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

  • Advertise with us
Project by shampeon posted 07-05-2014 01:21 AM 2174 views 18 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


4237 posts in 1104 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


1077 posts in 602 days

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

+1000. It’s amazing man. Incredible.

Happy 4th!

-- Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes." -

View BigRedKnothead's profile


4977 posts in 635 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.

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

View Airframer's profile


2484 posts in 606 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

1979 posts in 905 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

1979 posts in 905 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


2324 posts in 1665 days

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

Sturdy looking bench. Congrats.

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

View CL810's profile


2012 posts in 1641 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 (online now)


1183 posts in 305 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


2268 posts in 864 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.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

View HillbillyShooter's profile


4581 posts in 946 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


5299 posts in 1252 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


4917 posts in 1230 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 (online now)


460 posts in 198 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


13024 posts in 1987 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.

showing 1 through 15 of 42 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase