Splayed leg red oak/cherry/Douglas fir Roubo work bench

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Project by shampeon posted 07-05-2014 01:21 AM 3639 views 21 times favorited 42 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I live in San Francisco, which means space is at a premium. I’d wanted a solid woodworking bench for a couple years now, but needed one that could fit in my work area (a large hallway in my building). I finally decided on a splayed leg Roubo design, since it could be smaller but still beefy. The fine folks in the “Workbench smackdown” thread helped me figure out the details.

I bought a large board of 12/4 red oak from MacBeath to make the top.

Then found some beautiful vertical-grained reclaimed Douglas fir beams on Craigslist, which were perfect for the legs.

To get the width I wanted, and to add some contrast, I added in some cherry boards.

I added some breadboards to the end, and dovetailed some rails to make up the final width and length.

The splayed legs weren’t as difficult to execute as I had originally thought, thanks to a solid miter box, an angle gauge, and some care.

I decided to make a hand-wheel for the leg vise using the Lee Valley tail vise screw and a large hand-wheel from Grizzly. Came out nice.

The chop is some more 12/4 red oak. And I picked up a Benchcrafted criss-cross, which is pretty sweet.

The deadman is some 8/4 wavy bubinga, with some angle iron for the top rail and some hickory for the bottom.

The front and back stretchers are 8/4 cherry, and for the shelf I put in some click-lock bamboo flooring I had leftover from a repair job in our kitchen.

The finish is my 1:1:1 mix of BLO/DNA/shellac, which gives the look and repair-ability of an oil finish with a faster drying time.

And in the end, after a couple years of planning and fits and starts, here’s my work bench.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

42 comments so far

View theoldfart's profile


5302 posts in 1296 days

#1 posted 07-05-2014 01:28 AM

.... And that’s how it’s done! Again, friggin awesome and happy birthday Ian.

-- "Aged flatus, I heard that some one has already blown out your mortise." THE Surgeon ……………………………………. Kevin

View 7Footer's profile


1531 posts in 793 days

#2 posted 07-05-2014 01:29 AM

+1000. It’s amazing man. Incredible.

Happy 4th!

-- I'm so official all I need is a whistle --

View BigRedKnothead's profile


6503 posts in 827 days

#3 posted 07-05-2014 01:39 AM

I’m happy for ya bud. It’s a fine bench.

Always appreciate your take on things. Enjoy it.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Airframer's profile


2850 posts in 798 days

#4 posted 07-05-2014 01:51 AM

Very nice! Welcome to the splayed leg club buddy!

Don’t forget to tag it with the “smackdown” tag so it can join the rest of the benches :D

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

2313 posts in 1096 days

#5 posted 07-05-2014 01:55 AM

Looks like another fine shamp project! I’ve followed the build on the workbench thread, and I’m glad to see it all put together. The criss-cross vise is SAHWEEET!

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

2313 posts in 1096 days

#6 posted 07-05-2014 01:56 AM

Double post, but the bench deserves the positive press anyway.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View 489tad's profile


2627 posts in 1856 days

#7 posted 07-05-2014 01:59 AM

Sturdy looking bench. Congrats.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View CL810's profile


2695 posts in 1833 days

#8 posted 07-05-2014 02:02 AM

This has been a fun ride. Kinda sad it’s done but happy for you! Fine craftsmanship.

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View Pezking7p's profile


1602 posts in 496 days

#9 posted 07-05-2014 02:12 AM

I love your leg vise chop. What a monster. Just a beautiful bench all around.

slow clap

-- -Dan

View JayT's profile


2984 posts in 1056 days

#10 posted 07-05-2014 02:54 AM

Beautifully done, shamp! Your boys will still be able to use that with their kids, someday far in the future.

-- "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." Abraham Lincoln

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5144 posts in 1137 days

#11 posted 07-05-2014 02:58 AM

Great looking bench!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View ShaneA's profile


5591 posts in 1443 days

#12 posted 07-05-2014 03:14 AM

That thing is sweet Ian. Really like the looks. Well done sir.

View waho6o9's profile


5756 posts in 1422 days

#13 posted 07-05-2014 03:25 AM

Congrats Ian all your hard work paid off

big time, she’s a beaut!

Let’s see here it’s your Birthday, Fourth of July, and

you completed an Heirloom bench, that trifecta

is tough to beat.

Rock on

View hotncold's profile


662 posts in 389 days

#14 posted 07-05-2014 04:25 AM

Wonderful display of craftsmanship and beauty! Nicely done!!!

-- Dennie - Tennessee - Every Pro was once an Amateur. Every Expert was once a Beginner. So dream Big and start Now!

View stefang's profile


14003 posts in 2179 days

#15 posted 07-05-2014 09:29 AM

Super nice bench. You did some really fine work on the joints and it all looks wonderful too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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