Best Wood For Workbench – Some Facts That You Should Know


For anyone having an interest in buying a workbench for yourself, this is the right place for you. I am going to show you some general knowledge about how to choose the best wood for workbench. By going through this article, you are going to make a wise decision.


What Material For A Workbench Top?

For all new woodworkers, one of the most confusing things to learn is not what tools to use or how to use them. Instead, you should identify the wood choice for workbench top. And of course, you need to know the basics to get started and make your workbench.

Solid lumber

Sometimes, the term lumber refers just to the solid wood. In other words, it is milled from a tree as opposed to manufactured products and sheet goods such as plywood or MDF.

Most of the users buy the dimensional lumber. They are boards that have been cut and dried to standard width and thickness. 3/4-inch boards are the most commonly sold for woodworking.

There are two kinds of solid wood to choose from: softwood and hardwood. All solid lumber is susceptible to expansion and contraction. During rainy or humid months, the boards will draw in the moisture. It will cause them to expand along their widths. Then, in the drier months, they will contract as they lose that moisture.


Softwood is lumber that comes from a conifer tree. Typically, you can see them with needles and cones like a pine tree.

Therefore, pine boards are commonly used in home construction and framing. They are perfect for projects that you intend to paint. And a lot of people love the natural look of pine.

New Zealand pine boards

New Zealand pine boards

Pine is easy to work with. It cuts and sands smoothy, as well as being gentle on your blades. The main drawback is the softness. It means that it will scratch and dent easier than hardwoods. So, it is not the best choice for furniture that will receive a lot of use.

Also, it can be challenging to find boards that are straight and not curved. You need to check if a board is straight by looking down its length with one eye. Just take the time to pick the best boards.


Technically, hardwood is any wood that comes from a deciduous tree. These trees have leaves like an oak or maple. And well, they are usually physically harder than softwood.


An amusing exception would be balsa which is an incredible softwood. But since the balsa tree is deciduous, it is considered a hardwood.

>>> Read more: Is poplar a hardwood?

If you want to build something that will last for many years, hardwood is a good choice. It is rarely stained, so it would be a waste of money to cover it up with paint. It is almost always protected with a clear top coat such as varnish, lacquer, or oil.

Hardwoods are great for combining to achieve different looks by contrasting wood. The density of hardwood can make them tough on tools. And of course, the biggest drawback is that hardwoods can be extremely expensive, especially the exotic species.


Plywood is one of the most popular and versatile building materials you can use. Thus, we cannot ignore this material when talking about the best wood for workbench. But they can make you confused with their own coded designations that describe its quality.

Plywood differs from solid lumber because it is manufactured. Thin veneers of real wood are stacked in opposite grain directions and glued together. This crisscrossing is what gives plywood its strength and stability.

In general, the more layers the plywood has, the higher the quality will be. Moreover, people tend to glue the plywood to increase its durability. Plywood that comes sanded on both sides is also best. And make sure to look for plywood with the least amount of voids along the edge.

There are a lot of advantages to using the plywood instead of solid lumber. It is fairly inexpensive but strong and stable. You do not have to worry about the expansion and contraction.

It will not warp, and it is a great option for large surfaces such as a workbench and a table top. It is equally strong in either direction. But there are a few disadvantages to using plywood. A 4-by-8 sheet of plywood is heavy and difficult to move around.

The thin wood veneer on plywood can be tricky to cut. Cutting against the grain can cause it to chip out or splinter. A good trick is to run some masking tape along the cutline and use a sharp blade when cutting against the grain.


In summary, I wish that all of the information in this article will increase your understanding of this topic. You will know how to choose the best wood for workbench by yourself. However, in case you have any queries or confusion, please do not hesitate to keep in touch with me anytime.