My Roubo workbench #1: And I use the word Roubo loosely

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Blog entry by mkwwork posted 07-01-2012 03:48 AM 1971 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My Roubo workbench series no next part

And so the journey begins. I made my first purchase of lumber today specifically meant for a woodworking project outside of my “around the house” duties. This will be a Roubo workbench that I am going to customize to my own liking/budget. I bought 7 8 foot 4×4 Doug fir boards that I plan to laminate together for my workbench top. Right now I do not have a workbench to build it on but I do have some saw horses.

I have the following tools:

1. Stanley Bedrock 607 jointer plane
2. Stanley #5 jack
3. Stanley #4 smooth
4. Ridgid 13” thickness planer
I do not have a jointer and table saw hoever My plan of attack is this:

1. Flatten(more or less) 1 side of each 4×4. I’m going to use giantcypress’s blog post about his bench as a method for securing my boards for planing
2.Reference from that side and thickness plane the boards to get rid of the round over on two opposing edges.
3. Glue up 2-3 boards at a time using these edges as the gluing points
4. Repeat the process for the sides of the glued up 4×4’s.
5. Glue these new flat/square slabs together and flatten the bench

The rest of the bench is still in planning phase, but I may build a base that’s bolted instead of mortised in to the top. I want to be able to knock down the bench if I need to.

Pictures to come with the next blog post.

4 comments so far

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2440 days

#1 posted 07-01-2012 06:11 AM

are you saying you have no saw I know you can build a workbench with hand tools but it will take you a long time and more than that your going to need a workbench to build off of or this project will break your spirit. I want you to succeed but you must have a saw of some sort and if your planning on doing this with a hand saw you will need to make a rip bench way before you think about a workbench. while it is possible to joint the boards that are this wide you will need a way to hold them while you plane. I suggest you make a big but simple bench out of 2×4 stock like the bench kreg has on their site but make it 8 feet long for you to plane and joint your boards remember your planer is not a jointer it will not make your boards true. I am also going to recommend that you look at the 21st century bench as it can be knocked down before you buy or plane any wood have a good design it is way too expensive to leave this to a whim or to screw the pooch for poor planning . get your ducks in a row if your really going to do this with hand tools that is fine i believe you may want to look at getting a nice used 10 inch 1.75 or bigger horse power saw and some good blades I have been using Trends new blades their pro pack with fantastic results I love your ambition but want you to be successful if you want help pm me I am always around here to help

-- Please check out my new stores and

View mkwwork's profile


5 posts in 2122 days

#2 posted 07-01-2012 11:32 AM

Thanks thedude, I really appreciate the input.
First some stuff about the tools/the way I plan to work. I had an older craftsman direct drive table saw that was pretty decent but the fence was not very precise. It was a deal I got for $40, with cast iron top/extension wings and everything. I did flip it on craigslist recently for $120, with the sole intention of getting a newer table saw with a nice fence and safety features. I have a circular saw, jig saw, some hand saws. I also have a plunge router as well as a fixed base one. My intent is to be fully hybrid. I actually don’t quite see the fun in sawing by hand. Or shaping profiles, those specialty planes can really add up in price! Planing by hand I do enjoy however.

I honestly haven’t had much time to do actual woodworking and this is my first attempt. I’ve just had some time to put some tools together, and I buy all used and off of craigslist. However I have had time to spend on lumberjocks as well as the other woodworking websites. I read the Schwarz’s two books on workbenches a couple of months ago as well.

Currently, I don’t have a bench at all, not even a table in the basement, so having even a slab of 4×4’s on sawhorses that’s relatively flat will help me greatly in getting stuff done. As far as planing the 4×4’s go, check out this on the Giant Cypress blog

So far (and it’s funny that you mention the 21st century workbench) I had fully intended on using wedged tenons to put the stretchers and legs together. Do you happen to know how the top is attached to the legs on the 21st centrury workbench?

View Sylvain's profile


698 posts in 2462 days

#3 posted 07-01-2012 12:51 PM

Have a look at this serie of Paul Sellers.
He demonstrates building a bench in his backyard with just two saw horses.
The sequence of actions is also interesting.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2440 days

#4 posted 07-02-2012 01:21 AM

Yes the 21 century bench has 4 rails and 4 stretchers the top is flat on the stretcher and the top is lag bolted in place. I am currently building two of these. I have the pdf of the build and loved the video. It was 20 bucks and has a ton of extra photos the magazine article didn’t have. I chose this design because I was going to build a split top roubo but I wanted it to be able to knock it down and i like that you can take the tops off and you can run them through the thickness planer to revive the top so i went with bob langs design .

-- Please check out my new stores and

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