Roubo Schmoobo- A hybrid approach to that massive dovetailed bench #2: How about them dovetailed legs.

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Blog entry by BigRedKnothead posted 02-08-2013 03:26 AM 7999 reads 4 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Millin it up, layin it out, gluin it up Part 2 of Roubo Schmoobo- A hybrid approach to that massive dovetailed bench series Part 3: Stretchers, Vises, Finishing up »

“Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.” Besides, I try to challenge myself every project. The dovetails/mortises are time-consuming, but they make the bench.

After milling up the 8/4(2in)walnut, I picked the best looking pieces for the face/dovetails. In a bonehead move, I milled the walnut exactly the width of the dovetail/mortises. I should have made them a little wider to give myself some play when I had to laminate the legs later. They turned out alright though. I did however, leave them long. That way if I messed up a tail, I could just lop it off and try again.
Anyway, scribed and cut the tails on the tablesaw. This was a little tricky. I have a left-tilt saw. I made one cut while the piece was flat, and the other on edge. A sacrificial fence was needed to line up the cut. My home depot hand saws in the background explain why I didn’t attempt this entirely by hand. This pic is right before I had to finish the process with hand saws.

Like any machined tenons, I tried to make them barely oversized. Used a dado blade to take hog off material on backside for thickness. Then the hand tools. Not gonna lie, took a couple of hours with chisel and plane to get that piston fit. One more project where my Lie Nielson Rabbet plane was worth it’s weight in gold. Why don’t I have anything else by LN? Oh right, I’m just a po white boy. A freckled one at that.

With the dovetails done. I laminated two more pieces of 8/4 stock. Dado blade used to juse like any other tenon. However, care taken to line everyting up with dovetail.

To avoid any variances in lining up. I did the last leg lamination with the leg instailled. Worked alright. Masking tape to keep the leg from gluing to the top was a good idea.

Wifey snapped a shot of me truing up the legs with my prized stanley 8c. Would ya look at the size of that gargantuan cranium. It’s like an orange on a toothpick!

Bam! Now we’re getting somewhere. Sidenote: Going with 37” for bench height. I know C. Schwarz is shreeking. But I’m 6’6” with a bad back. I can always trim it down if I don’t like it. Who’s gonna help me turn it over to trim the legs after it’s done? Anyone? Anyone?

Not too bad for my first dovetails. Huge ones at that. It has went as well as I could have hoped. Surely I’m not the first guy to do it this way, but I just pulled from my furniture making experience. I am definitely more experienced with power tools. But the hand tool skills are developing. I have already used planes more on this project than any other. There’s not much fear factor on a bench. Little tearout, woopdeeedooo.

Questions and suggestions welcomed. Heck, make fun of me if you want! I love to laugh.
Happy shavings ya’ll, Dan

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

11 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15353 posts in 2618 days

#1 posted 02-08-2013 03:40 AM

Out-friggin-standing! Very cool, from the #8C to the dovetails to the walnut. Congrats, will follow along!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View CL810's profile


3786 posts in 2988 days

#2 posted 02-08-2013 04:09 AM

Love the walnut. It’s gonna be a beaut!

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2183 days

#3 posted 02-08-2013 04:13 AM

Beautiful. I like the contrast between the legs and top, and I love red oak workbenches.

Are you going to add some stretchers on the legs to prevent racking? Maybe dovetailed stretchers?

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8515 posts in 1982 days

#4 posted 02-08-2013 04:23 AM

Thanks guys. Starting the stretchers tomorrow. Probably just pegged mortise and tenon. More oak. Still thinking about a sliding dovetail or breadboard for the ends for the top.

Also can’t decide if I should glue the leg to the top. It’s so heavy and tight, there’s no way it would lift. I dunno.

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

18715 posts in 2567 days

#5 posted 02-08-2013 07:38 PM

i guess it’s ok if you like that kind of thing. I meant the perfect dovetails and the tight tenons and all. It doesn’t leave much room for the shims and wood filler though! That would cut out my whole day 2.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3648 days

#6 posted 02-08-2013 07:44 PM

looks good so far

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Boatman53's profile


1056 posts in 2196 days

#7 posted 02-09-2013 04:04 AM

Nice job on those dovetails. And a simpler take on that whole joint. Thanks for taking the time to share it. I’ll look forward to the next installment.

-- Jim, Long Island, NY home of the chain leg vise

View Chris Peroni's profile

Chris Peroni

101 posts in 1938 days

#8 posted 02-10-2013 04:42 AM

looks great and your head is a normal size- no huge pillow needed.

-- Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. -Plato

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8515 posts in 1982 days

#9 posted 02-10-2013 07:09 PM

Ha! Wondering if anyone would catch the “so I married an axe murderer” joke. Classic. Little Ferris Bueller in there too. “Anyone?”

Couldn’t help but joke around to spice up the blog. But I must be stuck on the old movies. Haven’t had cable for years. I’d rather be in my shop anyway.

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

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3151 days

#10 posted 02-26-2013 09:17 PM

I see you flexing the guns in front of your lady! LOL. It came out great man. Good work!

Wow, what a great idea on laminating the legs, you saved so much chopping!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View earbogast's profile


5 posts in 935 days

#11 posted 06-20-2016 11:11 PM

That’s really nice

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