I’ve been planning a workbench build for two years, maybe a bit longer. Started by reading everything I could, followed by some quality SketchUp time. Had a design, changed it. Tweaked it again. Threw the design out and started over. More tweaking followed. And so on…
Settled on a Roubo variant, and ordered Benchcrafted hardware. A year and a half ago.
Complete re-design once again. Did a couple tweaks to that and ordered the lumber. Should be well-acclimated to my shop by now.
Threw out the design and started over. Again. Getting pretty good at SketchUp.
And tweaked the design a couple more times. Fairly small tweaks, as far as these things go.
In typical Roubo fashion, the bench will be massive. The more mass the better. To that end, I picked the densest wood I could easily and affordably obtain for the base – Jatoba. Legs will be 5 1/2” x 5 1/2” x 29 1/2” and weigh 30 lbs each. Add in stretchers and bottom shelf and the base will weigh over 200 lbs.
The top will be a laminated slab of cherry. 4” thick by 26” deep and 7’ long. That will weigh about 200 lbs on its own. Why cherry? I got a truckload at a good price, plus it looks good.
Add in the hardware, a chop and a deadman and the bench will be over 450 lbs, maybe close to 500. I’ve got a cabinet planned for the interior space of the bench, should add another 100 lbs by the time it is loaded up with tools. Massive is good.
I had to commit to building the bench at some point, and today was as good a time as any. Still in a cast (left wrist) and still don’t have the dust collection hooked up in the new shop. So the top will have to wait a week or two. In the meantime, I can start on the legs.
Here’s the lumber for the 4 legs:
Each board is destined to become one leg, so start by cutting them into 33” lengths using my fancy miter saw station:
Two of the boards were just under 6” wide, but the other two were 8”. After cutting to length, I ripped them to width. Normally I keep a Freud combo blade on the saw, but this wood calls for something better suited to the task:
I’ve had it for over a year, still in its plastic wrap. I do like that Freud combo blade :-)
And quickly, there are 4 stacks of leg pieces and 1 stack of cut-offs. I’ll be keeping the cut-offs for something or other…
I still had some time, so I decided to glue up one leg. After jointing and planing, the first stack comes in at 5 3/4”.
Glue-up got a little exciting near the end when I emptied the glue jug. Had just enough to do the job. Was worried about the glue setting up before I had time to wait for it to drip from the jug.
Pretty even squeeze-out = good glue-up!
Coming out of clamps in the morning. Hoping to get 2 more done tomorrow.
-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design