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Another Roubo Workbench

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Project by RogerBean posted 05-30-2015 07:07 PM 6199 views 23 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Finally finished up my Roubo bench. Started over the winter and was delayed by shoulder surgery, so I’m still taking it a bit easy.

The bench itself is a pretty standard split-top Roubo based on the fine plans from the folks at BenchCrafted. I seldom follow plans, so I thought about all the ways I could customize the bench, and ended up with nothing that was better than their plans. And I couldn’t be happier with the result.

The bench itself is made of American beech, and is 87” long and 24” wide and 35” high. It seems that beech can be hard to come by, but I was lucky to find 200 bd/ft of 8/4 select beech at L.L. Johnson in Battle Creek, MI. The wood that arrived was lovely.

For those who have not worked with beech, there’s a good reason it is a traditional material for benches… it’s really, really, hard. Super sharp tools and a really big mallet are more than handy. But the beech was worth the extra effort. The thing is a beast and I estimate it weighs in at well over 400 lb.

I used all BenchCrafted hardware on this bench. Not only the vises, but also the takedown barrel nuts, and the BenchCrafted plan set. Hence, when it needs to be moved, it can be disassembled into managable pieces. The tail and leg vise hardware are a joy to behold. If you are contemplating building a serious bench, I highly recommend the BenchCrafted hardware. I don’t believe there is any finer.

I did adjust a little to accommodate the Veritas steel bench dogs rather than wood. Just a preference. Also, using the round brass Veritas bench dogs in the deadman which can also be used in the top round holes. My four Veritas WonderDogs also fit the same 3/4” holes (yet to be drilled). But the primary use of the round holes will be for the Gramercy holdfasts.

I haven’t yet installed the “gap-stop” which is an ingenious little addition that fits in the gap between the twin tops. Sitting flush, it provides a handy place to store chisels and saws, and inverted, it offers a stop to hold pieces for sawing or clamping. Really handy. I’’m waiting for the wood to settle, and a new Lenox carbide bandsaw blade, then I’ll finish the gap stop.

It has no finish, at least at this time. Those whose advice I respect say to add no finish at all. …or at the most just a coat of linseed oil. So, for the time being I’m going with the unfinished wood. Perhaps I’ll give it the coat of Linseed sometime in the future. We’ll see. It’s already showing the sighs of a couple months use.

Some members may remember me primarily as a box maker, and that’s been pretty much true for the past few years. However, I’ve always been interested in period furniture as well, and as I find myself drifting back to making some more period furniture, I found that my shop had become great for box making, but not so well suited to furniture making. Hence, the bench project.

By no means am I giving up box making, or the use of my machines. What I am doing is adding more hand tool capability. There are times when hand tools are just faster and better than machines. If I need to cut one or two mortises, or a couple sliding dovetails, the set up time and all the trial cuts just takes a long time. So, hand tools definitely have their place in my shop. As do the machines.

Thanks for looking in…

Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)





33 comments so far

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7174 posts in 2264 days


#1 posted 05-30-2015 07:24 PM

Fine bench Roger. It’s been fun to follow the progress and the finished shots certainly do not disappoint.
Just what I would expect from you. Now let’s see some fine furniture.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

2674 posts in 2650 days


#2 posted 05-30-2015 07:37 PM

Wow, this is an amazing bench. I got to try out those benchcrafted vises at Handworks this year and they blew me away… so very smooth and well built. I see you even splurged for the fully-machined wheels, very nice.

I want to build a very similar bench for myself. Is it tricky to figure out where to use round vs square dog holes? I also want to use holdfasts in my bench… would it make sense to use round dog holes everywhere, even in the tail vise? Do the square holes work better?

-- Allen, Colorado

View SBinMT's profile

SBinMT

2 posts in 753 days


#3 posted 05-30-2015 07:43 PM

Like John Lennon, I say “Yes.”

View Wood Studios's profile

Wood Studios

115 posts in 1798 days


#4 posted 05-30-2015 07:53 PM

What a beautiful workbench that is also highly functional. It is simply a big “Wow”!

-- I read it but I wasn't listening!!

View ic3ss's profile

ic3ss

387 posts in 2243 days


#5 posted 05-30-2015 07:58 PM

Roger,

Very nice work here. I also just completed my benchcrafted roubo in hard maple. How long was your total build time? It took me eight weeks working on my weekends, but I didn’t have a bum shoulder. You’ll really appreciate working on your bench. I really like the unfinished grain, it looks better then the beech that I had available here in Oregon. I’m leaving mine unfinished as well, except I put a thick layer of poly on the endgrain of the feet to seal them as I work in a garage.

Wayne

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

4535 posts in 1979 days


#6 posted 05-30-2015 08:14 PM

Very nice bench Roger, I’m about to make a workbench my next project following my cabinet work center in my new addition.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View widdle's profile

widdle

2057 posts in 2465 days


#7 posted 05-30-2015 08:36 PM

Beauty..

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7798 posts in 2770 days


#8 posted 05-30-2015 09:14 PM

what a beautiful bench roger, its got all the bells and whistles, i really like the design and all the hardware is top notch, i hope your shoulder heals well, be careful.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

712 posts in 3296 days


#9 posted 05-30-2015 09:51 PM

Beautiful bench Roger which I’m sure will be passed down through generations to come. Fantastic hardware too!

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View kiefer's profile

kiefer

4881 posts in 2133 days


#10 posted 05-30-2015 09:53 PM

Nice looking bench Roger too nice to beat up and way too expensive !
LOL
Glad to see you got it done but I did not see a blog on the progress did I miss something ?

ENJOY

Klaus

-- Kiefer https://www.youtube.com/user/woodkiefer1/videos

View dclark1943's profile

dclark1943

248 posts in 1654 days


#11 posted 05-30-2015 10:44 PM

Roger, Well done my friend! nothing finer then a fine bench, it just makes working in the shop more fun. I hope your shoulder is getting back to normal – - will probably take a long time. A beautiful job as usual, and thanks for sharing your talent with all us sliver pickers out here. Take care
Dave

-- Dave, Kansas City

View JL7's profile

JL7

8427 posts in 2431 days


#12 posted 05-30-2015 10:51 PM

That is a real beauty Roger! Well Done.

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View RogerBean's profile

RogerBean

1602 posts in 2420 days


#13 posted 05-30-2015 11:45 PM

Bobasauraus: My choice of square dogs was somewhat arbitrary. I liked the look and heft of the Veritas dogs, but the round ones should work as well I would think… and offer even more choices. Some guys avoid the steel ones for fear of hitting them with a plane iron.

Klaus: As numerous others have blogged their Roubo bench builds in great detail, it seemed redundant to do it again. And you’re right as well that it’s possible to make a fine bench at less cost. But this one had just caught my fancy, and I don’t regret the decision at all.

And thanks to all for the kind wishes. The shoulder is coming along fine, though I’ll probably be favoring it somewhat for several more months.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2156 days


#14 posted 05-30-2015 11:58 PM

Wow Roger! That bench shows all the attention to detail that you have become famous for.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View jbschutz's profile

jbschutz

501 posts in 2158 days


#15 posted 05-31-2015 12:03 AM

Beautiful Bench, Roger. I has the look of a fine craftsman’s tool…...workmanlike with arttistry. I am impressed with the clean lines and little details…like the top of the leg vise chop. The hardware looks great, too. Congrats on a project completed and well done.

-- jbschutz www.johnschutz.com

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