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Building My Roubo Bench

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Blog series by Andy Panko updated 876 days ago 11 parts 53305 reads 40 comments total

Part 1: Why I Decided to Build This

919 days ago by Andy Panko | 4 comments »

So after reading Christopher Schwarz’s book Workbenches: From Design and Theory to Construction and Use, I decided it was time I built myself a “real” workbench. I’ve had various bench-like structures that I’ve used as assembly tables, clamping areas, clutter storage, etc. My current “bench” is basically a large custom cabinet base with a formica top and an integrated Kreg measuring fence built on it that I use for making cuts on my miter saw....

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Part 2: (Mis)Adventures in Getting the Material

918 days ago by Andy Panko | 6 comments »

At some point in December, I decided I’d be building my bench out of Douglas Fir. As stated in Chris’s book, Doug Fir is stiff and moderately hard. It isn’t that heavy, but given the amount of material I’ll be using on the bench, the final product should be heavy enough. Also as recommended in the book, I realized that a big box store would be a fine place to get the lumber. 2×12s are readily available at every Home Depot and Lowes near me. I have a good tabl...

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Part 3: Rough Cutting the Lumber and Starting the Top

907 days ago by Andy Panko | 2 comments »

After letting the lumber acclimate for a couple of weeks, I rough cut all the pieces, leaving them all slightly oversized so I can cut, joint and plane them down to final dimensions along the way. I have a 12” miter saw, but it is not a slider. Therefore, I’m not able to cross cut 12” wide dimensional lumber on it. So I made a basic little cross cut sled to make all the cross cuts on my table saw. Since the top of the bench is the most important – functionall...

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Part 4: Building the Wagon Vise

902 days ago by Andy Panko | 9 comments »

I decided to put a wagon vise in my bench. I considered a traditional L-shaped tail vise, and also a twin screw end vise. But I really like the simplicity of a wagon vise. Furthermore, since I’m limited on shop space to the tail end of where my bench will be, I thought a wagon vise would consume the least amount of real estate off of the tail. And finally, a wagon vise seemed like it would be a really cool project to build! I hadn’t planned out the exact dimensions of the v...

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Part 5: Finishing the Top

893 days ago by Andy Panko | 2 comments »

I had previously finished laminating the two halves that would make up the top. I made two 12” wide sections, ran each through the planer to smooth and true up the tops and bottoms, and ran each mating edge across the jointer. And as I wrote in the previous blog entry, one of the halves already has the finished wagon vise built into it. The two halves were now all done and ready to be glued. It was tricky maneuvering the two parts in the final glue up, as each section was heav...

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Part 6: Starting the Legs

893 days ago by Andy Panko | 2 comments »

Now that the top is done, it’s time to start the legs and stretchers. I wanted real thick and sturdy legs, so I’m going for 5” square. Prior to starting this project, I had never done any real lamination work. I’ve glued boards together before, end-to-end, to make wider planks. But that material was only 1/2” thick. I never did anything this big before, but this whole lamination thing seemed pretty easy in concept. Sure enough, it wasn’t too bad. Now...

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Part 7: Making the Stretchers

892 days ago by Andy Panko | 6 comments »

I wanted to make the bench’s stretchers as proportionately beefy as the top and legs. Since my legs are 5” square, I figured it would work well, and look good, to make the stretchers about 3 1/2” high, and about 2 1/2” thick. So I had to AGAIN joint, plane, glue, clamp and wait some more. I’ve been getting kind of bored of doing glue-ups, so I’m glad this was the last laminating I’ll have to do on this project. I want to integrate 3/4” thick...

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Part 8: Attaching the Stretchers to the Legs

885 days ago by Andy Panko | 1 comment »

I had thought that I previously finished the legs (except for mortising for the stretchers). However, after visualizing how the top would mate to the legs, I realized I needed to adjust the tenons on the two legs on the left of the bench. I’m going to be putting the left legs flush with the left edge of the top. I don’t want to be able to see the tenons from the side of the top when the project is complete. Using the table saw, I notched the tenons on the top of the legs so th...

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Part 9: Finishing the Underside of the Top

880 days ago by Andy Panko | 2 comments »

Since I couldn’t start drawboring the stretchers and legs together, I thought I’d spend my wait time finishing all the work on the underside of the bench. First, I had to make sure the underside of the top was reasonably flat. Prior to doing the final glue-up of the top, I had two 12” wide sections, each of which was run through my planer. So I knew those two sections were identical in thickness and were very flat. And I used my jointer to joint the mating edge of each s...

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Part 10: Connecting the Stretchers to Legs...to THE TOP!

879 days ago by Andy Panko | 1 comment »

These posts haven’t been exactly chronological. For example, in the last entry, (about finishing the underside of the top) some of the stuff I did prior to finishing the legs and stretchers, and some of it I did after. But for the sake of giving better flow to this blog, I thought I’d lump stuff together in logical parts. I digress. My drawbore pin arrived from Lee Valley recently, so I was able to finally connect all these mortis and tenon joints. As I had previously menti...

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Part 11: THE FINAL PRODUCT!!!

876 days ago by Andy Panko | 5 comments »

It’s a wrap – my workbench project is now complete. The only thing I have left to do is to make the sliding deadman. But honestly, I don’t really plan on using that much, if at all. I built in the ability to have one because I thought it would be cool, and I figured it wasn’t too much work to allow for one, so I did. But I’m in no rush to actually make the deadman, so I’ll officially consider the bench project complete at this point, and worry about mak...

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