Like many weekend woodworkers I made due for years with half-baked workbenches. A few years back I saw the Roubo design and knew I would build it one day. That day has come. I am a retired AF officer (well…retired from the AF not from working :)) who has decided to get serious about my hobby. The furniture we have been dragging around the country and world could really use replacing. So I need a serious bench to help.
A little explanation of my title: I call it a “Super Glide” because I am using drawer glides for both the wagon vise and the parallel guide of the leg vise. I am not exactly a purist when it comes to woodworking and the Roubo design won’t suffer from a little modern help. More on that later.
The “Recycled” bit is due to the fact that I am cheap! I would have loved to build my bench out of maple but I don’t want to afford it. Since I am from the Northwest I thought I would try Douglas Fir. My first thought was to get lumber from a box store but then I had a better idea…I would find some recycled timbers. I found a source at the St Vincent De Paul thrift store in Dayton, OH…where I now live. They had stacks of very dry, very old Doug Fir and Pine rough sawn 4×6s from homes in the are that are being demolished.
I brought it home, dusted it off and started looking for metal! I bought a small metal detector that worked very well…it was the Little Wizard by Lumber Wizard. Some of the nails were modern but many were square so these timbers are indeed very old. I have access to the wood shop at Wright Patterson AF Base but since these timbers are recycled they didn’t want me to use their bladed tools…for good reason. So, my only recourse was to build that really cool jig of Nick Offerman’s featured in Fine Woodworking.
Here is my stack of recycled lumber:
Here is the jig:
After a several hours of being stooped over moving the router back and forth, back and forth I decided an extension handle might help so I screwed one to my router base plate with piano hinge in between…much better! It would have been much more comfortable if I had a bench to raise the jig up on…kind of a chicken/egg issue.
And, after many hours of routing, here are my dressed timbers. The large pine timbers on the left were a 5×7 beam that I will use to make the legs.
Stay tuned for the next installment when I will mill the timbers for the 4 inch thick top!