Roubo Bench - Base Completed

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Blog entry by kenn posted 05-06-2009 06:25 AM 6527 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It is time to assemble the base for this massive bench. I gathered some air dried oak that I had left over from wedge stock when making windsor chairs and my drawknife.

I carefully took the oak down to 5/16” thick since that was the size of holes I chose to drill to hold this all together.

At first, I made the pegs square and cut them to length. Then I wised up and realized that if I carefully split that baby, I could save myself some effort and get 2 sets of pegs from one piece of oak, duh!

Working on the short strechers first, I glued the tenon (Notice the artistic camera angle my daughter came up with).

A little glue into the mortise, and I slid this one into place.

Then all I needed to do was pound the peg home. The ones on the short strechers went together great.

A quick trim with the saw,

and then a carving gouge.

I had this one done in no time at all.

The long strechers required moving the assembly process to the floor. Here I am slipping the strecher into place, of course both strechers had to be done at the same time.

They fit good and I was ready to move on.

The top end of the long mortises needs glue and then I put the other short strecher assembly on top.

Then I turned this thing onto its side to drive the pegs in.

Notice the amazing camera work as my assistant captures the exact moment the hammer hits the pegs. I did have to sort through a few shots but she got the exact one we were after without slowing me down.

I continued with the trimming as before.

I did have a peg break on these long strechers but it was not noticable in the finished look. I guesss some of the integrity is comprimised but I don’t see how it will affect the final function of the bench since I did glue the joint and one peg is going to hold that joint together.

After the base was assembled, one daughter helped lift it onto the bench top while the other daughter took the photos. Who got the better end of that deal? When is their brother getting home from college?

I checked the fit of the legs into the bench top.

One leg needs its tenon trimmed.

I hate to admit it, but this is because I have a strecher joint that did not close all the way. I have concluded that I had a bit of racking and that the base in not dead square. Unfortunately its too late. These timbers are massive. The base wieghs 110 lbs. It’s tough to move and test fit. It’s a learning process. Those are my excuses but I am sure I could come up with more if I have to.

Here’s the base waiting to flipped into place now that I have the shop cleaned, a little. If you click on the picture and go to photo bucket, you can see its predicessor siting off to the right in the full photo. The plan is to place the base, slid the top onto the old bench, lift and flip the top, place the top on the base,

Amazing, it actually work as planned! Here it is in place.

All I need to do is peg the top to the bottom, no glue in case I ever want/need to move the bench. If that happens, I’ll drill the pegs out and have my son and and his strongest friend lift it off and put it where it needs to be. I did use my drawbore tool on the pegs but it didn’t help. I still had several pegs break. Either I had the pegs a bit too thick or I offset the holes in the tenons too much. Either way, I can’t lift the top off the base at any leg and they all went in far enough that all you see is a square peg.

Next up, I sweat my a** off again as I work on flatenning the top. This side needs to be dead flat and smooth. Plus it matters so no more mistakes, right?

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

11 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#1 posted 05-06-2009 06:28 AM

Looks outrageously great, that babies going to last a couple life times

-- Custom furniture

View woodworm's profile


14164 posts in 3011 days

#2 posted 05-06-2009 06:32 AM

Great effort.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View JuniorJoiner's profile


463 posts in 2861 days

#3 posted 05-06-2009 07:36 AM

looks great, lucky you , with an assistant and all.
I built a similar bench for myself a few years ago, and at this stage i did not glue the base tenons into the top, just drawbore pegged them. at the time i thought i may have to move it someday , and i could just drill out the pegs.
making your own workbench seems to be a rite of passage most workers like to accomplish. congratulations on yours.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View blackcherry's profile


3292 posts in 3244 days

#4 posted 05-06-2009 01:48 PM

Beastly but beautiful, that’s going to make a great work surface. Thanks for posting Blkcherry

View lew's profile


11264 posts in 3176 days

#5 posted 05-06-2009 02:43 PM

Beautiful Work!!

Hope you don’t have to move that bench very often!


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

View dalec's profile


613 posts in 3309 days

#6 posted 05-06-2009 06:42 PM

Just came across your roubo workbench series. I find the photos are very helpful in understanding how you went about building this “tank of a workbench”. You have given a lot of thought to the design and it shows thoughout the series.

I wish my son was as interested in woodworking as your young assistants.


View Karson's profile


35032 posts in 3821 days

#7 posted 05-07-2009 12:33 AM

It looks massive and a great job your helper is doing. Is she the driving force, or, do you need to force her to do it.

-- 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


807 posts in 3141 days

#8 posted 05-07-2009 03:39 AM

She has to clean out the cat liter which in the shop area so sometimes she likes to help me out since she’s down there and what I’m doing looks interesting. The photo one has to be asked to take the photos and then I get about 100 to choose from. All in all, all three of my kids are pretty willing to work in the shop.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Rev. Jim Paulson's profile

Rev. Jim Paulson

119 posts in 2697 days

#9 posted 06-06-2009 09:33 PM

Hi Kenn,

Beautiful job on the bench. Hope you’re making a bunch of Windsor chairs these days.

Take care,


View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 2979 days

#10 posted 06-06-2009 09:59 PM

Wow, what a workbench. As Jim said earlier. It should last a couple of lifetimes. Something to pass done to your son’s and grandson’s…...

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View DoctorDan's profile


281 posts in 2436 days

#11 posted 03-19-2010 01:44 AM

nice work. I’m up to the stage of planing how I will assemble the base of my bench.
my design is a little tricky as I have two stretchers on the sides and front…. but anyway…
Good job.

-- Daniel -

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