Split Top Roubo Bench Build #15: Pretty much done

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Blog entry by ic3ss posted 04-01-2015 11:02 PM 2152 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: Final assembly of the base Part 15 of Split Top Roubo Bench Build series Part 16: The worst Easter ever »

I put in an eleven hour day yesterday on this thing, the work was really kind of fun compared to the tedious work of digging out mortises of the day before. I’ve never tried the draw bore method of locking a mortise and tenon together. I didn’t even use clamps.

Well this morning I just had to get the tops to fit on the tenons, so after trimming back a couple of mortise surfaces they both fit down snugly, a very sweet fit. As a bonus, the sides of the tops ended up flush with the legs.

I had to go to the big box to get a Torx T50 socket driver for the four very large SPAX screws that hold the tops down. The socket was only $2, usually the ones I see are $4 or $5. So after that, I set about cleaning up the shop so it can be turned back in to a garage. My scrap total was pretty minimal I think. I have a small pile that will burn, some longer pieces are in the shed for future use, and then I have some pieces for the shelf.

Oh yea, the shelf. I still have a few things to do before it’s really done, but it’s good enough that I can end this blog where it’s at. I need to make the shelf mounts, the shelf boards, the deadman, the deadman runner, flatten the top, and shape the top of the leg vise chop with a curve or something similar to ease the top edge, and drill a bunch of dog holes in the top and the front right leg.

Last thing will be finish, what to finish it with. I’ve read where Chris Schwarz says any kind of oil, or leave it bare. He really sounds like it doesn’t matter much to him, except when it’s done with smooth shinny top, and finished in general with the perfection of furniture. I recognized this when I started. I’ve certainly made mistakes on this build, there are some ver minor alignment issues but nothing that can’t be fixed with a few strokes on a hand plane. They’re not major and don’t affect the functionality of the bench, so I’m not going to worry about it. It’s a bench, it’s going to get the crap beaten out of it over its lifetime, why make it have a beautiful finish.

I’ll probably put some B.L.O. on it and call it good, but I like the look of it bare so much that it may take some time for me to do that. We’ll see. It took six weeks to get it done. I was able to spend every day that I had off work on this project. Yes, I have a very understanding wife. So a six week long build for this bench is just about right. I know a lot of guys end up going many months, I’m just glad that I now have a real workbench with woodworking vises to work on. My next task is another piece of shop furniture: I need a cart to hold my planer, oscillating spindle sander, and a belt-disc sander.

Well, thanks for reading about my progress. Comments would be lovely, tell me what you think about finishing a bench, I’d like to know.

Have a great day.


-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

13 comments so far

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2200 days

#1 posted 04-01-2015 11:43 PM

Nice one Wayne, a lot of work for a great finish !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Tim Royal 's profile

Tim Royal

202 posts in 906 days

#2 posted 04-02-2015 01:15 AM

Looking gorgeous and very usable (not one of those afraid to nick a new bench or scratch my new pickup!)

-- -Tim Royal... Always reminded of this when I see the amazing work LJ's do (I have no choice but to be humble!), "Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real." -Thomas Merton

View wunderaa's profile


242 posts in 1622 days

#3 posted 04-02-2015 01:39 AM

Killer. Well done! There’s a lifetime of use ahead of you on that bench!

View BareFeet's profile


35 posts in 1952 days

#4 posted 04-02-2015 02:09 AM

You killed it, Wayne. Nice work!

View woodcox's profile


1514 posts in 1431 days

#5 posted 04-02-2015 04:05 AM

Congrats with finishing such a nice bench Wayne! After it is completely done, be sure to give it a good smack with a hammer just to get that feeling out of the way;)

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 1290 days

#6 posted 04-02-2015 04:18 AM

That’s a great-looking workbench it’s going to be a great asset to your shop

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View Lucasd2002's profile


124 posts in 772 days

#7 posted 04-02-2015 03:51 PM

Wayne, I really enjoy reading through this blog.

For the dog hole board, did you resaw one board or use two separate boards milled to the two thicknesses you needed (of course, the one with the square holes being much thicker)?

I think I read that your filler strip was about 3/8” thick.

I don’t have a band saw so I was thinking of other ways to make the dog hole components.

View ic3ss's profile


386 posts in 2196 days

#8 posted 04-02-2015 08:09 PM

I used one board, it was 8/4 rough so I was able to get max thickness out of it. I resawed almost 1/2” off and planed both halves, the filler being 3/8”. It worked perfectly, I just didn’t want to buy a board just for that filler strip.

The only three ways I know to resaw a board 4” wide are: bandsaw, table saw with two passes flipping it over (less than ideal but it works), and manually with a handsaw and lots of skill.

How is your build going?


-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View Lucasd2002's profile


124 posts in 772 days

#9 posted 04-02-2015 11:03 PM

Thanks Wayne.

Now that you mention it, I think I remember reading somewhere about a safety recommendation of taking a pass from each side on the TS and leaving a small amount in between to be finished with a hand saw. And then, off to the planer.

So, your dogs/holes ended up around 1” to 1-1/8” square?

I have the benchcrafted tail vise sitting in a box at home and haven’t even read the directions.

How is your build going?

Ha! Nothing yet. I think about it, but not much action. Working 6+ days a week and a 2 y/o at home don’t help. Thinking about getting some 4/4 red oak for it. We’ll see.

View ic3ss's profile


386 posts in 2196 days

#10 posted 04-03-2015 01:04 AM

The drawing calls for a 1” wide dog hole. Your laminations should be about 1 3/4” thick each, so that’s what they based the dog hole strip on. Get a board to 1 3/8” thick using whatever method. Then rout the dog holes exactly 1” deep, leaving 3/8” at the bottom. Then glue up the filler strip at 3/8” thick, total thickness 1 3/4”.

I remember those days with a little one at home. The great thing about it is when you get up there in years a bit, the better the memories of today become, regardless of how tired you are now.

Keep the faith,


-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 1013 days

#11 posted 04-04-2015 11:58 AM

I hope you keep blogging the remaining tasks, at least your top flattening. I’m interested in how you make out. Though, by these pictures, it already looks very flat. But, I guess compared to my top, even the Earth looks flat.

View ic3ss's profile


386 posts in 2196 days

#12 posted 04-04-2015 02:10 PM

I does look pretty flat until you sight down the length. The front half has a slight bow, sagging at the ends. The back half I believe is flatter. I’m picking up a big router bit today for flattening, and I need to get a couple of 2×6 boards to use as the rails for the sled. Oh ya, I also need some plywood for the sled.

I’ll keep it going until I’m all done. How goes your progress?


-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 1013 days

#13 posted 04-06-2015 09:45 PM

I was on Easter vacation this past weekend. I’ll be tuning up my hand planes so that I may properly joint the edge of a couple 8’ 2×4s for the rails of my router sled flattening machine. T-nuts came in as well as needed forstner bits. I will attach the extruded aluminum to the edge of the 2×4s with bolts through the t-nuts, and drill access holes to tighten them up. Sort of like how you pull the rails of a bed frame together. Pictures will do justice once I get to that point.

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