My Big Ash knockdown Roubo Workbench

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Project by Combo Prof posted 09-14-2015 10:03 PM 23614 views 14 times favorited 50 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This workbench is my 60-th birthday present (Today September 14, 2015). I worked all through the summer to build it. Now that I know what I am doing I think I could build it in 3 or 4 weeks if I had no distractions, all the lumber, and the hardware.

  1. Front view
  2. End view
  3. Made some shavings.
  4. Holes
  5. Bondo pose

The top measures 8’.5 to 9’ long and is made of a center 15” by 4” slab on each side of the slab two (true) ash 2” by 4” have been laminated, making it 23” wide in total. It is Ash with Cherry ends. The face vice is Spalted maple. The leg vise and deadman are cherry. The legs, shelf and short stretchers are ash. (Some spalted Ash and a couple pieces of Oak.) The short stretchers are attached to the legs via draw-bores. The long stretchers are made of birch and attached to the legs using 1/2” bolts, that can be removed for transport. The Top sits on the legs via blind mortise and tenons. I am very happy with the design and construction. It breaks down so that it can be moved and is rock solid when assembled.

Recommendations for the beginner.
  1. Don’t do as I did. First learn how to use all your hand tools long before having a real bench as fellow LJ Mosquito did.
  2. Don’t try to make it out of one slab as I originally tried to do, unless you really know what to look for.
  3. I think buying pre-dimensioned lumber is the way to go on this project.

Acknowledgments. There have been so many LJs who have been patiently answering my questions I am sure to miss and offend someone. So I’ll just say Thank you…. you know who you are. It has been a great learning experience.

Now I have to dust off my 55 and catch up in Mos’s class.

While building I had a dog hole/hold fast hole epiphany just as I was about start drilling lots of holes.

Wait until you need them. That way there won’t be holes everywhere

Then I found the Chris Schwarz Lost art press article on holdfast hole theory.

I thought he gave excellent reasons for these holes so I drilled 7 of them. Also when you look at the picture in Roubo’s book you will see there are not all that many holes. So my plan is to drill dog holes when and where I need them when the need arises.

Some assembly photos. (Added July 9, 2017)

Top sits on tenons, its massive weight hold it in place.

Short stretchers and legs are a single unit joined by draw bore mortice and tenon joints.

Long stretchers are attached via bolts:

Note the wide slot to accommodate the wrench and the use of the magnet to hold the nut while threading it into the bolt.

-- Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

50 comments so far

View Hammerthumb's profile


2968 posts in 2511 days

#1 posted 09-14-2015 10:10 PM

Really sharp bench there Don.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View woodbench's profile


44 posts in 2133 days

#2 posted 09-14-2015 10:17 PM

Happy birthday Don! VERY nice bench….

-- Lloyd

View terryR's profile


7546 posts in 2845 days

#3 posted 09-14-2015 10:22 PM

Outstanding work, Don! Looks solid and huge.
Happy B-Day to you!

Hmmm, your pose resembles my fav…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View theoldfart's profile


10929 posts in 2987 days

#4 posted 09-14-2015 10:40 PM

Happy birthday Don and great bench. Dog holes?

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View putty's profile


1286 posts in 2143 days

#5 posted 09-14-2015 10:50 PM

Nice Job Don! What is the length of it…Lots of work surface!

You need to go out and have a pastie to celebrate!!

-- Putty

View Mosquito's profile


9919 posts in 2828 days

#6 posted 09-14-2015 10:56 PM

Very nice! Happy Birthday!

And thanks for the shout out; I only pretend to know what I’m doing lol

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Mosquito's profile


9919 posts in 2828 days

#7 posted 09-14-2015 10:57 PM

View ToddJB's profile


8548 posts in 2667 days

#8 posted 09-14-2015 11:04 PM

Don, looks great! Awesome job, Sir. You should be proud.

The rest of the shop look good too! That lathe peaking out in your Bondo pose is one of my favorite looking lathes ever made.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Don W's profile

Don W

19365 posts in 3104 days

#9 posted 09-14-2015 11:23 PM

Great job.

Mos, are you sending Don the blue wig?

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Mosquito's profile


9919 posts in 2828 days

#10 posted 09-14-2015 11:40 PM

lol I could, I still have it :p

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View CL810's profile


3968 posts in 3524 days

#11 posted 09-15-2015 12:09 AM

Great work Don! Now mess it up with some projects

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View oltexasboy1's profile


255 posts in 2241 days

#12 posted 09-15-2015 12:38 AM

Pretty damn good for a young fellow. If you are having a problem with Grammersy holdfasts, touch them all over and wait a week . The shaft will rust or at least it does here. A dry day here is when the humidity is less than 60%. So stuff rusts a lot around here, They hold real well when they rust a little. Any way nice bench. You guys make me ashamed of my work.

-- "The pursuit of perfection often yields excellence"

View woodcox's profile


2367 posts in 2548 days

#13 posted 09-15-2015 12:50 AM

Excellent Don! Congrats with the new bench.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View Combo Prof's profile

Combo Prof

3937 posts in 1814 days

#14 posted 09-15-2015 01:04 AM

Don, looks great! Awesome job, Sir. You should be proud.

The rest of the shop look good too! That lathe peaking out in your Bondo pose is one of my favorite looking lathes ever made.

- ToddJB

I just started resurrecting this lathe. Its been sitting in my basement for 14 years. Got the motor rewire and she runs now. The Lathe axel sized up so I’ve scrubbed off the old grime and grease. Found I was missing two sets screws.
So tomorrow I’ll get those and some light machine oil. And see how it goes. I’ll post some where when I have more problems. Be sure to give me some advice. Here is a picture for you.

-- Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2022 days

#15 posted 09-15-2015 01:10 AM

Don, great lookin bench bud.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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