Roubo Workbench - Finally!

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Project by cmmyakman posted 08-22-2017 05:34 PM 4347 views 25 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve written a lot here and it is intended for the audience that plans to build a Roubo workbench.

I’ve had some big accomplishments in my life to date. Graduations, wedding, birth of children, purchase of homes, etc. But finishing this Roubo, well… it beats those other milestones hands down!

This was the biggest challenge of my woodworking life to date. I’ve seen some other Roubo Benches on Lumberjocks and the people say they spent anywhere from 80 to 120 hours. For people who finished their workbench in 120 hours they write things like, “I wanted to take my time.” Yikes! What am I besides a procrastinator? Am I both physically and mentally slow? That’s a rhetorical question by the way. I’m not sure how many hours I spent on the project, but I know it was way more than 120.

I received the Benchcrafted components in November 2015. I dabbled in starting work on the legs in February 2016. I did some serious work in July 2016 on the legs and base. I coordinate the local Cub Scouts in their pinewood derby and quite a few Cubs use my workshop, so late fall and winter is out. I really worked hard on the table from late April 2017 to mid August 2017 and now it’s finally done!

The last step, I decided to lop off a little more than an inch from each of the legs and install the adjustable height hockey pucks like Breeze73 did on his workbench ( and This adjustable height will enable the workbench to function as an out-feed for my table saw (after I build a new mobile base for the table saw).

Funny, but it wasn’t until I was approximately 70% of the way through the project that I started to have fun. Like an on/off switch, when I was 70% through, I actually had a ton of fun completing the build. I plan to have even more fun using this beast while working on a number of projects, assuming I don’t keel over in the near future. Was it all worth it? If my bench disappeared tomorrow, I’d immediately start on making another, so Yes Sirree Bob, it was worth it. Anyway, if you attempt this on your own, the chances that you will take as long as I did to complete are remote, so you can always tell yourself that, “At least I’m not as bad as that guy!”

I purchased two (2) hold fasts from asliceofwood on eBay ( When you drill a 3/4” hole and the hold fast is 3/4” thick, well the tolerances of the bit at the hold fast are tight. I worked out a solution by running the 3/4 inch bit drill through the hole, from both the top and bottom, and moving it around a little to open it up. Just “shave” a bit more than a 3/4 inch diameter hole (so you can relatively easily get the hold fast in and out) and you are golden. I had read from an online article ( that the ideal angle for a hold fast was 83 degrees. For a 3/4 in diameter hold fast and a 4 inch thick table, that’s a 1-1/4 inch diameter hole (determined that in a CAD program). Don’t believe it, as I have that size hole for the 3rd bench dog that is in the leg of my Roubo and it won’t work. Their 83 degree angle number will probably work in a 2-inch thick hole, but not a 4-inch thick hole.

I recently purchased the Benchcrafted components for the Moxon Vise. The components were delivered within a couple days, based on historical precedent, that’s really months before I need them. I’ve read somewhere that the Moxon Vise can be done in an afternoon or weekend, so hopefully mine will be finished by 2020.

- The design, quality of the materials and customer service from Benchcrafted are very good. I had a casting issue with one of the scissor components for the Leg Vise. Jameel Abraham would have sent another pronto and at no cost to me, but I was able to fix it with a grinder and some black paint. Jameel was very responsive to a couple of questions that I had posed to him via e-mail and he sent a small pin (again at no cost to me) that had somehow not been included with the tail vise package. I assume it was Jameel who thought up the criss-cross for the leg vise. The criss-cross is a huge improvment versus the old system of bending over and moving a pin in and out and I believe deserves the Nobel prize. I wish more products met the Benchcrafted standard in design and had this kind of customer service to back it up.

- I’m embarrassed to write this, but I thought the money spent on the Benchcrafted drawings was high when I bought them (only $20), I mean it’s just four pieces of paper. But as the project progressed, the drawings became worth their weight in gold, maybe platinum, so the cost in hindsight was a pittance. Just buy the drawings – you won’t regret it. They are large drawings that are nicely bound together so you won’t have them separate and later lose them somewhere in the shop.

- I learned many woodworking skills (thank you YouTube), became proficient and overcame a lot of fear that I would totally screw it up by working on this project. There were many firsts [first dovetail, large mortise & tenons, use of biscuit joiner for table top glue-ups, doing large-scale glue-ups, using the router to level the top – see The Wood Whisperer video for flattening, properly setting the jointer and planer for no snipe – (, etc.] and the lessons learned working on the Roubo will help me in my future endeavors in my woodworking hobby.

- Similar to what Lumberjock member Breeze73 wrote regarding his “New Workbench”, the instructions by Jameel are complicated and could have been written in a clearer manner (for example the gold standard – SawStop table saw assembly instructions) and I found a few errors that had me perplexed.

Things I’d do different:
- I wish I had spent the extra money for the machined version of the components versus being thrifty by purchasing the cast versions.

- I’d make a crappy bench out of 2×4’s that I could destroy and burn after this bench was built. It’s much easier if you have a work bench to use while making the Roubo work bench, rather than doing much of the work on the floor.

- I’d write down the few errors I found in the instructions and drawings so I could forward them to Jameel. Jameel keeps updating his instructions, probably because people who are better organized than I, do just that; send Jameel the errors that they come across. So make sure you are working with the latest iteration of instructions and once in a while check the Benchcrafted website to see if the instructions have been updated.

- I like what Breeze73 did with the four ends of his table top, he installed walnut caps. If I had to do it again, I’d do that as well.

- If I had to do it again, I’d probably use walnut in the bench dog section of the table top (not the bench dogs themselves) and I’d probably use walnut for the entire leg vise and dead man or replace the Padauk strips in the leg vise and dead man with walnut as three different types of wood in the bench kinda of swears at you (at least it does me).

- I was worried that I was going to run out of maple that I had purchased for the project. I should have bought more (Jameel I think recommends 15% extra, I recommend 40% extra – if in the end you have extra, you will use it anyway on something else anyway) and not have used pine for the inner layers of the 3 table legs (I used 100% hard maple for the leg vise table leg). I wish I had spent the extra time and money for hard maple (I purchased what they had of the hard and then the rest I used soft maple).

- I purchased one, late in the game, but if I had to do it over again I would have had two (2) of the “Rockwell RK9034 JawStand XP Work Support Stands” (I paid $62 from Amazon in May 2017, now they are $72). The support stand thing was great for the out feed of my jointer, band saw and table saw (you can get it precise with a straightedge and the micro height adjustment. In hindsight, the 2nd one could have fed those three tools as well in and out feed for the planer or using them to make a quick workbench surface.

- My standard 12 inch planer was fine, but I often wished that I had an 8-inch jointer versus my 6-inch jointer. That’s just a small nit pick as the 6-inch jointer proved feasible. I mention in case you are considering the purchase of a new jointer.

- I wish I both possessed and followed the advice from my woodworking friend Gordon earlier, “Just do the Roubo one step at a time and think of it as a bunch of smaller projects and it won’t seem so overwhelming. Also, if you make it too perfect you won’t want to use it and ding it up.” Great advice if you are hesitant in getting started. I thought about that advice often throughout the build and it kept me going.

Detailed Photos of Build:

Video of Finished Workbench:

-- You can't fail if you don't give up.

19 comments so far

View MindDesigns's profile


17 posts in 2180 days

#1 posted 08-22-2017 06:01 PM

Great write-up and nice bench! I’ll file your advice for when I replace my current old bench – you chose all of the same components I have on my wish list. Thanks.

View cmmyakman's profile


286 posts in 3433 days

#2 posted 08-22-2017 06:35 PM

Great write-up and nice bench! I ll file your advice for when I replace my current old bench – you chose all of the same components I have on my wish list. Thanks.

- MindDesigns

Thank you for your comment. I hope the advice will prove helpful and I wish you the best!

-- You can't fail if you don't give up.

View Breeze73's profile


102 posts in 1458 days

#3 posted 08-22-2017 06:45 PM

Beautiful bench! Great job. I’m glad the hockey pucks worked out for you too. I am so glad I decided on using them. Though, it was a bit of a pain to find a good spot to put the one under the leg vise. There is a lot going on in that small amount of volume. Again, great job!!

-- Breeze

View Breeze73's profile


102 posts in 1458 days

#4 posted 08-22-2017 06:46 PM

I also really like the look of the Padauk strips in the vise and deadman!!

-- Breeze

View BurlyBob's profile


7622 posts in 3042 days

#5 posted 08-22-2017 06:53 PM

That’s a great bench. I’m hoping to build one later this year. I’ll save for future reference. Thanks.

View cmmyakman's profile


286 posts in 3433 days

#6 posted 08-22-2017 06:54 PM

Beautiful bench! Great job. I m glad the hockey pucks worked out for you too. I am so glad I decided on using them. Though, it was a bit of a pain to find a good spot to put the one under the leg vise. There is a lot going on in that small amount of volume. Again, great job!!

- Breeze73

I thought I was done with my workbench and then I saw yours (wish mine looked as good as yours). The hockey pucks, I’m very glad I followed your advice. It makes the bench more resistant to horizontal movement and now I can raise and lower it as needed (within reason).

Take care and thanks for the positive comment re the gaudy Padauk!

-- You can't fail if you don't give up.

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1552 days

#7 posted 08-22-2017 08:28 PM

Very nice!

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

7528 posts in 4130 days

#8 posted 08-22-2017 09:43 PM

Awesome bench! Outstanding work!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View TheTurtleCarpenter's profile


1053 posts in 1843 days

#9 posted 08-22-2017 10:04 PM

Congratulations, and Enjoy your workbench. Great looking project.

-- "Tying shoelaces was way harder than learning to Whistle"

View bobasaurus's profile


3633 posts in 3961 days

#10 posted 08-22-2017 10:44 PM

Extremely nice, saving it for the future. My modified harbor freight bench looks like a turd next to your fine creation.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9561 posts in 3105 days

#11 posted 08-23-2017 12:34 PM

Great looking bench. Congrats on finishing it.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3643 days

#12 posted 08-23-2017 12:59 PM

What a beautiful workbench and so nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View cmmyakman's profile


286 posts in 3433 days

#13 posted 08-23-2017 01:12 PM

All of you are very kind, thank you for your nice comments. I finished the workbench last Thursday and as of last night it’s covered in wood, dust, scraps and tools as I’m working on the project that I promised the Mrs. would be accomplished when the workbench was complete. Yes, the Mrs. asked for this about 1-1/2 or 2 years ago and has been unbelievably patient. I was a little worried that I would treat the workbench with kid gloves, but that appears not to be a problem.

Take care,

-- You can't fail if you don't give up.

View builtinbkyn's profile


3009 posts in 1717 days

#14 posted 08-23-2017 03:34 PM

Beautiful bench and great write up. You have some very informed little helpers :)

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View Pete_LJ's profile


115 posts in 1522 days

#15 posted 08-23-2017 10:44 PM

Nice work. I hope someday to take on a similar complete build of a Roubo bench.

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