Roubo Bench - Getting the base ready

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Blog entry by kenn posted 05-02-2009 06:46 AM 1578 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well its time for me to get all of the mortise and tenons ready for the base. First I had a few holes that I wanted to drill in the legs for hold downs ( actually for holding up). My drill press wouldn’t go all of the way through the legs so I finished the holes with a bit brace and a 3/4” auger bit checking for when the point came through. Then I flipped the leg and finished them.


I wanted to get my strecher length right on, so I took my measurement right off the legs.

I layed out my tenon shoulders and got out my tenon saw to cut them.

Sorry I got all interested in fitting all those tenons and didn’t get any pictures of the process. I did get some shop help though and I put my daughter to work champferring the bottoms of the legs. The theory is that there won’t be any chips on one side of the legs when you move it. I had to see how much this thing is going to weigh so I brought the bathroom scale down and weighed the parts. The base is 110 lbs. and the top is too heavy to fit on the scale at this point. I don’t think it’ll move but had the helper use a chisel
and then a plane to put a 45 degree edge on the bottom of the legs.
Next up was to rout the groove for the deadman in the underside of the bench. I made several passes.
Gradully lowering the bit until I had a 3/4” wide groove that’s 1 1/8” deep. I think that will be fine for the deadman to fit into securely.
When I was done, I squared up the corners. I thought about leaving them alone, but I like square corners.
I figured since the base wasn’t assembled yet, I should put the flange for the leg vise on now while it could lay flat, saving me from crawling under the bench to install it later.

Now it’s time to drill some holes. I plan on pegging/drawboring this all together so layed out my locations and drilled my holes with a backer board to prevent blow out on the inside of my mortises. The small square in my hand is helping me drill straight in the vertical axis, I can see the bit fine to keep the horizontal axis square.

Then I finished the holes on the other side of the mortise.
Then I slipped the tenon piece, in the picture it’s the leg, into place and marked the hole center with the tip of the bit.
Next is to slightly offset the tenon hole TOWARDS the shoulder (I was worried that I ‘d go the wrong way so I kept yelling this to myself, thankfully no problems).
Just drill a straight hole and I’ve got it licked.

You know the saying about round holes and square pegs, and I’ve driven square pegs into round holes before (FYI the square edges just cut the surface and you end up with a square looking peg) but I wanted to give the pegs a little help.
Well that’s alot of work for me to get done. Cutting and fitting 8 tenons and getting all the little things ready so I can assemble the base. I think this bench is about to make a whole lot of progress. I have it in my head that I should be able to use it in two weeks. We’ll see if that’s true.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

6 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3576 days

#1 posted 05-02-2009 07:16 AM

Hey Kenn
Looks like a great start. This should be a good tool to use for years to come. Looking forward to see the finished product.super photos. You have a very nice shop there.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3821 days

#2 posted 05-02-2009 02:27 PM

Kenn, this is a nice blog and you have clearly documented the bench construction. I am looking forward to seeing the next installment.

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

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4399 days

#3 posted 05-02-2009 02:37 PM

The bench is coming along great. Nice series of pictures.

-- 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 lew's profile


12060 posts in 3754 days

#4 posted 05-02-2009 05:06 PM

The bench is coming along great!!! Great pix too!!!

Looks like your daughter goes to school about 10 minutes from our place!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View kenn's profile


810 posts in 3719 days

#5 posted 05-02-2009 09:55 PM

Lew, she graduated from Shippensburg University in Dec., if you’ll let me brag, with honors, and is employed in her chosen field (real job, with benefits and everything).

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3584 days

#6 posted 05-02-2009 10:12 PM

We didn’t have very lovely looking workmates like that when I was a lad LOL good wishes and she’s a bright and bonnie lass. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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