Roubo-Moxon Bench Build

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Blog series by Eric updated 981 days ago 19 parts 52657 reads 100 comments total

Part 1: Building a Workbench Is Easy, and Lazy Mortises

1432 days ago by Eric | 8 comments »

I’d pretty much run out of excuses for not starting the Big Bench Build. Every week at church I see the kind woman who arranged for me to get all that beautiful lumber for free. I always fear the question, “So have you built it yet?” Don’t ask me why it has been hard to motivate myself to do it. I think maybe it’s because I’ve been planning this workbench for years – literally – and in my head maybe it’s become this grand opus that, despit...

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Part 2: No Such Thing As a Lazy Mortise

1408 days ago by Eric | 2 comments »

Since my last post, I’ve done some preparations for traveling, traveling, and recovering from traveling, so I haven’t had much shop time. Last night I had an hour or two. I had been considering building my double-screw Moxon vise for the Instructables woodworking contest. Nice prizes! But I figured I’d better stay focused and try to make more progress on the bench. Next step: mortising the legs for the short stretchers. In my last post I suggested that it’d be &...

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Part 3: Eric Uses a Power Tool

1403 days ago by Eric | 3 comments »

So in my last post, I mentioned the difficulty I was having boring the overlapping holes for the mortises that will receive the short stretchers of my bench. I was tired, but wasn’t gonna let it breaka my stride. This past Thursday was a federal holiday, and my wife graciously gave me the space and time to get in a lot of shop time. So I started with the flip side of the first mortise (from the last post) and was able to complete that and the mortises in two other legs. But when I wa...

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Part 4: Now THIS Is A Lazy Mortise

1402 days ago by Eric | 4 comments »

Today it’s back to the glueup phase of my build. I’ve glued up half of the boards for each leg and done the short stretcher mortises for each. Now it’s time to glue the other half of the boards on, and voids in the glueup will create the mortises for the long stretchers. Here’s the first layer just after clamping, with a closeup: Then I glued an identical layer onto that one (both pieces), and voila, a mortise for the long stretcher. The last two boards clos...

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Part 5: Legs: Check

1395 days ago by Eric | 0 comments »

So I’m done with my leg glue-up on all four legs. The mortises were really the thing I was dreading most, and now they’re done. And my left front leg has a nice 2 1/4” hole to accomodate the wood screw for the leg vise. That was a beast to do with an expansive bit. My chest is still sore from the bit brace, and I was even using a board to better distribute the pressure. Right now I’m en route to Germany for a conference. Will be back on Saturday. Then I’ll fin...

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Part 6: Legs Are Made to Stand

1374 days ago by Eric | 10 comments »

Wow, that was tedious. Sawing through a 6” x 6 1/2” with a ryoba was no joke. Then I had to flatten the bottom. Not too bad. Creating the chamfers on the bottom of the legs was fun, though. Then I weighed the leg with my luggage scale just for kicks. All four legs are done. Next: fitting the long stretchers! P.S. The post title is my general feeling after seeing my legs lying horizontally on the ground for such a long time. It’s good to see them upright!

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Part 7: The Legs (Without Pegs)

1360 days ago by Eric | 2 comments »

I don’t know what is making me procrastinate on this bench. I think maybe it was the hand planing that was a part of this next step. Well anyway, it wasn’t that hard – I just had to make the tenons on the long stretchers a bit narrower so they’d fit nice and snug in the mortises. Not too hard. Next step – whittling some pegs for drawboring the stretchers, and at the same time getting a start on laminating the benchtop!

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Part 8: I Don't Need No Stinkin' Lathe

1358 days ago by Eric | 6 comments »

So I followed Gye's advice and followed Kari's advice and whipped out my block plane to fashion me some pegs for drawboring the tenons on my stretchers. I originally was considering making a dowel plate, but Kari in her post suggests that this works best for short dowels. All of mine are at least 6” long. So anyway, the block plane was a bit slow at first, on the corners, but it quickly picked up. I just started at one end until it fit in my test hole and wherever it hung up, I k...

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Part 9: Base Complete

1350 days ago by Eric | 9 comments »

A lot’s happened lately! I pegged the long stretchers. Funny story. In my mind, the pegs in Schwarz’s Roubo were 5/8”. I didn’t have a 5/8” bit, but I had a very nice 3/4” one, so I used that and made 3/4” pegs. I figure, maybe they’re a touch bigger than the ones Chris used, but hey, no biggie. Just the other day I realized: Chris used 3/8” pegs!!! Haha, oh well, the Schwarz has said that you can’t overbuild a workbench, right? ...

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Part 10: Little By Little...

1282 days ago by Eric | 4 comments »

...the cow takes the cake. Not sure what that means, but it’s a saying in our household. It’s a strange household. I am making progress on the bench, but as before, I get hung up mentally when I come to big steps in the process. But first, a glimpse into how I do my glueups. After applying glue to both faces to be glued up, I place the new piece on the very top of the stack and clamp it with my 48”-ers, long side down. What appears to be a misalignment of that top board i...

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Part 11: Four More Down, Eight More To Go

1216 days ago by Eric | 1 comment »

Here’s a quote from my last post: I am making progress on the bench, but as before, I get hung up mentally when I come to big steps in the process. Guess when I wrote my last post? About 2 months ago. Yep, got to another big step in the process and got hung up mentally. Well that, and also just lost my motivation entirely for a few weeks there. I’m back! So gluing four boards onto a 28-board benchtop shouldn’t really be a “big step” in the process, right? ...

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Part 12: ABD

1176 days ago by Eric | 4 comments »

In the academic world, the term ABD is almost a dreaded one. It stands for "All But Dissertation" and refers to that point in your Ph.D. studies where you’ve done all the coursework and all of the research, have defended your research proposal, and “merely” have to do your dissertation to finish your degree. As for me, I am now officially ABD in regards to my workbench: All But Dovetails. I have glued up 24 out of the 28 boards for my benchtop. I now need to cut the dovet...

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Part 13: Hey, Now That Almost Looks Like a Workbench.

1173 days ago by Eric | 4 comments »

Today I lopped off the extra 1” or so from the tops of the leg tenons (are those called horns?), which was harder than I expected. Then I chopped the dovetails on the outer leg tenons, which was easier than I expected. In case you’re wondering, I started the cut with my dozuki and then when the back of the saw started hitting the top of the tenon, I switched to the rip side of my ryoba. Piece of cake, quite honestly. I’m going to glue up the last four boards (two on e...

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Part 14: Bench. Is. Done.

1170 days ago by Eric | 4 comments »

Did the final glueup today. The bench is now completely assembled! My birthday is Monday, so by then I want to have the top flattened. A few other things I still need to do: make the crochet make the leg vise finish it (BLO) install a shelf and maybe a drawer make the Moxon double-screw vise But once I have the top flattened, I’ll consider the bench to be done, really. Picture to come at that time!

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Part 15: Somebody Kick Me in the Pants

1050 days ago by Eric | 14 comments »

Every other week or so, my wife says, “So when do you think you’ll do some more work on the bench?” And I sigh, slump, and say, “I dunno…” I’m just in a funk with this hand planing. I can’t seem to motivate myself to do it. Granted, I typically don’t get much shop time in a week anyway (even if I wanted it), but the times when I could get some in, I just balk. It seems like there is still so much material to take off the top to get it flat AND level. I don’t even feel like blogging abou...

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Part 16: Over the Hump!

998 days ago by Eric | 5 comments »

Well the separate paths of motivation and free time finally merged today for a couple of hours, and I was able to get my jack plane out and get busy! I am about 3/4 of the way through “Phase 1” which involves getting the whole top flattish. Then I’ll drop it back down (you may be able to see it’s “up on blocks” (literally) to keep the top clear of the leg tenons) and see how level it is. If it’s pretty close to level, then I’ll smooth it ...

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Part 17: I'm Calling It Level (Enough)

994 days ago by Eric | 7 comments »

Phase 1 is complete. The bench is mostly flat, and is mostly level. I could talk about the various parts of the top (and the bench in general) that aren’t great, but then I think, “If I was reading the blog of some struggling woodworker who rarely gets shop time and builds a Roubo/Moxon workbench and then complains about the various imperfections of what is essentially just a ginormous wooden tool, I’d yell at him to shut up and be content and start making stuff!” S...

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Part 18: Workbench Eve

983 days ago by Eric | 7 comments »

It’s amazing how close I was to being done the past several months. If you go back and look at my archives (don’t worry about it, I’m about to sum up), I didn’t make ANY progress from May to October because I dreaded the flattening and leveling that I needed to do. Once I got over that hump, I made ginormous strides in no time. Since my last blog post when I called the bench level (enough), I have flattened it (enough) and planed/sawed the horns off the leg tenons. ...

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Part 19: It's a Sham

981 days ago by Eric | 6 comments »

Still waiting on my oil to entirely dry. Meanwhile, I thought I would fix something that I knew would bug me all the time. My big honkin’ wooden vise jaw is too massive for the few inches of threading in the big wooden nut in the leg vise, and as a result the big wooden screw tilts downwards towards the jaw. See look: here in the very back of the leg you can see the nut: The nut is actually not glued into the leg at all; it’s merely held in place by those blocks that are...

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