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Roubo Cabinet #1: Why and What?

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 04-26-2011 09:26 PM 2629 reads 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Roubo Cabinet series Part 2: Design Specs »

Twenty-five months ago I built my Roubo workbench based on plans in C. Schwarz’ first Workbenches book. I read the cautions to keep the underside of the benchtop clear of anything that would impede clamping, protruding holdfasts, etc. and finished the base with a simple shelf. I did add a small, single drawer to the underside about six months later, based on examples in Roubo illustrations, but nothing else.

About a year ago I was fortunate to come across a traditional cabinetmaker’s workbench that came out of an organ factory nearby. It has a chest of drawers underneath (four wide drawers and a hinged cubby on its right side) that I use for all the things that don’t fit in the Roubo’s small drawer (and that’s lots of my most commonly used hand tools). When I picked up the Stanley SW 750 set my problem came to a head – where to put my now complete chisel sets (Everlastings, SW 750 Re-Issues, cats and dogs, etc.)? A wall / bench rack or in a drawer? I think sometimes that a couple of low-profile drawers at the bottom of the Roubo would be a very good thing, because what’s down there now isn’t used at all or simply gets covered in dust and shavings. I do not want to fill the space with a cabinet; I don’t work that way and don’t want a kitchen cabinet with a thick top. I use my hold fasts and use the bench as a total clamping tool, so the bottom has to stay essentially clear. Isn’t there middle ground here? Maybe something like this?

It’ll be an all-drawer cabinet, unless the right side is a door, like what’s in the traditional bench cabinet. But a door wouldn’t work in the Roubo because there is a sliding deadman on the underside of the bench that would hinder the door’s ability to be used freely. But the thought is my #45 (and others) need a home / large drawer rather than the far away shelf it’s sitting on now.

Sounds like I have a project on my hands.

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



7 comments so far

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1448 posts in 1357 days


#1 posted 04-26-2011 11:12 PM

I’m currently building a small shaker-type bench with underside drawers and a cabinet. I need the additional storage, more than I need additional clamping options. Plus, since its a small bench, the cabinetry and its contents add much needed mass.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10219 posts in 1343 days


#2 posted 04-26-2011 11:31 PM

@Tedstor – I understand completely the benefits of storage and mass – this should deliver both but with the clearance I need between benchtop and cabinet so holdfasts work without issue. This build, fully loaded, will likely add well over a hundred pounds to the bench and I like that. And you’re not blogging your bench build yet? I’ll follow along if you do… :-)

Oh, and I love the vintage Craftsman avitar!

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

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1840 days


#3 posted 04-26-2011 11:49 PM

as I understood then was the benchplanes stored on the shelf under the benches
and didn´t a Rubobench have a big shelf :-)

but I wuold make a wallcabinet to store you tools in and hang it very near or above the bench

Dennis

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10219 posts in 1343 days


#4 posted 04-26-2011 11:59 PM

@Dennis – For awhile I had bench planes under the bench, but there was just too much dust / debris to leave them there. Take a look at my shop pics and you’ll see where the planes live now; not enclosed, but in a wall-hung cabinet right next to the bench where I can reach them. The Roubo cabinet is for chisels and small hand tools; it should allow for very usable space for some tools on top, while projects are in-work (they’ll be easier to reach than if they were at the bottom of the bench) but I don’t plan on using it that way for now.

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

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1840 days


#5 posted 04-27-2011 12:41 AM

do you still have the old bench :-)

I like your corner left to the window but that wuold be the place to sneak in the wallhunged toolcabinet
I know I am bad …lol but consider a big turn around redoooo of the shop org.
I like your plane till though :-)

take care
Dennis

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6259 posts in 1525 days


#6 posted 04-27-2011 01:54 AM

I think there is nothing in the shop that is more important to customize to your particular needs than the workbench. Swartz says keep the underside clear. Fine. But THOUSANDS of woodworkers like to have drawers and cabinets under there and it works great for them. How can both be correct?

Simple. Swartz uses lots of long holdfasts and large jawed wooden clamps. So HE needs it open below the top. I use bench dogs and plane stops and don’t like a holdfast in my way. But I DO LIKE to have my tools organized close to the bench. So cabinets and drawers make sense for me.

Take some time to examine how YOU work. Do you REALLY need that open space? Or are you just keeping it open because Swartz convinced you to?

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10219 posts in 1343 days


#7 posted 04-27-2011 04:13 AM

@Stumpy – I am on board! I’ll measure the space, but I’m sure there’s room for a cabinet that still allows for hold fasts. I just have to come up with the right dimensions. I have Jorgensens and pipe clamps, no big Jaws.

@Dennis – You are tough on me! I’ll maybe do a wall mount in the future, but the window you’re seeing leaks and needs to be replaced sooner rather than later, so I’m staying away from mounting much alongside it for now. And I need better skills to pull that off well. But keep pushing me, my friend! And yes, I have both benches!

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

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