YAR! - Yet Another Roubo #4: Finishing up

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Blog entry by Douglas posted 01-23-2013 12:43 AM 4735 reads 3 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Finishing the top & assembling bench Part 4 of YAR! - Yet Another Roubo series Part 5: Ok, Now it's done already »

Since last post, I was able to get some time to finish up almost the whole thing.

First, I got to finish and fit the face vise. For that, and for all the “fixtures” (the face vise chop &pin board, the sliding deadman, the end cap, and wagon chop) I used a nice piece of 8/4 ash. I’d never worked with ash before, and I really love how it works. Passing over it with a smoother plane gets it silky smooth.

For the face vise, I went with the Lee Valley screw hardware, as I like its simplicity. I’d already chopped out the mortise to fit the screw mount and pin board, so now I had to finish shaping the chop, fitting the hardware on the chop, and leveling out the top to sit flush with the top. I also drilled and sized the pin board.

I went together well, but the slot in the leg for the pin board was too tight, and I had to spend sometime widening to allow it to slide in and out smoothly. Finally it was all set, and with using a screwdriver as my pin (until I later make one with a store bought handle and piece of 3/8” steel rod), the vise was done.

Next up was the sliding deadman. Made from that same 8/4 ash, I resawed and planed it to get it down to 1 1/4” thick. I went into place easily, and looks great.

Then it was wagon vise time. If there was one new feature I was most looking forward to in this bench, it was this. The Benchcrafted $300 hardware was out of my budget, so I went with the $29 Lee Valley shoulder vise for the hardware. I wanted to be able to clamp pieces through the wagon hole, so having a screw in that space wasn’t going to work. I also wanted to make sure I could easily take the chop out if I needed to replace it. The Lee Valley kit seemed to fit that bill.

So I went with a simple upside-down “T” shape for the chop, with guide strips screwed beneath to hold it in. The end cap was 8/4 ash, and the chop was laminated from the same. Here’s the result…

Routing out the mortise for the screw mount in the end cap…

The end cap in place…

And the wagon vise coming together…

after drilling the dog holes…


So that’s it, almost. I still need to chop the 2”x2” mortise for the planing stop, and then I’ll be finishing the whole thing with Watco Danish Oil (natural). I also will be adding leather to the inside of the face vise chop, and inside the far wall of the wagon vise. I also have some grammercy holdfasts on order. The only holdfasts I had before were a pair of super crappy blue cast iron ones (I think from Rockler?). One of those cracked months ago, and the one remaining one is too short to do anything useful.

Overall, I am thrilled with the bench. The few times I used the face vise in finishing up these piece, the holding capacity was fantastic, a huge improvement over the Rockler quick release front vise I had before that always racked. And the wagon vise is a thrill, too. I clamped a 18” test piece in between the dogs, and it was rock solid. I love the fact that it is left handed; the days of fighting my old bench just to plane comfortably are over.

I’m happy to answer anyone’s questions about the build, but as you can see, I stuck the Schwarz Roubo plan pretty closely. The differences are that mine is only 7’2” long, not 8’, left handed, and I used the poor man’s vise hardware (but completely sufficient for the task!). I don’t regret sticking that closely to Schwarz’ plans, as I think it’s an awesome design.

Thanks for reading!

-- Douglas in Chicago -

17 comments so far

View 2bigfeet's profile


65 posts in 2731 days

#1 posted 01-23-2013 01:23 AM

Great job! Enjoy the hell out of it. :-)

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2537 days

#2 posted 01-23-2013 02:46 AM

Looks beautiful. One day I’ll make something that nice for myself.

-- Brian Timmons -

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2192 days

#3 posted 01-23-2013 03:47 AM

This looks great. You’re making me really jealous that I haven’t had shop time in a few weeks to finish my own.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View Parsimonia's profile


51 posts in 2003 days

#4 posted 01-23-2013 03:57 AM

That’s a work of art. Form and function.

-- More Ideas than Time.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3609 posts in 2303 days

#5 posted 01-23-2013 04:33 AM

Your workbench would make a nice piece of furniture for any house, but I know you’ve got other plans for it. Your wagon vise really came out nice. I don’t have one on my bench so I’m just a little envious. Great project and nice write up as well.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View murch's profile


1380 posts in 2676 days

#6 posted 01-23-2013 07:53 AM

Super job. Well done.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 2612 days

#7 posted 01-23-2013 04:09 PM

Thanks for the kind words everyone. It’s funny; while I’m not going to be all self-deprecating and say thing like “aw shucks, it really does suck and is lousy, but thanks anyway”, the pictures do really make everything look about 25% better than they do in person. The mortises look straighter, the joints tighter, and all those little places where there is a ding, or dent, or a little chipout on a corner seem to get “smoothed over” in the photos. I’ve only seriously been woodworking for about two years now, and this is my best effort to date. All told it was three long weekends, with a few hours here and there in the evenings during the weeks between. Total materials were about $300, excluding the only extra tools I needed to get was a $22 2” forstner bit to cut the hole for the wagon vise mount, and a $20 spiral upcut router bit to cut the groove for the deadman. Essential tools were:

6” jointer, 13” planer, table saw, band saw, drill press, router, jointer hand plane, chisels, hand brace with 3/8” & 3/4” auger bits, a few forstner bits.

I guess what I’m saying is; it’s NOT as beautiful (or “perfect”) as the photos might make it seem, and it’s not that hard for someone newer to woodworking to make something like this (or better).

I’ll post episode #5 in a few weeks when I finish it, all the leather, and when I put in the shelf.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3386 days

#8 posted 01-23-2013 07:26 PM

That is one fine looking bench Douglas, with a lot of nice features and details. Be Proud!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2537 days

#9 posted 01-23-2013 07:54 PM

Having taken a second look at this blog entry, I’m struck by something. The affordability of the Lee Valley vise hardware, about 90% cheaper than the Bench Crafted hardware, makes this suddenly seem like a much more affordable project!

And that is definitely encouraging.

-- Brian Timmons -

View DouginVa's profile


490 posts in 2325 days

#10 posted 01-24-2013 01:29 AM

I like your bench and the choice of materials. I’m a little torn between building a new workbench with new lumber like you’ve built and making one from antique timbers. I have a wood supplier near me that salvages wood from old buildings, etc. and the wood is very reasonably priced for salvaged wood. I like the old stuff becuase of the patina and character. What concerns me about new timber, especially in pine, is the weight. Is your bench nice & heavy. Is there any shifting around while hand planing?

-- Just a man with his chisel.........

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 2612 days

#11 posted 01-24-2013 01:38 AM

It’s about 300+ lbs. As I described in my part 1, there is construction lumber that is too light and soft, but southern yellow pine or Douglas fir is plenty heavy and rigid. And as far as patina goes, won’t most of that go away once you plane and joint it?

That said, I would have loved to use some reclaimed lumber, but I couldn’t find any consistent sources at the time, and went with what Schwarz described as a perfectly good solution.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3617 days

#12 posted 01-28-2013 11:13 AM

Great bench, I have also enjoyed watching the build. Having finished mine about 2 1/2 years ago I can say using construction lumber is an excellent choice and has held up fine. You will find by next year the top will have moved (twisted) a bit, and will need to be flattened, I flattened mine last winter and need to check it again.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15375 posts in 2670 days

#13 posted 01-28-2013 12:26 PM

Simply outstanding. And congrats on the wagon vise, looks like you’ve a winner there, too! Great build, it’ll be a fine shop partner for you for years and years!

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

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 2612 days

#14 posted 01-30-2013 05:58 AM

Tim – ill keep an eye out for having to re-flatten. I didn’t glue the end cap on, and can un-bolt that when it comes time to flatten again. I think that will work.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3976 days

#15 posted 02-09-2013 05:20 PM

You did a fine job man, be proud and enjoy its use.

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