Like many jocks out there, I’m in the process of building a new workbench. It will be pretty close to the Roubo that Chris Schwarz built, but sadly, my top will not be made out of pretty (if punky) cherry. No, I was fortunate(?) to have a supply of very thick red oak planks to work with. The top is made up of 3 pieces at 7.5” wide by 4” thick by 7’ long. It’s a beast! The legs are from the same stock, trimmed to 3”x5”.
I’ve finished cutting the tenons and dovetail pins in the legs – I’m using the tenon+dovetail approach for attaching the legs. This week, it’s been laying out the mortises and dovetail sockets on the top.
I HATE RED OAK
Good grief, this stuff is like a combination of rubber, tar, and string cheese. It’s dense enough – I estimate that the top weighs in at close to 200 lbs. But cutting the mortises has been a painful mess. I am using the bore first, then chisel method. It works – more or less. But even with the boring out first, the chisel work is slow going (and yes, my chisels are plenty sharp). This stuff is very open grained, and very stringy.
All but one of the mortises have been roughed out – now I have to start on the cleanup and fitting af the legs. I have a feeling that there is going to be plenty of shimming in my future to get this beast together.
I will probably add pics – but not until my dovetails and mortises are a little more presentable – right now, they’re kind of embarrassing.
If I had to start over, I think I would go with a laminated top, and cut the dovetails/mortises on the table/band saw, then mark the tenons on the legs. Sure sounds easier about now!
-- To do is to be