My Oak Roubo Bench Build

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Project by Jeepin85CJ7 posted 04-26-2019 06:47 PM 5642 views 3 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First off, I know everyone is building this type of Bench – but now that I have it, I completely understand why. This was such a blast to build – although it took me just about 3 months on nights and weekends. I worked on this for as much time each week that was allowable – i had to make my presence known in the house , or the misses would have not been happy, and I finished this just before Christmas 2018.

So about the bench, I have been planning this bench since about early 2015. I started in late 2015 milling lumber for this bench all 2” + thick slabs of Red and Black Oak. The reason that I was able to afford the Benchcrafted is that my only lumber cost of $150 for the Walnut Leg Vise and Deadman. At the time I didn’t have any 12/4 thick Walnut. The oak turned out beautiful, I did have to epoxy a few knot holes here and there but after much heavy lifting, I made it. Don’t under estimate how heave this bench was. I initially started the top glue up on one pair of Sawhorses and switched them out because I didn’t trust them with the weight.

The Dimensions of this bench are 25” Wide, 34” tall and 7’ long. In my shop, I didn’t have room to go longer, I would like to have gone a few inches Wider, but I Followed Chris Shwarz plan by the book. I had been collecting large and small Bessey clams for the project for years and I finally found my magic number 10 24” clams and 10 50” clamps. I had just enough to finish the bench without any limitations. If I could remember this, I think a neat thing to do would be to list the tools that didn’t survive the build.

The Oak lumber air dried in my back lumber storage area for about 3 solid years – 1 year it was stickered outside and the other two it was stickered inside. The shear weight of this project made me adjust the way I milled the lumber. I don’t have a jointer, but I ended up with a pretty flat slab when it was all finally glued up. There is a small 1/32” dip in the middle. but for now its nothing that I need to worry about.

As for the build itself, the hardest part was the front rail that is supposed to be dovetailed into the bench. I tried one time and the dovetails looked way to ugly to stare at for the rest of my life. I did end up just scrapping the dovetails – It was the lesser of two evils. I had enough length on the board to try one more time, but I could not think of a way to do it differently and just lagged the endcap into the front rail. The Benchcrafted Vises are remarkable – I cannot speak highly enough of them and the customer service. I reach out as I either misplaced or lost a small bolt and they had it sent to me free of charge in a few days.

The agility that is added to my work with theses vises – especially the Legvise is superb. I am mainly a powertool users and normally complement my work with handplanes, and this takes using power tools to the next level. I dovetail a complete Hopechest with this and was surprised how flawless the process went.

I know that a lot of people may be sick of seeing theses benches online, but when I am in the shop this bench is just a masterpieces, to me. I have a million pictures of the various processes, but if you are considering building this bench, start now – you won’t regret it for one second. The only part I have left is the bottom shelf, which I plan on completing shortly. I just wanted to use the bench first, the shelf can wait a little bit. Just for a laugh, I have included a before picture of the bench – it was a few of the logs utilized for this build.

16 comments so far

View ralbuck's profile


6807 posts in 3728 days

#1 posted 04-26-2019 06:59 PM

A very nice shop bench that should last for generations!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View pottz's profile


25884 posts in 2446 days

#2 posted 04-26-2019 07:49 PM

thats about as rock solid as they get,should well out live you and your grandkids! nice job.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View htl's profile


5624 posts in 2621 days

#3 posted 04-26-2019 08:12 PM

That’s one heavy duty, beautiful bench you got going there. Nice!!!

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View dannmarks's profile


1040 posts in 2043 days

#4 posted 04-27-2019 07:37 AM

Not sick at all of these benches. Not at all… I have too much stuff in my shop. But would love a better bench.

View Zonker's profile


158 posts in 1313 days

#5 posted 04-27-2019 01:08 PM

Looks good. I think I bought quite a pile of clamps building my bench, but they’ve all come in handy since.

-- Larry A. - I've made a small fortune with my woodworking. The trouble is, I started with a large fortune.

View 55woodbutcher's profile


97 posts in 1288 days

#6 posted 04-27-2019 03:19 PM

I never get tired of the workbenches- the ideas, the dedication to build them, the workmanship, the stories. And yours is a nice job!

View BurlyBob's profile


10518 posts in 3727 days

#7 posted 04-27-2019 11:15 PM

I am so jealous. I want a really fine bench like yours. It’s wonderful.

View TEK73's profile


384 posts in 1169 days

#8 posted 04-28-2019 05:25 AM

Great bench!
I very impressed that you went from ypur own whole timber to a finished bench – that is an impressive task!

I hope that it will become a heirloom to be passed down in generations to come!

Just curious, could you explain a bit about:
- the prosess if going from the trees in your picture to the wood/planks used for the bench?
- how did you attach everything, both the strechers to the legs as well as the undercarage to the top? What kind of joinery did you use?

-- It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. - Ursula K. LeGuin

View Fchilly's profile


50 posts in 1943 days

#9 posted 04-28-2019 05:47 AM

Very nice! You did a great job on this bench!

-- Fchilly

View Ken90712's profile


18113 posts in 4650 days

#10 posted 04-29-2019 09:06 AM

Great work! I look fwd to finally having room and building one as well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View AJ1104's profile


1547 posts in 3121 days

#11 posted 04-29-2019 11:26 AM

Great looking bench! I have had this on my list for a few years and after reading your comments, I am going to get serious into building one. Fabulous job, enjoy using it!

-- AJ

View edapp's profile


347 posts in 2891 days

#12 posted 04-29-2019 11:58 AM

Great looking bench! Just started my build a few weeks ago. Looking forward to wrapping it up and being able to use it!

I have been going back and forth on the dovetails too…. Thinking right now I might just lag them, but I have enough material to try once and scrap it if necessary.

View Jeepin85CJ7's profile


83 posts in 2898 days

#13 posted 04-29-2019 05:05 PM

Thank you all for looking at the project – this was a one of a kind build and I really enjoy it every day i go out to the shop. I would highly recommend taking the huge chunk of time out and splurging – its well worth it. It just makes life so much easier when I am in the shop.

As for how I took the Logs to lumber – I have a few chainsaws and an Alaskan Mill. I milled all the Red & Black Oak to a little over 2 1/2 inches and let it air dry outside for a little over a year. After that i took all of the slabs and put them in a lumber shed I build a while back, strapped them down so they wouldn’t cup too much and waited until i was ready to start the project – 3 years later – almost 4.

All of the joints are mortise and tenon and drawbored – and they are strong – this was my first time using the drawboring method but it was quite impressive. This thing should never fall apart now!

Thanks for looking everyone and those building your benches now – good luck!

View dannmarks's profile


1040 posts in 2043 days

#14 posted 05-07-2019 01:58 AM

Still so very cool.

View BigPoppa502's profile


6 posts in 2313 days

#15 posted 02-14-2021 05:44 PM

Jeepin85CJ7 – This build is awesome! I have 6” slabs of red oak stickered and drying now for just this sort of build. I have to say seeing your post is inspiring and makes me want to go start today – only waiting for wood to dry is very boring. Would you say your wood has moved a lot since construction? I know it’s recommended to wait a year per inch of thickness. Just wondering if this is a solid hard and fast rule for something this big.
Anyway – Thanks for sharing!


-- - Joshua

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