I'll have to admit that I only used the Swartz article as a jumping off point. The final design is a combination of several different designs. As to keeping it clean, I have a piece of 1/4" hardboard that goes on top if I am going to do a glue-up or anything that might damage the top with grease or oil.
Yes, you can find SYP at Home Depot (not all of them though). I built a workbench using 2x8s, ripped each one into two for a 3" slab. Spend your time sorting through the stack (bring a friend!) to get straight boards, or you'll be dressing forever. An hour sorting saves three hours jointing. Also, don't shop for 2x8s on the weekend, or you'll get the leftovers the contractors passed over.
Last edited by Bas Pluim; 01-08-2008 at 9:22 AM. Reason: typo
I agonized for 2 years on what to build for a bench. Finally I decided to build a basic bench from SYP with a top made of 4 layers of 3/4" baltic birch with a SYP edge from plans in, I think, Popular Woodworking. It has turned out to be a nice bench with the only real drawback being that I'll probalby not be able to ever redo the top if it needs it.
I couldn't find SYP at the big box stores, but I did find it at my local lumber yard. The only drawback was that it was in 12' lenghts of 2x12. However, since they deliver for free, it wasn't an issue. I told the guy what I was doing with it and he and I picked out a few particularly nice ones which they brought out a day or two later. The material was over the normal 1-1/2" thickness enough that I was able to plane it to 1-1/2".
When I was growing up in Louisiana, virtually all of the construction lumber used in the area was SYP, 1x's as well as 2x's. I'd never heard of "white wood" until I moved out of the South over 35 yrs ago.