Workbench #1: Roubo Workbench progress

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Blog entry by JimYoung posted 01-24-2020 02:22 AM 565 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Workbench series Part 2: Dovetail and tail vise »

Hi All,
It has been a while since I posted, or did some woodworking, so I thought I’d share the progress I’ve made to date on my new split-top, Roubo workbench.

I actually bought the hard maple back in September 2018 at the LL Johnson fall woodworking show. They had good deals on lumber and there were quite a few workshops and presentation I sat in while they skip planned and straight edge ripped my selections.

I bought the plans and hardware from Benchcrafted with some of my annual bonus. It was expensive, but the quality is top notch and I’ll have long forgotten the price by the time I’m working on this bench.

I’ve been really dragging my feet on this project, due to a lot of other projects and just taking it easy last summer. I’m trying to stay in shape, and moving a couple of hundred pounds of maple around the shop helps so I got my second wind and I’m starting to make good progress.

I’ve basically finished the base and tonight did the first top glue up with the help of my son. I did three of the glue joints tonight, but clamped up all the boards to help ensure it was straight. Having the base finished is really a good idea before tackling the tops.

Major challenges so far have been fitting the mortises so that the stretchers are even with the legs. It is much easier when they are offset. I did drawbore all the joints and the base is really solid. The other challenges have been drilling the various holes in these massive pieces. A co-worker heled me with the hole for the leg vise bearing, because my little bench top drill press would not turn that large of a bit.

For the knock down hardware, I used a 1/2” spade bit with an extension which was also 1/2” in diameter. This helped to keep these holes reasonably straight through the legs and into the stretchers. I used the method in the plans for finding the first two holes for the barrel nuts, but they were slightly off and needed to be enlarged. Rather than sighting along the bolts, for the other holes I used a square block set along the edge of the bolt and straight edge to draw the lines. This method was spot on and the holes were right the first time.

I’ve only had one minor slip with the router, but it is hidden by one of the joints. I’ll need to buy a little more lumber to finish the chop, and dog hole portion. I’ve got some cherry left over from my desk, so I’m going to be adding a few other accents.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

4 comments so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3283 posts in 3057 days

#1 posted 01-24-2020 12:23 PM

Jim, congratulations on making a great start. This will be a great heirloom for your son and his progeny.

-- Art

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

827 posts in 2093 days

#2 posted 01-24-2020 05:42 PM

It’s going to be a great bench If it’s anything like your other projects.

-- James E McIntyre

View EarlS's profile


3772 posts in 3148 days

#3 posted 01-24-2020 06:38 PM

Looking forward to seeing the finished version. One of these days I want to make something like this but incorporate my table saw into one end of it.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View AJ1104's profile


1103 posts in 2460 days

#4 posted 04-09-2020 01:16 AM

Jim. I just came across your blog. It is amazing. Thanks for the great photos and build process.

-- AJ

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