SYP Spilt-Top Roubo Workbench #1: 80% Complete

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Blog entry by grfrazee posted 01-03-2013 02:53 PM 17679 reads 9 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of SYP Spilt-Top Roubo Workbench series Part 2: Finished Leg Vise »

I was fortunate enough to be able to take off Christmas week and get a good start on my workbench. I’ve had the idea to build one in my head for a few months now, and have been slowly accumulating the parts and hardware necessary. My intention was to make it possible to take the bench apart and move it with relative ease since I will be moving it from my dad’s shop once I have a shop of my own (side note: apartments suck).

I used southern yellow pine, special ordered from Menards, to build most of the bench. It’s inexpensive, stiff, and I won’t care so much when it gets dinged and banged around during use. The hardware is the Lee Valley Tail Vise and just the plain Tail Vise Screw for the leg vise. The breadboards and leg vise chop are hickory. The parallel guide for the leg vise and the slide rail for the deadman are scrap oak from the shop.

I had originally intended to blog about the construction of my workbench, but considering the frenetic pace of building this thing, it would have gotten in my way. I did all that you see below in the space of a week, and total hours put in was between 40-60. There were some 12+ hour days, and some only 4 hours due to the holiday. I made four big black garbage bags worth of shavings and sawdust, and I’m pretty sure I’m still blowing the finer sawdust from my nose.

Below you can see the wedge ends for the long stretchers, which are dovetailed at the end. They’re nice and easy to whack in with a mallet when the wood inevitably shrinks and expands with the seasons. Also, the back guide wheel for the parallel guide. I’ll have to add one in the front.

The leg vise turned out nicely. Note to all – if you plan on removing the vise hardware from the chop at any point, don’t use the included screws that come with the Lee Valley kit. They stripped out on me pretty quick.

Back view. Easier to see the tool platform and the missing chunk where the tail vise will go.

It was very satisfying to be able to use the workbench even though it’s technically not finished. The thing is rock solid and weighs quite a bit. I’ll have to figure out an estimate once I put together the final SketchUp model.

Things left to do:

That last one I’m reeeeaaaaalllyyyy not looking forward to.


10 comments so far

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3926 days

#1 posted 01-03-2013 03:07 PM

Nice work. I wish I had the room for a big bench like that. I’m jealous!

Did you peg the breadboard ends or just glue them?

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2646 days

#2 posted 01-03-2013 03:23 PM

I glued only about 1” in the middle of the breadboards to allow for expansion and contraction of the top.


View DocSavage45's profile


8865 posts in 3349 days

#3 posted 01-03-2013 04:25 PM

pretty piece, are you going to want to pound on it? LOL! Sounds like a pretty intense build? Not bad material from Menards.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View sb194's profile


197 posts in 3525 days

#4 posted 01-03-2013 10:41 PM

Looks great. Can’t wait to see it finished.


View lowellmk's profile


61 posts in 2479 days

#5 posted 01-04-2013 03:09 AM


Great looking bench….I’m envious!

-- Wag more, bark less.

View jeffbranch's profile


110 posts in 3159 days

#6 posted 01-05-2013 06:30 PM

I’m jealous. I want a roubo.


View eff's profile


16 posts in 2458 days

#7 posted 01-28-2013 08:54 PM

Nicely done!

View mileskimball's profile


97 posts in 2520 days

#8 posted 01-29-2013 04:44 PM

What a great-looking bench!

-- Miles

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2646 days

#9 posted 02-25-2013 02:01 AM

Thanks everyone for the compliments!


View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3658 days

#10 posted 03-13-2014 01:53 PM

Beautiful bench man! You did a great job on grain orientation. Straight grained SYP looks pretty sharp.

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

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