Roubo Revelation

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Forum topic by Infernal2 posted 07-27-2012 08:44 PM 1320 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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107 posts in 2399 days

07-27-2012 08:44 PM

A few months back when I was getting returning to the woodworking (rather than the contracting) side of hobby I made a little workbench based off off the New Fangled Workbench Design. While it’s served me fairly well, I still can’t stand the little bench as its my guess that the NFWB really needs the full suggested length to help avoid racking. So after painfully reading through practically every post regarding workbench choice and doing a ton research I decided I’d knock together a Roubo. My space is still unfortunately limited but due to the massive leg and top design I figured the Roubo would be fine at around 5; x 2;. Well today I got the last of the bench to leg tenons done and I was a little disheartened. While my tenons are appropriately tight (and they are neither glued nor drawbored) I was still a little skeptical about the strength of this design.

So in something of a fit, I decided to flip the whole thing over, throw the legs in without glue or pegs and see how it held together. After all, what does Schwarz say? “The strength of the design is in the top?” Sure, I thought, we’ll just see about that.

And needless to say my skepticism was wrong. After I crawled on top of the thing I proceeded to try to knock it over and while it has a little rack at this point due to a lack of glue or draw bored pegs, the blasted thing actually works pretty darn well. Well enough to support my three kids, my wife, and I sitting on top of it. Would have made a great picture really, all five of us on top of a little 5’ long table.

So, now a couple of questions for those who have gone down the path. In the drawbore process, after you’ve drilled your initial holes and offset the tenon towards the shoulder, how far into the tenon did you drill your pegs? Halfway? All the way through? I’m now convinced that this project is going to turn out fairly well but I still want to be a hundred percent sure.

9 replies so far

View Brett's profile


661 posts in 2884 days

#1 posted 07-27-2012 08:48 PM

I’m not sure I understand the question in the last paragraph. Are you asking if the pegs were knocked all the way through the holes in the tenons, or if the holes were drill completely through the legs, or something else?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

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107 posts in 2399 days

#2 posted 07-27-2012 08:56 PM

I’m wondering if the holes go all the way through the tenons.

View jmos's profile


902 posts in 2571 days

#3 posted 07-27-2012 09:09 PM

Yes, all the way through the tenon. You don’t necessarily have to go all the way through the other side of the leg (but you do want a good insertion), but you want to go through the tenon. Generally easier to go all the way through.

Make sure you have a good taper on the pins, it really helps get the pin through the offset holes. My attempt at draw boring had pretty mixed results, mainly due to not enough taper and too much offset in the holes.

-- John

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3058 days

#4 posted 07-27-2012 09:36 PM

The Woodwrights Show Roy Underhill

has a great programme on this

great question I could show someone

but I couldn’t write how.

-- 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 Brett's profile


661 posts in 2884 days

#5 posted 07-27-2012 09:42 PM

I’ve been studying a lot of Chris Schwarz’s articles on workbenches (‘cuz I’m building a Roubo, too), and I’ve seen the holes for the drawbore pegs go all the way through the legs on some drawings and not completely through on others. I think that part is a matter of choice.

Here’s a picture of a drawbored joint:

which came from this article:

But note that the article shows the hole for the peg not going all the way through the leg.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View ScottStewart's profile


120 posts in 2333 days

#6 posted 07-27-2012 09:53 PM

Marc Spagnolo ( had a video on this recently I think….

found it.

Seems to make it a pretty step by step process.

View ksSlim's profile


1290 posts in 3091 days

#7 posted 07-28-2012 03:57 AM

Mine go all the way through. Made sense to me that I get just a little more holding power by going thruogh.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View Infernal2's profile


107 posts in 2399 days

#8 posted 07-28-2012 05:02 AM

Awesome, thanks everyone. I just polished up the fit and finish on the legs and I’ll be adding the stretchers tomorrow most likely. Then its on to the drawboring.

View KenBry's profile


484 posts in 2649 days

#9 posted 07-28-2012 11:32 AM

No need to go all the way through the leg. If there is enough supporting material on the other side of the Tenon for the pin to go into your joint will be fine.

In the case of the bench that Marc Spagnolo built the Mortice and Tenon are on the outer portion og the leg. This means that the Pin going in only needs a hole drilled into the mortice side far enough to draw and keep the 2 parts drawn tight.

-- Ken, USAF MSgt, Ret.

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