My Roubo Build #12: Leg Glue Up & Holdfast Question

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Blog entry by naomi weiss posted 06-22-2010 08:39 PM 2694 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: Minimal Progress ;-) Part 12 of My Roubo Build series Part 13: Picking it Up Again, For Real! »

After a good day in the library, i decided to reward myself by gluing up one leg (it’s the only one with all 3 pieces dimensioned properly). I opted for the Schwarz’s gluing up accoutrement (part of a multi-grain cheerio box in my case) rather than my roller, as i didn’t want to wash it up after one use. Jury’s still out on the method. I did dare to change one piece of his advice, though, and i am throwing it out there for other beginners who find making jigs more intimidating and overwhelming than the piece (that being said, in the slideshow you will see a little-does it count as a jig?-in order to plane the leg boards. Worth it!). Instead of making little tenon offcuts to nail to the leg in order to keep the boards from sliding about during glue-up, i opted for my wooden handscrew.

From Roubo Leg

It involves no cutting straight pieces, going to buy more pieces, no nail-gunning the thing to the leg (i can’t afford a nail gun! i’m a student!), and the clamp’s edges are perfectly straight. I thought i would be posting on here that it was a big mistake…but it worked fine. It’s a more intuitive solution, i think; much simpler. Maybe i’m missing something, but it worked fine, and i expended much less energy. In fact, this was a step i had been putting off because i was afraid of the whole offcut tenon process. Pretty absurd!

Holdfast Question
I decided to maybe use my holdfast in an experimental hole i drilled on what will be the offcut side of my bench:

From Roubo Leg

It doesn’t work like the one i used when i cut dovetails with Chuck Bender! The hole seems the right size…could it be bc the surface is uneven?

Little Slideshow

-- 'Humility is a duty in great ones, as well as in idiots'--Jeremy Taylor

9 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8653 posts in 4989 days

#1 posted 06-22-2010 09:25 PM

looks good so far – the wooden clamp idea is great! you can either cover it with plastic wrap, or wax paper to keep glue off of it.

as for the holdfast – not all holdfast are the same. did you smack it hard enough? I notice on mine every once in a while it’ll come loose if I didn’t smack it hard enough to begin with.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View swirt's profile


7141 posts in 4312 days

#2 posted 06-22-2010 10:31 PM

If the holdfast is smooth on the part that goes into the dog hole, it may not have enough …. bite. Take some 60 grit sandpaper and grab that part of the holdfast, then twist it back and forth. This will rough up the surface of the holdfast’s peg and should make it stick a bit better after you give it a whack.

-- Galootish log blog,

View mafe's profile


13695 posts in 4430 days

#3 posted 06-22-2010 10:40 PM

It looks like your holdfast’s are cast iron, they seem to be stiff, to be really effective, they need to be able to give a little, or you have to have this give after in the wood…
Be carefull if you bang them too hard, they might brake.
I just bought two vintage French my self, they are forged, they seem to be able to take some beating.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View b2rtch's profile


4921 posts in 4389 days

#4 posted 06-22-2010 11:10 PM

Naomi, about your hold fast read this:

I got hold-fasts made here by a local black smith,they work very well.
Look here:
I am sure you could some made for very little money where you live .

-- Bert

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 5053 days

#5 posted 06-23-2010 01:38 AM

Yeah if they are cast they won’t have the ‘flex’ that a forged holdfast will…in fact cast can be quite brittle and will shatter if hit just right…forged, of course, are more ductile (‘bendy’ for the less technically inclined :-) and will flex enough to ‘grab’ the piece in question. I believe it is actually the tension imposed on the holdfast by striking it that holds the workpiece in place.

After some rough days writing my thesis going to the library WAS my reward…of course now I have a wife, kids and woodworking so I’ve lots of ways to reward my self now LOL!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View cjsolo's profile


24 posts in 4240 days

#6 posted 06-23-2010 05:07 PM

Are dog holes supposed to be drilled with like a 10 or 20 (or something) degree angle relative to vertical (assuming the work bench is more or less horizontal)? I don’t know – just thought I’d ask.

-- Raisin' grain with blood, sweat, and tears

View b2rtch's profile


4921 posts in 4389 days

#7 posted 06-23-2010 05:24 PM

If you use round dogs, drill straight down

-- Bert

View cjsolo's profile


24 posts in 4240 days

#8 posted 06-24-2010 02:12 AM

Square dogs get 88º (or 92º, depending on your perspective) and round ones get 90º to the benchtop. Excellent information for a noob. Thank you!

-- Raisin' grain with blood, sweat, and tears

View Houtje's profile


311 posts in 4312 days

#9 posted 06-24-2010 06:02 AM

I love the Jip and Janneke doekjes…....
But also to see how your work is going.
Ga zo door…...

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