Super Glide Recycled Roubo Workbench #1: Prepping the lumber

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Blog entry by WheelsAF posted 05-11-2012 03:47 AM 19870 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Super Glide Recycled Roubo Workbench series Part 2: Prepping the bench top timbers »

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!

8 comments so far

View IndianJoe's profile


425 posts in 2217 days

#1 posted 05-11-2012 10:21 AM

I need to make a jig like that I got some big 3’’ thick slobs I need to work with and I have been using a plan and it is a lot of work .
vary nice wood will be looking for work

-- Nimkee** Joe

View John's profile


341 posts in 3765 days

#2 posted 05-11-2012 11:01 AM

looking forward to following the build! do u have a sketch of how the “glide” assembly will work?

-- John - Central PA -

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2452 days

#3 posted 05-11-2012 02:55 PM

The hinging push stick is a brilliant addition to the router sled.

-- Brian Timmons -

View WheelsAF's profile


15 posts in 2356 days

#4 posted 05-12-2012 02:55 AM


I have already built the glide assembly for the wagon vise and am in the process of doing the same for the parallel guide. I don’t have any sketches but I will post pics of both in the near future.


Thanks for the complement. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. I frankly was too tired of leaning over all the time and I had lots of routing left to do. I have found that in most cases it is worth stopping work to build a jig or make an improvement (though it seems annoying at the time).


View WheelsAF's profile


15 posts in 2356 days

#5 posted 05-12-2012 02:56 AM

Brian…should have been compliment…in case the spelling police are monitoring :)

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2660 days

#6 posted 05-12-2012 03:18 AM

Rescuing timbers for a bench. Everything’s right in the World:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View WheelsAF's profile


15 posts in 2356 days

#7 posted 05-14-2012 02:55 AM


Thanks…I like to think every little bit helps. In any case, it is hard to get your hands on really old-growth timber in any other way. And this wood was VERY cheap…I paid less than $125 for the whole lot including the huge 5×7 beam!

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2174 days

#8 posted 05-14-2012 03:02 AM

Now that is a sweet jig!

I totally respect and admire you using recycled timber to!

I am looking forward to your future posts.

Thank you very much for your service!

-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

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