|Project by denovich||posted 04-14-2011 06:00 AM||12829 views||43 times favorited||22 comments|
Finally (almost) done! A split-top roubo style bench, heavily influenced by Christopher Schwartz and his excellent workbench book. I made it with the surplus materials I had, which was a hell of a lot of 4/4 white oak and curly maple (<$1/bf from Craigslist last year) plus a bit of leftover 8/4 white oak I inherited. This made for way more work and very hairy glue ups. All 8/4 is highly recommended.
Dimensions: 84” long, 24” wide, and 35” tall. Top is 3 3/4” thick, legs are 5” square, long stretchers are about 4” square.
Leg vise screw is Lee Valley. 9” Quick release vise is Harbor Freight. Holddowns are Gramercy. I used floating tenons on the side stretchers (cut with the horizontal mortiser on my Minimax combo), regular M/T elsewhere. The long stretchers are not glued, but instead held with 8” 3/8” shank SPAX lag screws. Top is held by the tenons and some 6” long lag screws. The top is glued up using DAP’s Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue. It gave the longest setup times, but I was still cutting it very close on the glueups (did each half of the split top… about 10 boards each in one heart-pounding go.)
I agonized over round vs. square dogs. Went with round, glad I did. Adding the holes at the end was way easier… I used a 3/4 auger bit that cut through that top like butter, and was easy to guide straight and true.
Currently it just has a single coat of BLO on it while I figure out how I really want to finish it.
Left to do: crochet, deadman, tray for middle of split top. A million other projects.
Total time: Somewhere around 150hrs… considerably more if you add in machine/tool/shop setup time + all the planning and head-scratching as I let the materials largely dictate dimensions as opposed to following a recipe. This is the first big project I’ve done in my basement shop. Along the way I was learning, adapting, tweaking as I went. The $600 Minimax combo was awesome… I can’t say enough positive things about the sliding table saw and that 12” jointer/planer. The first top half was done using a 6” Powermatic 54A jointer, a brand new Grizzly 1023RL table saw, and a Dewalt 735 planer. The MM made the second half so much easier, with higher quality results. I haven’t turned on my regular table saw since I got it.
Update: I forgot to give some credit to my mom for helping me on the bench. She visited last weekend. In addition to delivering my car from storage, bringing me pizza, helping to clean my house and shop, planting our garden, and playing with her granddaughter… she helped me muscle the ~150lb halves of workbench across the jointer and through the planer.
BTW: The biggest point in favor of the split top: at less than 12” wide you can run it through the planer (and if you have a big enough jointer, across it too.) I don’t have the skills/patience for accurate glue ups… especially when it involves a dozen squirrelly 1” thick 8’ long boards. What came out of the clamps was pretty ugly. But with a helping hand it was easy to get them flat and true. The extra length meant I could pretty much ignore planer snipe (hard to avoid with such unwieldy stock.) Plus, I don’t think my even my mom could have helped me if the top was one piece and 300lbs.