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Roubo Workbench #3: Some Design Considerations

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Blog entry by Brandon posted 01-19-2012 06:21 AM 6031 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Choosing the Material Part 3 of Roubo Workbench series Part 4: Constructing the Top »

Plans—they’re useful I’m sure, but I hardly ever use them. Sometimes I’ll sketch a few things down on graph paper, or other times I’ll actually use plans from a book, yet most of the time I tend to wing it. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I had Christopher Schwarz’s blue book which actually had plans for a Roubo bench. I think if I had purchased SYP and tons of it for a bench then I would have followed Chris’s plans pretty closely. Yet I was making a slightly different bench and decided to look at Chris’s book more for ideas and general measurements than for detailed plans.

That said, I decided the width and length of the top based on my needs, shop space, and the best use of material I had. I knew I wanted it to be around 26” wide (it ended up being 26 1/8”). I chose 26” because I like a slightly wider bench for cross-grain stability, but not too wide that I couldn’t easily reach across it (my former outfeed table/workbench was 30”). The length was a trickier issue because I wanted a large bench but my one-car garage said No. I decided that 60” was good, but after adding the end caps it turned out to be 63 1/8” and another 2” for the tail vise. I’m not complaining.

The spacing of the legs was done solely by what looked good. I drew some pencil lines then rounded the lengths to integers to make measuring go easier. Once I cut out the mortises on the bench the spacing was set in stone. Or wood for that matter.

Not all the legs were the same size. I would have liked to have made four 5” wide legs but I didn’t have enough material and I wasn’t about to purchase more. So I made three legs 3 1/2” wide which is plenty for this bench because they’re made of beech. The fourth leg is actually 6” wide and sits behind the leg vise. I made this leg thicker to give better clamping support for the leg vise.

I dry fitted the legs in place and then made measurements for the stretchers. Also, my design called for through tenons in the stretchers, a design that I particularly like and so I had to make the stretchers that go lengthwise on a different height than those that went from the front to back. See photo.

One significant difference between the Schwarz Roubo and mine was how the sliding deadman was attached. Since my stretchers were not flush with the legs and the face of the bench, I had to attach the deadman by making a wooden bracket on the back, not on the bottom of the deadman. This turned out fine.

I also didn’t go with a crochet because I’m still waiting on Smitty to convince me that it’s useful in cooperation with a leg vise. My leg vise design follows closely to Schwarz’s dimensions. The tail vise is another matter. Schwarz retrofitted a wagon vise on his 2005 Roubo, but I just used a Lee Valley front vise as a tail vise and I think it’s a great option because it adds a little more versatility than a wagon vise. I wouldn’t have minded a Veritas twin screw vise, but that wasn’t in the budget.

I apologize if this was just rambling. In the next post I’ll get into some construction details.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"



12 comments so far

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4885 posts in 1319 days


#1 posted 01-19-2012 06:28 AM

Brandon,
It is hard to tell from the pics. Does your dead man attachment still ride on a “V” shaped ridge on the stretcher?

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

5369 posts in 1294 days


#2 posted 01-19-2012 06:34 AM

WTH Brandon…I just went to your home page to see pics of this snazzy bench and your setup. But there were no pics, and no details! I couldnt even post a smart a$# comment. What gives? Lets see some pics of the beast in action.

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4144 posts in 1647 days


#3 posted 01-19-2012 06:43 AM

Scott, it’s not a V-shaped ridge, but it does slope. I hope to address this in a later post, but basically since the bracket attaches from the back of the deadman I sloped it so that gravity would pull the bottom of the deadman tightly against the stretcher (if that makes sense). Here’s a quick and not-to-scale drawing of how it works. The black outline is deadman. The red is the stretcher. The Blue is the bench top.

You see the deadman bracket sits on the stretcher in a way that gravity pulls it toward the stretcher, but it still has a enough vertical room to be moved around easily.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4144 posts in 1647 days


#4 posted 01-19-2012 06:45 AM

Shane, are you talking about my “workshop” page? I didn’t want to post pictures because my shop is messy. :-)

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View NateX's profile

NateX

88 posts in 1692 days


#5 posted 01-19-2012 08:40 AM

Wow, that looks like a beautiful bench. Lets see some more pictures of that thing.

View Brit's profile

Brit

5237 posts in 1538 days


#6 posted 01-19-2012 10:35 AM

I look forward to this blog Brandon. All I can do is dream of my bench at the moment, so blogs like yours help with the pain of having to make do with my crappy Workmate. I like the French cleat idea for the deadman.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4144 posts in 1647 days


#7 posted 01-19-2012 03:40 PM

NateX, there are plenty of pictures on my projects page: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/59460

I’ll be posting more as the blog progresses.

Thanks, Brit. I don’t know how you do it with just a Workmate!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1350 days


#8 posted 01-19-2012 07:49 PM

I am learning a lot from this. Thanks for the right up….the rambling is fine too.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10087 posts in 1314 days


#9 posted 01-19-2012 07:55 PM

Because it holds one end of a longer piece being worked ‘on-edge’ (this one is 28”),


and,

It looks cool.

Aw, heck, you won’t add one so it doesn’t matter what pics are posted. :-) Enjoy your bench!

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

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4144 posts in 1647 days


#10 posted 01-19-2012 08:01 PM

Thanks Ryan!

Smitty, great photos! I do love the aesthetics of it. I may actually install one—we’ll see.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Brit's profile

Brit

5237 posts in 1538 days


#11 posted 01-19-2012 08:35 PM

Smitty and there was I thinking it was just somewhere to hang your coat. :-)

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10087 posts in 1314 days


#12 posted 01-20-2012 02:16 AM

Well, there’s that benefit too… ;-)

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

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