My Friend Named Roubo #1: Thoughts & Design

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Blog entry by BareFeet posted 08-28-2012 02:17 PM 1161 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My Friend Named Roubo series Part 2: Workbench Beginnings »

I’ve begun. After months and years of trolling the internets and wondering what (and when) I am going to build, I started today. Over the last 6 years since I first owned a home, I have acquired an abundance of tools. I’ve always had more tools than the average bear, however when you buy a home that’s a ‘fixer-up-er’ there are going to be MANY times when you don’t have the right tool and your father doesn’t either. I managed to get my hands on the regulars like a circular saw, drills, sanders, hammers, and screwdrivers but also a few more advanced tools like a table saw, router, and some handplanes off of EBay. After ripping out walls, installing new cabinets and flooring, and gutting a bathroom I quickly decided that wasn’t the woodworking I wanted to do. I want to build stuff. I want to build furniture- fine furniture. Maybe someday I’ll be good enough at it where I can sell some and make a living, but for now I’m just trying to learn the basics. What better of a way to learn then to build the largest, most useful tool I might ever own…The Roubo.

My first real project. Nothing this large has been built in my shop (aka- one stall of my garage) before. I plan to do it as genuine as I can- but on a budget. The top will be a butcher block table that I managed to score from my brother after helping him turn his rental property over one weekend. It’s a bit rough, but will get cleaned up a lot as I flatten it and have it repurposed. The table is 36” X 60” and about 1.5” thick. A while back I saw this blog post buy The Schwarz showing how to make a bench top out of two sandwiched pieces of butcher block. That was it….that would be my top. My plan is to rip the table lengthwise, sandwich the two pieces giving me a slab coming in somewhere around 18 X 60. Final dimensions will depend on waste and also the skirt and endcaps that I end up adding.

I’ve been thinking about what I was going to do for the legs. Recently I was out with my Sister-in-law at her grandfathers old farm. They were tearing down the barn that was 100+ years old and unsafe. She had some interest in saving some doors and beams to have some furniture built to preserve the fond memories that she had from there. In exchange for offering to build the furniture for her, I was graciously allowed to pick through the pile and take whatever I wanted. The company that paid to take it down had already picked out what they could use and would be burning the rest. (To be honest- I wish I had a week off of work to sort through it all as there was some beautiful wood in there). I managed to score a few nice beams. They have some dry rot in them so I’m not sure how much of it will be useful. We’ll know more on that this Fall.

As far as work holding goes, I had a couple good scores on ebay. First I managed to get a 20” long walnut 2.5” wooden screw for my leg vise for VERY cheap. It was a part of an old book press and I think it will work perfectly for me. I also managed to find (what I think is) an old Sheldon quick-release vise that I will use as an end-vise. I’m not totally sure if it’s a Sheldon but it looks and operates EXACTLY the same. The book press came with a nice 18” X 6” slab that I will use for the chop on the tail-vise. I’m still not sure what I’ll be using for the chop on the leg-vise yet.

So- there we have it. I know I have hefty plans but it will be a great learning experience and I hope to develop and hone a lot of old and new skills. Stay tuned for more- I’m headed out to the shop now to see if the glue is dry on the top.

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