Split Top Roubo Workbench made of tropical hardwood.

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Project by sammarine posted 05-09-2015 08:38 AM 5848 views 12 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi people,

After 25 months, I’ve finally completed my Split Top Roubo Workbench made of tropical hardwood (Shorea genus of Dipterocarpaceae family wood or simply called “Kayu Meranti” here in Malaysia).

Updated (add on) : May 10, 2015
Usage of Meranti Wood (Shorea) on my workbench. Many commentators did inquire about meranti wood(kayu).

How do I describe/explain other than stating it is a tropical hardwood? Well, here are some comparisons and wood texture with reference to other hardwood such as teak, mahogany, resak (Cotylelobium melanoxylon). These hardwood has a very high fibre cellulose density and are heavier, making them rather hard to carve and shape. Meranti wood on the other hand has a lesser density fibre cellulose as compared to teak or cumaru wood, thus making it easier to work with.

Once on a woodworking roadshow I did have a chance to feel whats like of a pine wood. Comparing meranti wood and pine wood, I would say that meranti is a lot more heavier and densier than pine. Planing a meranti wood on a hand plane is time consuming takes a lot of effort but its certainly easier to work with comparing to teak.

Meranti wood also gives you a nice smooth surface finish when linseed oil is applied. From the pics that I posted, it is quite evident that the wood changes color as it absorbed the oil. Here’s a pic of before and after linseed oil application . Before and after

p/s Hi Charlie, I hope my description on Kayu Meranti enlighten you on the type of wood it is.

Updated : May 09, 2015
Duration : 25 months, inclusive of 12 months for wood drying time and bench parts gathering.
Type of Wood : Tropical hard wood, Shorea genus of Dipterocarpaceae family wood or simply called “Kayu Meranti” here in Malaysia.
Parts Gathering : Benchcrafted Tail Vise, Wagon Leg Vise (various local hardware stores).
Person involved : Myself
Wood Finish : Linseed Oil only.
Tools : Hand tools ( Chisels, mallets, hand saw, etc.), Power tools (trimmer, router, mitre saw, jig saw, hand sander, hand planer, etc.)

As a novice and a hobbyist in woodworking, some minor mistakes were made during the crafting of this workbench. Crafting this workbench was the largest project that I’ve ever undertaken and I’ve learned a lot from it. Details on my mistakes working on this bench can be viewed here
Some lessons learned crafting this workbench are,....

1. Don’t be hasty when woodowrking.

2. Research thoroughly onto a project before initiating it. i.e funds, time required, etc.

3. To made 100% sure that the wood is dry enough to start crafting it.

4. Get or invest on sharp and reliable tools (not those cheap chisels that you can buy from mall ). In the long run its worth it.

5. If possible try purchasing a machine wood planner is much easier and less mistakes are made when it comes to flattening and joining wood together.

6. Be sure to coat all metal parts of the project (screws included). Here, humidity level is super high and things will get rusty real quick.

I think I’ll have to stop here and let you guys read my blog for the progress made during the crafting of the workbench. link

Do leave a comment or two for self improvement and upgrade, thank you for reading my posting and blog.

Sam :))

-- Sam, Malaysia,

18 comments so far

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

742 posts in 2855 days

#1 posted 05-09-2015 11:42 AM

awesome bench. Love the finish

-- Scott, Irmo SC

View johnstoneb's profile


2106 posts in 1596 days

#2 posted 05-09-2015 12:15 PM

Really nice bench. I like the way your deadman mounts.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View DanielS's profile


123 posts in 1360 days

#3 posted 05-09-2015 12:31 PM

Wow, that is a beauty. Your use of the red accents really makes it stand out even more. That will be a pleasure to work on for years.

-- Daniel S

View recycle1943's profile


1118 posts in 1045 days

#4 posted 05-09-2015 12:32 PM

Great bench ! what is the name of the wood ?

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - Your imagination is your only holdup

View mmh's profile


3664 posts in 3146 days

#5 posted 05-09-2015 12:36 PM

This is an incredible workbench! The wood and craftsmanship are superb. It could be a piece of furniture that also has function!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View sammarine's profile


26 posts in 645 days

#6 posted 05-09-2015 01:55 PM

Thanks Scott,.. I just applied Linseed Oil to the wood for the finish.

Hey Bruce, The deadman is riding on a 1” side by side iron rail instead of a wooden rail.

Thanks Daniel, Initially I went for a gold color but that didn’t stick well on the wagon wheel.

Hi Dick, I used numerous types of tropical wood but they are mostly shorea genus of Dipterocarpaceae family wood or simply called “Kayu Meranti” here in Malaysia.

Thanks Mmh, Yeah its as good as a functioning furniture own its own.

-- Sam, Malaysia,

View BurlyBob's profile


3488 posts in 1689 days

#7 posted 05-09-2015 02:54 PM

Sam, that is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. They don’t get much better than that.

View BroncoBrian's profile


435 posts in 1382 days

#8 posted 05-09-2015 04:42 PM

That is the most beautiful bench I have seen yet. Incredible work and the wood/finish is outstanding. WELL DONE! I am not sure I would want that in my shop, I’d put it into to a formal room as furniture.

-- Bigfoot tries to take pictures of me

View CharlieK's profile


463 posts in 3216 days

#9 posted 05-09-2015 07:30 PM

HI Sam,

That is a GREAT looking bench! You did a nice job on your blog, too!

How would you describe the properties of Kayu Meranti?


-- Adjustable Height Workbench Plans

View SteveGaskins's profile


621 posts in 2010 days

#10 posted 05-09-2015 08:39 PM

Beautiful bench, Sam. I really need one of these.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View iminmyshop's profile


251 posts in 1417 days

#11 posted 05-09-2015 09:39 PM

Really nice bench beautifully crafted. Enjoy it!
I look forward to seeing the projects made on this bench in the future.

View Mambrax's profile


139 posts in 915 days

#12 posted 05-09-2015 09:57 PM

it’s so pretty, i’ll scared to use it !!! Great job !!!!!

-- Let's do the best we can !

View sras's profile


4363 posts in 2553 days

#13 posted 05-09-2015 11:09 PM

Stunning! The workmanship and materials are excellent!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View mafe's profile


11061 posts in 2512 days

#14 posted 05-09-2015 11:41 PM

Beautiful bench, love the wood and color choice.
Lessons learned, for you, we all have to do them… ;-)
May it serve you well.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View jcees's profile


1011 posts in 3222 days

#15 posted 06-10-2015 09:19 PM

A very lovely bench indeed. Love the color of the meranti.

-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

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