In my pursuit of workbench perfection, I pulled several less than straight grained boards out of contention for my Roubo top. This left me a little short on lumber to complete my 26 x 96 inch top. I am using those wilder grain boards for legs and stretcher and vise chops (in the case of an accidentally curly piece of ash).
While I am still prepping stock for the top laminations I wanted to get those few extra boards as soon as possible so that the wood had time to season in my shop. I took this opportunity to visit a local sawmill that I discovered only recently in my own backyard. I called ahead to see if they had any 8/4 Ash and was told that they may have a few pieces that would suit my needs.
Boy was that the understatement of the year! I walked out of the Frank Thomas Sawmill with two amazing boards. One was over 12″ wide, 8.5′ long, and 1 3/4″ thick. The other was 9′ long, 9″ wide, and a whopping 3.5″ thick. Not only that, but the proprietor was nice enough to joint and surface on 3 sides at no extra cost!
Take a look at these babies!
Here is the 3.5 ” thick board on edge.
The really thick board I was able to rip down the middle and get the two pieces I needed to complete the top plus a little extra. I haven’t decided yet if I am going to keep that extra width yet. Right now my top will end up around 28″ wide. With my long arms I should have no problems with access to the whole bench and the added width may allow some flexibility as an assembly table. I’ll have to decide that along the way. The other board is going to turn into some stretchers, and all of the bottom shelf planks.
The moral here is don’t put off investigating your local sawyer, they often have stuff that a larger business wouldnt’ deal in or would have cut down further.