them as tool stands for the drill press, sharpening station, planer, small miter saw, etc. To that end, I need flat surfaces on them and they're going to need to be at least 1" thick so I can route a groove for the metal lip at the top of the cabinets.

The cabinets look similar to this:

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 02:55 PM
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How about 1" D. Fir plywood? Downside; it ain't cheap. Edge with some hardwood, Birch or Alder maybe?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:39 PM
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I would go along with what Dan suggested, either ply or mdf and possibly 2 pieces laminated. If you work on them they will eventually get beat up. Making them cheap and easy to replace would be a bonus in my opinion.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 11:44 PM
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I'll be interested to see how this pans out. I have a similar chest from HF (a bit wider) that I had a similar idea for, with the intent of picking up another 2 or so if it works well. Those Lime Boxes look sharp. Good Luck!
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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I'm building the tops out of MDF. I'll trim them with either spruce or fir.

I appreciate the comments, gents.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 11:02 PM
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Hey, Tom; will the tops take a beating? Spruce is pretty soft for edging(?), and D. Fir splinters. Neither is a really desirable species for taking a sh*t kicking. Hardwood species are a lot more durable.
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