Roubo Workbench #5: And Still More Roubo Musings

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Blog entry by Eric posted 05-03-2010 11:25 AM 1372 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Which Vise Do I Nurse in My Bosom? Part 5 of Roubo Workbench series Part 6: You Got Your Moxon in My Roubo! You Got Your Roubo in My Moxon! »

A year ago I mused about my future Roubo workbench. A month after that I mused some more. Now that I’m planning my lumber purchase (for real this time!), I want to update my musings with a third post.

  1. The most significant change to my plans is that I’m planning on using 4/4 for the top, if not for the entire bench. The Schwarz mentioned that this is a good solution for a hand tools-only woodworker since the boards will require less work prior to glue-up. I’m all for less work. It’s also better suited to my F-clamps, which aren’t really powerhouse clamps for serious glue-ups.
  2. The bench will be 7’ long – a foot longer than previously planned. The space I have for the bench is 8’ 6”, so a 7’ bench should leave enough room for working the wagon vise. Which brings me to modification #3:
  3. The bench will have a wagon vise! I had originally decided against it, but you all have made a believer out of me. It’s in.
  4. I count 18 mortises in the bench (8 on top for leg tenons, 8 on legs for stretchers, 1 for wagon vise and 1 for planing stop), and I’m still planning on creating all but four of them (short stretchers) with voids in the glueup. I know it could be problematic, but I really can’t see why it couldn’t work. I could insert the matching tenon into the void during glue-up and remove it once the clamps are all in place. Am I missing something? Or is this doable? It will save so much time if I can get it right.
  5. Likewise, I will create the slots for the planing stop, for the wagon vise chop and the hole for the wagon vise screw by creating voids. Especially for the screw hole, which typically involves drilling through end grain, this will be a big time saver.

Well, I’ve finally bought The Schwarz’s workbench book – a friend was coming over here from Canada so I had one shipped to him real quick. Arrives tonight! So I’m sure I’ll have more musings, but I am seriously looking forward to finally digging in to that book.

Appreciate any comments y’all might have!

-- Eric at

4 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3676 days

#1 posted 05-03-2010 03:27 PM

sounds like the plan is coming together. would love to see it if you have anything sketched up (by hand or not). as for the top – I would really suggest going with as thick of material as you can, although 4/4 would be good enough – you can always add weight to the bench in the form of cabinets/storage on the stretchers to weight it down.

I wouldn’t worry about your F-clamps. contrary to what so many believe – if the boards are jointed properly and are flat, the clamps are really just holding the boards in the glue up together, and should not be compressing the wood = very little pressure required.

good luck on the journey, and enjoy the book!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Rileysdad's profile


110 posts in 3307 days

#2 posted 05-03-2010 04:20 PM

You’ll love the Schwarz book. Keep it in your bathroom for a month before you do anything. Consult it daily. Take a look at They make the best wagon vice and leg vice I’ve seen.

Good News: Your idea for forming the mortises and tenons in the glue-up are recommended in the book.

Looking forward to the pictures.

-- Measure twice, cut once, buy extra stock.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3701 days

#3 posted 05-04-2010 02:19 AM

Sounds like fun.

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3812 days

#4 posted 05-04-2010 04:28 AM

Lev: I do plan on doing up a Sketchup model of it. Will likely just tweak The Schwarz’s since he’s already done one. That way I don’t have to be a total Sketchup geek to have one that looks nice. As for the thickness, well the top will be at least 4” wide, if not more, so even if it’s 4/4 the top will have plenty of mass. I’m not worried about the weight.

Rileysdad: I agree that Benchcrafted has some of the finest bench hardware I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately the price is insanely prohibitive. I could build two Roubos for the price of one Benchcrafted tail vise! And awesome, my “void mortise” plan is feasible!!! You just made my day.

-- Eric at

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