"21st century meets Roubo" workbench

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Project by BOBAH posted 09-09-2020 06:06 PM 1243 views 6 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is my quarantine project – cross between classic Roubo split top frame and the top inspired by 21st century workbench project. The frame is very similar to what Christopher Schwartz talks about in his book Anarchist's Workbench – however, I used mortise and tenon throughout, so frame dimensions could be changed later if needed, without having to rebuild everything.

To accomodate for bolts and mobility option, I have moved the bottom rails to the lowest possible position, and placed wheels there. My shop is a two-car garage with very uneven floor right where the workbench goes, so I have added stands with adjustable height – when wheels are in raised position, the workbench lands on them and is rock solid, no movement, while serving as perfect outfeed table for my table saw:

The bottom shelf is made of laminated reclaimed cedar planks, shiplap jointed, just laying freely.

It supports tool box with drawers that has enough room for most of my power and hand tools, very heavy.

On the far side of the toolbox I have added shelf to semi-permanently store my most frequently used power tools – routers, orbital sander, battery charger. Always powered, always within arm’s reach:

The top is laminated with 3” planks and consists of two sections attached to the bottom with mortise and tenon joinery to prevent lateral movement, and screwed to the frame with lag bolts:

It was flatened with router, and didn’t take any further treatment other than one coat of Danish oil for protection – while flat, the surface is as rough as it gets so parts won’t slip during work:

The gap between top sections is filled with three independent tool trays. Those that can be flipped over to provide level uninterrupted 60”x42” space. If needed, they can be completely removed, to use the far edge of the top to clamp larger panels. Removing the right tray also helps avoid miter gauge or cross cutting sled bar hitting the bench top when used in table saw – I don’t want to route slot for it:

My work holding options – Rockler’s wide end wise that can be used as tail wise, front wise and shoulder wise – plenty of strength and capacity So far so good, I have drilled one row of benchdog holes and planning to ,eventually add another row of holes for holding wide panels:

Two holdfasts from Amazon are on their way to my house.

Materials – red oak (the cheapest hardwood option available in April, when I started) for frame, tool trays and top; reclaimed cedar boards for bottom shelf; birch and birch plywood for tool box; mahogany for the end vise jaws.

Finish – wipe-on poly on frame and tool box, Watco Danish oil for top and trays.

10 comments so far

View trsnider's profile


236 posts in 2923 days

#1 posted 09-09-2020 10:07 PM

looks nice. images in your post aren’t showing up

View John's profile


32 posts in 4304 days

#2 posted 09-10-2020 12:08 AM

What a beast! Nicely done. How do you like the width?

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

950 posts in 2205 days

#3 posted 09-10-2020 12:37 AM

Great job. The wood is to nice to work on but that will change over time I’m sure.
Don’t you miss a place where you feet can slide under and closer to the work surface?

-- James E McIntyre

View Peteybadboy's profile


2460 posts in 2863 days

#4 posted 09-10-2020 10:31 AM


-- Petey

View Newbie17's profile


59 posts in 1374 days

#5 posted 09-10-2020 02:38 PM

Very nice.

View BOBAH's profile


139 posts in 2256 days

#6 posted 09-11-2020 10:08 AM

Thank you @trsnider, fixed links. Rookie mistake :-)

View BOBAH's profile


139 posts in 2256 days

#7 posted 09-11-2020 10:12 AM

@John, so far so good. I used wide workbench before – it is great to have that much real estate for tools, extra material, plans etc. The only problem I experienced so far is accessing project from the back when assembling heavy piece (wine racks). My solution – use separate narrow mobile assembly table when needed.

View BOBAH's profile


139 posts in 2256 days

#8 posted 09-11-2020 10:14 AM

@James, not yet, will see :-) For me, most of the work is done behind end vise, and I have plenty of room for my legs there.

View swirt's profile


5645 posts in 3885 days

#9 posted 09-11-2020 03:16 PM

Very impressed… and a bit jealous. Nice work.

-- Galootish log blog,

View gsimon's profile


1320 posts in 3026 days

#10 posted 09-13-2020 12:11 PM

This bench is fantastic – great work and i know you’ll enjoy this for years

-- Greg Simon

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