Roubo Schmoobo- A hybrid approach to that massive dovetailed bench #1: Millin it up, layin it out, gluin it up

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by BigRedKnothead posted 02-07-2013 04:18 AM 6651 reads 17 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Roubo Schmoobo- A hybrid approach to that massive dovetailed bench series Part 2: How about them dovetailed legs. »

Here’s my attempt at building a Roubo bench (with those sweet dovetailed legs) combining power and hand tools. Many of have us seen Chris Schwarz write about doing this with project all hand tools. I opted for my hybrid ways for a couple reasons:
1) I don’t have the hand tools nor the skill to pull this off by hand yet.
2) This is my hobby (a rather involved one). I want to enjoy it. Chopping out morties by hand for days on end doesn’t sound like fun to me.

I should also note, I hadn’t planned on blogging this, but a few friends and Ljs were interested, so here it is. I just shot pics to show progress, not really as intructional, but I think you’ll get the point.

It all starts with a load of 8/4 white oak for my top. I used my jack plane to roughly true up one edge and ripped them to 4 1/2 in. Can you hear my tablesaw in this pic begging for a new owner?
Why white oak for the top? Becasue I can get it as cheap as southern yellow pine here, and because I am secretly in love with the oak tree.

Several hours of milling (jointer and planer) I have some trued up stock ready for layout.

I didn’t take a pic of the layout, so I’ll jump ahead with pic that’ll show you how it ends up. Oh contraire, those dovetails and mortises are cut on the tablesaw before glue up. As for now, I layed them out so they would be directly accross from each other.

This is how I did the dovetails/mortises. The angled cuts were done with the tablesaw at 45 degrees (you will need someone to help support the long end). Then I used a dado stack to hog out as much as I could. Followed by a good ol chisel to get the rest. The square mortises can just be done with the dado blade. My tenons are 1 1/2 in thick, with a 2 in space between. These can be adjusted if you are no using 8/4 stock.
I suppose one could line up their mortises with the laminated glue joint. But I chose not to.

Massive glue up in sections. I have an 8in jointer so the inner sections have 4 pieces. I was careful on the out sections to keep my dovetails and mortises lined up.

After my sections were dry. I milled them some more, being careful with the outer sections. I really didn’t want my jointer to hog a chunk out of my dovetail. Help was needed to support these heavy sections. Retired neighbors come in very handy.
Then I only had a to add the two outer sections, paying close attentions to my layout lines. If they are not truly accross from each other, the base cannot be square.

How about some legs? I got a deal on knotty old Iowa walnut shorts. Should make some cool legs. Actually, the legs are pretty much done. I blog about them tomorrow. I’ve had my fill of photobucket for one night.

Click on part two at the top of the blog if you want to see the rest.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

7 comments so far

View Lumberpunk's profile


324 posts in 1849 days

#1 posted 02-07-2013 04:37 AM

I have tons of cedar, fir, pine and larch, spruce, birch… trade you for some oak? probably to far to travel oh well. nice looking work look forward to seeing more.

-- If someone tells you you have enough tools and don't need any more, stop talking to them, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

8178 posts in 1893 days

#2 posted 02-07-2013 07:03 AM

For some reason those pics set off my antivirus.


View oldnovice's profile


5807 posts in 2880 days

#3 posted 02-07-2013 07:49 AM

No antivirus alert for me (scanned the web page too) but then I am on my tablet with a different non Windows/Apple OS.

BigRedKnothead, you have made some progress and it’s starting to look good and I like your writing with a little touch of humor. Is that native Iowa oak?

I have some 100 year old native Iowa red oak … all the way here in San Jose California!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8207 posts in 1495 days

#4 posted 02-07-2013 12:16 PM

Yes, the oak and walnut are from a small-time lumber guy here in Southwest Iowa. I wouldn’t mind trading to get a little more variety, but, of course, there is the logistcs.

The virus thing is peculiar becase my computer was giving me warnings when I tried to resize the photos with photobucket. I ended up resizing with a different program before uploading with more success. Sorry if it gave anyone grief, but I think there is something up with photobucket.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Mike53E's profile


12 posts in 1717 days

#5 posted 02-15-2013 12:49 AM

Big red, time for another blog entry on those legs. I glued up the center section of my top the other day, I have access to a 21” planer. But 15 boards at once was a mess I may not have gotten it all done before the open time expire but I don’t know what the significance of that will be. I left off the outer six boards I still need to cut the mortises.

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8207 posts in 1495 days

#6 posted 02-27-2013 01:27 AM

It’s done. Just click on the next blog in the series at the top of the page.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View buck_cpa's profile


149 posts in 1400 days

#7 posted 04-02-2013 05:30 PM

Nice bench. On the leg vise, how far down from the bench top did you put your screw?

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics