Red's Roubo Bench

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Project by BigRedKnothead posted 02-26-2013 07:39 PM 26566 views 89 times favorited 58 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well my Roubo bench is Done! It’s been quite a ride.

This bench was heavily inspired by Christopher Schwarz’s recent book on workbenches. Part of me wanted plow my own path, but I couldn’t deny this simple and extremely functional design some French guy came up with centuries ago. I gave his bench my best shot and this is what I came up with. Bench measures 8 ft long, 28” deep, and 36” tall. Legs are 5×6”. Probably around 500lbs. I can move it around my shop by lifting one end at a time. But not easily.

The bench is made of white oak and walnut. Of course, the contrast of the two species was intentional. But I really selected these because they are the most common hardwoods here in Iowa. Matter of fact, all the wood in the bench was harvested and dried within 30 miles of our home. I was able to get really good prices and didn’t spend any more than folks would spend on southern yellow pine in other parts of the country.

Like a lot of the furniture a I make, the key feature burns up most of the hours. In this case it was the through dovetails/tenon by which the legs are attached to the top. My first ever dovetail I might add. It’s a massive joint, but it was worth the hours put in. I think it makes the bench.

My motive for this project was to have a bench that would be more conducive to working with hand tools. That’s the direction my work has been progressing. Goal achieved. I have been using this bench, and my planes, A LOT ever since the vise was installed. The leg vise was the only unknown in the project. I’d never used one before. I’ve been pleasently surprised. It works great. The end vise is really just vise off my old bench. I kicked around other end vise options but stayed with this for now. Eventually, I think I would like a veritas twin screw vise on the end.

Definitely feel blessed to have the means and ability to embark on such a project. Here’s to a lot of years of enjoying this bench. Peace out, Red

Oh ya, I made a 3 part blog about this project if you want to see how I went about the construction.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

58 comments so far

View waho6o9's profile


8475 posts in 2747 days

#1 posted 02-26-2013 07:44 PM

Impressive joinery BRK, looks like it’s near impossible to move that
fine bench.

Most excellent!

View Don W's profile

Don W

18988 posts in 2738 days

#2 posted 02-26-2013 08:16 PM

excellent bench. I like the local lumber use. Most of the lumber for mine came from within a 1/2 mile of my shop.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3322 days

#3 posted 02-26-2013 08:19 PM

Dang Red, thanks for not posting your bench yesterday. It would have kicked me out of the daily top 3! LOL.

I love the contrast of oak and walnut. Its not stark like Maple and Walnut. It’s a pleasure to look at man. WOW that’s an amazing bench.

I also like your “Pint” shaped deadman!

I like the rest of your shop furniture to by the way. You have a dream shop now man!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3037 days

#4 posted 02-26-2013 08:38 PM

That is a magnificent bench.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3122 days

#5 posted 02-26-2013 09:20 PM

Dan, that’s a very nice bench! I hope you enjoy working on it.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3027 days

#6 posted 02-26-2013 09:23 PM

That bench is just awesome
It must be a pleasure to work on

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 2224 days

#7 posted 02-26-2013 09:30 PM

great job.

-- Joel

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2655 days

#8 posted 02-26-2013 09:43 PM

Beautiful and useful, what’s not to love?

-- Brian Timmons -

View ShaneA's profile


7043 posts in 2769 days

#9 posted 02-26-2013 10:34 PM

It really looks nice. All this quality bench building is inspirational. The leg joinery turned out great. Well done.

View kdc68's profile


2689 posts in 2447 days

#10 posted 02-26-2013 10:42 PM

BigRedKnottHead——Incredible looking bench…the walnut and oak together is beautiful

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8542 posts in 2152 days

#11 posted 02-26-2013 11:27 PM

Thanks for all the encouragement guys. It was definitely a labor of love.

Mauricio, don’t know about the dream shop….yet. It’s feels pretty cluttered. Gonna build a shed this spring and get everything that isn’t for my woodshop outta there. New cabinets, plane till, lumber rack…all on the way. Got a few commissions first take care of first. Blessed to have a way to pay for it all.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View USAFPOL's profile


124 posts in 2221 days

#12 posted 02-26-2013 11:31 PM

Wow, that is beautiful…not only a workbench but a piece of art. Thanks for posting it!

View Ron Harper's profile

Ron Harper

133 posts in 2087 days

#13 posted 02-26-2013 11:54 PM

Wow, you are going to love working on that thing!

-- Ron in Kokomo

View bondogaposis's profile


5040 posts in 2521 days

#14 posted 02-27-2013 12:25 AM

Really nice, I hope mine turns out half as well.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3993 days

#15 posted 02-27-2013 12:41 AM

Oh what a sweet looking bench, the journey has just begun enjoy the ride with your new workmate…BC

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