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Split Top Roubo Bench Build

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Blog series by ic3ss updated 04-14-2015 02:15 AM 19 parts 57437 reads 50 comments total

Part 1: Preparing for the build

02-11-2015 02:07 AM by ic3ss | 4 comments »

Like many of us I have looked at all of those pictures of other people’s roubo workbenches with a jealous eye for quite some time. The ones built with Benchcrafted hardware just seemed to be top notch in quality, and they look like woodworker candy. I’ve had this build on my to-do list since 2011 because I don’t have a woodworking bench with woodworking vises or anything to hold my work down. I’m forced to use my old Unisaw as a bench and the best I can do is use a cla...

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Part 2: Still gathering supplies

02-20-2015 09:33 PM by ic3ss | 2 comments »

So this is taking too long, I’m impatient. I called the wood supplier last week and was told that more 8/4 hard maple would be in the store on Tuesday. I called Tuesday and was told Wednesday. Called Wednesday and was told Thursday. I give up, so I went south to anther supplier in Eugene and I was only able to find one suitable board to complete the legs and one really nice 8/4 piece of walnut for the chop and the deadman. While I was there I got a call from the shop in portland that th...

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Part 3: Milling

02-25-2015 03:12 AM by ic3ss | 3 comments »

I was tasked by my boss to modify a part for the machines that I work on. A 6’ long and half inch square piece of plastic that is a guide rail. I had to rip it on the table saw and ream out the screw holes. I made them order me a special plastic cutting blade that arrived on Monday. Last week in anticipation for continuing my bench build, I had ordered a new ripping blade so consequently I was on hold until both blades arrived. The plastic one came first so I got that little job out of ...

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Part 4: More gluing

03-03-2015 02:58 AM by ic3ss | 3 comments »

Since I began woodworking almost five years ago and slowly building my shop, one of the things that has proven difficult for me to prioritize was buying clamps. We all know the old saying “You can’t have enough clamps”. And while this is true, the projects that I have mostly done didn’t require very many clamps. And the larger projects I did, I just made do with what I had. This bench project has spurred me to start buying parallel clamps, but at $40 + a pop and with s...

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Part 5: . . . and more gluing and planing

03-03-2015 11:44 PM by ic3ss | 0 comments »

This morning I was out in the shop by 10am, eager to go. Motrin is a wonderful thing. I took the now full width back half out of the clamps and grabbed a glue scraper and went to work. I was able to only get a little bit of the glue runs off, so I switched to my jack plane. I had a bit of an alignment issue with these boards so I had some fairly high spots to flatten out. I did the bare minimum with the plane until I was worn out, it didn’t take long. Then I mustered all of my st...

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Part 6: Flattening and starting on the tail vise

03-05-2015 04:02 AM by ic3ss | 1 comment »

Last night I snuck out to the shop to take the clamps from the front top that I glued up earlier that day and used them to glue up two of the legs. I just had to get it done before bed. This morning I just let them sit as I had other stuff to do. I started with flattening the bottom surface of the front top. I had to run it across the jointer in halves like I did with the back top and I thought I did ok but I realized that after running the top surface through the planer, that surface was...

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Part 7: Fixing mistakes

03-15-2015 04:42 PM by ic3ss | 6 comments »

I forgot to update last week. I didn’t get much done because I was busy fixing a mistake. In episode 6 I showed a picture of the end tenon and the lead screw channel cut out. The weird thing is that the huge mortise cut into the end of the tenon. The mortise was too wide and I didn’t notice until last week I was thinking about it when I was in bed. That’s when I do my best thinking. I got up in the morning and checked the drawing and I was right. The drawing says the mortise...

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Part 8: Install the tail vise, done with the top

03-17-2015 12:43 AM by ic3ss | 2 comments »

Yesterday I took the end cap and cut out two mortises first using a spade bit and then chiseling it square. I had to trim the tenons down a bit to fit in, and when I was squaring the small mortise, part of the end grain wall broke away leaving me with a big gap. I really didn’t want to make another end cap and do all of this work again, so I think I’m going to go with it for now. If I decide later I can’t live with it, I can just take it off and make another o...

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Part 9: Finishing up the tail vise

03-19-2015 12:57 AM by ic3ss | 0 comments »

Yesterday the last thing I did was cut up that big walnut board and laminate two pieces for the leg vise. Took it out of the clamps this morning and I think I’ll wait for this Sunday before going forward with it. After I was done yesterday, I was in the house and heard this big crash. I never did find out what it was until this morning I saw the walnut glue up had fallen off my table saw and bent one of my hand screw clamps. Oops. In the meantime, I worked on the d...

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Part 10: Mounting the Criss-Cross

03-23-2015 01:05 AM by ic3ss | 4 comments »

Yesterday I picked up a 1 – 1/4” forester bit and a 3/8” x 10” long brad point bit at Woodcraft. The forstner bit is for drilling the hole through the chop and leg for the leg vise. The bit is too short to make it all of the way through the leg so I also need to get a forstner bit extension. The 3/8” bit is for the pins that hang the Criss-Cross on the chop and leg. The chop is 9” wide so this was barely able to make it through. I didn’t want to hassl...

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Part 11: A chop is born

03-23-2015 11:21 PM by ic3ss | 0 comments »

Today was a light day for me as I’m running out of things I can do until I get more wood, so today I cut out the side profile of the chop. I had this piece of thin ply laying around so I ripped it down to size and put my alignment marks on it, then drew the shoulder using a french curve template. Using the centerline I was able to do both sides. I clamped it on edge and sanded the template profile smooth then traced both sides on the chop. I cut a bunch ...

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Part 12: Finish up the leg vise

03-25-2015 02:37 AM by ic3ss | 1 comment »

Had a surprise today, more funds available in the budget than I thought so I went to the lumber yard and got the wood that I needed. Got it all milled up and the front rail is now in the clamps. Due to my clamp shortage, I’ll have to glue up the last leg after I get home from work tomorrow night. But that’s good because it’ll set me up perfect for next weekend’s activities. I picked up a 2 – 5/8” forstner bit for the plastic bearing ring, a 4” fors...

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Part 13: Cut tenons, make mortise jigs

03-30-2015 12:38 AM by ic3ss | 0 comments »

Whew, my workweek is finally over and now I can have some fun. I’ve been thinking all week about today, particularly what I still need to get to push this project along. I needed a jig to cut the mortises, and I was looking at pattern bits and I came away with an education. Top bearing straight cut pattern bits are expensive. I didn’t want to spend that much so I went to woodcraft last week when I bought my last pieces of wood for the leg and rail, and picked up a guide bushing fr...

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Part 14: Final assembly of the base

04-01-2015 02:48 AM by ic3ss | 0 comments »

I was out in the shop/garage at 8am today and didn’t finish until 7pm. I don’t recall taking a lunch break, or any break for that matter, the day just flew by. But I did get a while lot done. Yesterday was all fitting the mortises and tenons. That took all of yesterday and I left it dry fitted together. This morning I had five things to do before I could drill holes for the draw bore joints. I ran the legs across the table saw to chamfer the bottom edges, check the leg v...

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Part 15: Pretty much done

04-01-2015 11:02 PM by ic3ss | 13 comments »

I put in an eleven hour day yesterday on this thing, the work was really kind of fun compared to the tedious work of digging out mortises of the day before. I’ve never tried the draw bore method of locking a mortise and tenon together. I didn’t even use clamps. Well this morning I just had to get the tops to fit on the tenons, so after trimming back a couple of mortise surfaces they both fit down snugly, a very sweet fit. As a bonus, the sides of the tops ended up flush wit...

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Part 16: The worst Easter ever

04-06-2015 01:46 AM by ic3ss | 4 comments »

So, my task today was to cut up a piece of maple I bought the other day to make the gap stop and get it glued up in the clamps and then go over to family for Easter dinner. I set up the band saw and set about resawing the board into two halves. It went fine for the first 3/4 of the board then it was binding the blade and was not tracking straight, and not wanting to cut. I made a couple of adjustments, everything else looked fine in the setup. It just wouldn’t cut and was binding hor...

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Part 17: Ok, I think I've recovered now

04-07-2015 12:07 AM by ic3ss | 3 comments »

After a long morning drinking my coffee and thinking about alternatives to keep working, I drove to the lumber yard and got a piece of baltic birch to make the flattening sled out of. When I came back I took my bent saw blade out and put a crescent wrench on the bent tooth. I moved it about three times and I think it may be useable. I soaked it in simple green to get the pitch off and I’ll try it tomorrow. I’m expecting that it’ll be a little rough but that’s ok. IR...

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Part 18: Top flattening, parts 1 and 2

04-13-2015 03:49 AM by ic3ss | 0 comments »

I didn’t write the final post last week as I was pretty busy with my 20th wedding anniversary. Last weekend I had planned on flattening the tops on my last day off but only got half of it done. I had decided to use the router to flatten it, using a sled and rails. I saw the technique on the Wood Whisperer video and thought it was a good idea. So I went to the big box and got two 2×6 kiln dried 8’ long boards for the rails. The first thing it to make the edges straight and ...

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Part 19: Done!

04-14-2015 02:15 AM by ic3ss | 4 comments »

My morning was taken up entirely by straightening out a snafu with my medical insurance co. and the doctor’s office. What a pain. Sometimes I wonder why I have health insurance. Anyway. . . When I did make it out to the shop, I had this cutoff piece of walnut left over from the leg vise chop that was perfect for the deadman. I’m not really done with it at this point, all I did was rip it and cut to length, cut a rabbet at the top and the V groove at the bottom. It fits right...

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