Roubo Bench - The beginning

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Blog entry by kenn posted 03-11-2009 03:50 AM 2680 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I decided that I needed/wanted a new workbench and after some research, including Chris Schwartz’s book, I settled on the Roubo style. I gave a lot of thought to my work style and needs, and here are my excuses for needing a new bench (just in case my wife decides to check out my lumberjocks page before I get this baby built).

My work includes windsor chairmaking so I wanted a Record style vise placed in the end vise postion. I have used this style vise in this location at Mike Dunbar’s school and really liked them. I do a lot of hand planing so I wanted a heavy top that won’t move. I went with hard maple, thinking that maybe if I dropped the bucks now I’d be satisfied and never build another bench (definitly no need for a new top though). A problem with my current bench is that the legs are too close together, especially on the short side, so heavy planing makes it unstable. I haven’t been able to redo the base because when I glued up the current bench, I got lazy and left some of the boards thicker preventing widening the base since its held together with short strechers at the top. Plus I figured if I was going to tear apart and redo the current base, I might as well expand the top too. I also do some handcut dovetail work and felt that a leg vise would work great for dovetailing. If I want to add a twin screw vise later for this work, I plan on putting it on the opposite side of the leg vise, maybe in the middle of the bench or towards the end vise.

My biggest excuse, no scratch that… My biggest need for a new bench is that I committed to making a pencil post bed for my son. Those posts are 7’ long and my current bench is only 6’ long. I felt I might have difficulty working around this issue.

I bought some 10’ long, 12/4 hard maple and some 10’ long 8/4 hard maple for the top. The idea of hand planing all of those flat for glue up didn’t appeal to me, so I found a local cabinet shop that used their surface sander to joint and square up three sides for me. Well worth the $100. Here the boards are coming home.


I did a bit of touch up jointing with a hand plane before proceeding. With one of my able shop assistants, I started the glue up, putting just a few boards together at time and then continually adding to them until there were all glued up.

Here we are about mid-way thru the process.

Eventually we got them all glued up.

Next up, I flatten what will be the underside of the top when the bench is finished.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

6 comments so far

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3722 days

#1 posted 03-11-2009 03:57 AM

Wow that is an impressive glue up! I would to make a Roubo for myself one of these days!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4369 days

#2 posted 03-11-2009 04:08 AM

A great start on your bench.

I used some bowling alley that I get when they were removed. The maple is 1” by 2 3/4” thick. They are not glued. They are tongue and groove with hardened spiral nails driven into the groove. I glued my own maple and walnut strips on the edge so that I could drill dog holes without the concern of hitting hardened nails with my forsner bits.

Its going to be a substantial bench.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View kenn's profile


810 posts in 3688 days

#3 posted 03-11-2009 04:38 AM

This baby reminds me of a bowling alley, Karson. It seems almost long enough to throw a ball down. I think I’ll end up about 3 1/2” thick. It is not going to move. My gluing assisant is already worried about how she’ll have to get to out of the basement when I die (I’m 48, hope she’s planning way ahead!)

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3790 days

#4 posted 03-11-2009 12:25 PM

Kenn, this is a nice start on your bench. The Roubo is a good style for the work you are planning. I particularly like its size and weight. Once you get it finished you should be able to do all the heavy planing that you want without it moving. Like sIKE I would like to build one of these as well.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3691 days

#5 posted 03-12-2009 01:56 AM


Looks great: looking forward to more.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View logndog's profile


47 posts in 3363 days

#6 posted 03-17-2009 11:05 PM

very nice job! and a good idea to spend the 100 bucks, saved a lotta time and frustration :)

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