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Budget-friendly Roubo-inspired workbench

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Project by RHaynes posted 10-07-2014 03:16 PM 4606 views 32 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently completed my new workbench. It is a split-top, Roubo-inspired design with a few tweaks. It’s made from construction-grade lumber and with the hardwood for the vice chops and the vise hardware, came in under $650. It is 5” long, 35” high, and 30” wide. It has a 5” wide well board set off center, giving me a wider work surface on the face-vise side. The face vise is a twin-screw Series 2 from Hovarter Custom Vise. The twin screw vise has no screws, just plain shafts that slide in and out freely when the vise is not tightened down, but joined by a linkage under the bench that allows you to tighten and untighten the vise by turning only one of the handles. It’s 25” from shaft center to shaft center and the chops are 33” long, 7” high, and 2” thick. The end vise is a Groz. I know it doesn’t have a leg vise or a sliding deadman like a plate 11 bench, but it was more important to me to be able to clamp up 24” wide panels to cut joinery on the end grain, and the Moxon-style front vise lets me do that. With chops that are 33” long, I can hold just about anything I work on securely. If I need support for longer pieces, I can simply clamp it to the other leg.

The legs are joined to the top with wedged tenons. I “built” these joints up a la David Barron. But I didn’t bother to dovetail the front tenons, it just seemed like too much trouble and once the wedges were driven, I don’t think they’re going anywhere. The legs are tripled up, laminated 2×4s. The stretchers and bearer boards are doubled up laminated 2×4s. There is one set of 3/4” dog holes running the length of the bench from the end vise. There is also a piece of t-track set into the bench 3/4 of the way down to assist in using it for assembly (my shop is too small for separate benches), for which I use some of the wonderful Kreg Automaxx bench clamps and other hold-downs that work with t-track.

Since these photos were taken, the bench has gotten a light sanding and four coats of Arm-R-Seal. A complete walkthrough showing the construction and features is available on my YouTube channel.

This was one helluva project. Wow. Two months of my life basically consumed by a workbench! Many, many hours spent getting it flat. I also had to mill the vise chops by hand since they were too big for my 6” jointer. Great workout and I got to know a couple new planes I picked up at WWIA very well, and they got to know my sharpening stones very well too! The Hovarter vise ran me $375, the Groz end vise cost $70. The maple for the vise chops cost me $80. So all of the rest cost me approx. $100, which includes a gallon of Titebond, a quart of Arm-R-Seal and a whole bunch of 3/8” dowels. I’ve got to give shouts out to Paul Sellers whose series of videos on making a workbench were invaluable to me; Chris Schwartz, whose book on workbench design, theory, and construction was the key to the door; and David Barron who saved me hours chopping mortises for the legs. I hope you guys enjoy these pictures and the video.

-- "Sometimes the creative process requires foul language." -- Charles Neil.





16 comments so far

View ChrisK's profile

ChrisK

1809 posts in 2547 days


#1 posted 10-07-2014 04:41 PM

Very nice work.

-- Chris K

View siavosh's profile

siavosh

674 posts in 1336 days


#2 posted 10-07-2014 06:11 PM

Looks great! Did you use standard 2×4’s, kiln dried or ‘regular’?

-- http://woodspotting.com/ -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View RHaynes's profile

RHaynes

112 posts in 1085 days


#3 posted 10-07-2014 07:10 PM



Looks great! Did you use standard 2×4 s, kiln dried or regular ?

- siavosh

Thank you! They were all kiln-dried 2×4s. Some were wetter than others though so I bought them all and stacked them up in the shop for about 4 months before milling them down, then let them sit for a week or so between milling and the laminations.

-- "Sometimes the creative process requires foul language." -- Charles Neil.

View WhoMe's profile

WhoMe

1467 posts in 2709 days


#4 posted 10-07-2014 09:55 PM

You should visit the Workbench of your dreams thread and post it there. This will be a great inspiration to those on a budget and are looking to build a bench, like me..
Thanks for the video and link on the bench also. it cleared up all the questions I had.
I bookmarked this for future reference.
Thanks for posting.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View clarkey's profile

clarkey

462 posts in 2521 days


#5 posted 10-07-2014 09:57 PM

Great looking bench !!!!!

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

5056 posts in 2612 days


#6 posted 10-08-2014 12:04 AM

Great looking bench—I’m sure you’ll get a lot of good use out of it!

-- Dean

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

3392 posts in 1669 days


#7 posted 10-08-2014 12:15 AM

Thats got to be the best shot of a happy wood worker I have seen in some time.

Looking at the bench its no wonder !!

-- Regards Robert

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6853 posts in 2266 days


#8 posted 10-08-2014 12:43 AM

Looks great. We built a 2X6 Roubo last year on the video-cast, but a split top version is great to see too!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications: http://www.stumpynubs.com/

View ncdon's profile

ncdon

214 posts in 2341 days


#9 posted 10-08-2014 09:19 AM

Great work, I’d never considered 2 xs for a bench. Looks like I’ve got my winter project. Thanks for posting

-- Don, North Carolina,http://www.ncdon.com Working full time at retired.

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

16955 posts in 2654 days


#10 posted 10-08-2014 09:23 AM

Well done, congrats on the new bench.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1835 days


#11 posted 10-08-2014 03:07 PM

Great looking bench. When I saw the “budget friendly”, then saw $650, I thought “How is $650 budget-friendly?” Then I saw that the majority of it was spent on vises, which could be easily replaced with a more budget-friendly alternative.

Nice build!

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2799 days


#12 posted 10-08-2014 05:28 PM

Congratulations! It looks like sterling workmanship and judging by the smile on your face the time it took to build was well spent. I’m sure you will get a lifetime of pleasure from this bench.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Gunslinger's profile

Gunslinger

17 posts in 853 days


#13 posted 10-08-2014 06:08 PM

Great Looking work bench. After I get my shop organized, maybe I can find out how to build one and have space for it.

-- AL, Alabama

View RHaynes's profile

RHaynes

112 posts in 1085 days


#14 posted 10-08-2014 06:35 PM

Thanks man! Yeah it’s still a lot of money, but when I did the math to see what it would cost to do the whole thing out of hard maple, my definition of “budget” changed! I couldn’t bring myself to compromise on the front vise hardware though—it was exactly what I looked a long time to find and pretty much the main reason I wanted to build a bench. Totally agree, you could build this bench with cheaper vise hardware and chops and probably stay under the $200 mark.


Great looking bench. When I saw the “budget friendly”, then saw $650, I thought “How is $650 budget-friendly?” Then I saw that the majority of it was spent on vises, which could be easily replaced with a more budget-friendly alternative.

Nice build!

- BinghamtonEd


-- "Sometimes the creative process requires foul language." -- Charles Neil.

View RHaynes's profile

RHaynes

112 posts in 1085 days


#15 posted 10-08-2014 07:03 PM

Thanks, Stumpy! Of course, I forgot to add a shout-out to you for that series, which I did watch in its entirety prior to designing and building mine and would most certainly recommend it to anyone out there thinking of building a roubo on a budget!


Looks great. We built a 2X6 Roubo last year on the video-cast, but a split top version is great to see too!

- StumpyNubs


-- "Sometimes the creative process requires foul language." -- Charles Neil.

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