Roubo/French Workbench

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Project by Brandon posted 01-13-2012 09:55 PM 19658 views 42 times favorited 49 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a labor of love and a great source of enjoyment. I won’t go into too much detail on the construction of the bench because I recently started a blog series on the topic. This post will be more of the show and less of the tell.

I found Christopher Schwarz’ blue (2007) workbench book very helpful for both the theoretical and detailed plans on the Roubo bench. The width is 26” and length is 65” (including the tail vise chop), and 33 3/4 tall. Constructed out of European steamed beech for the top, legs, and tail vise, red oak for the stretchers, red and white oak for the shelf, jatoba for the sliding deadman, and mystery wood for the leg vise. The hardware for the vises are from Lee Valley (couldn’t afford Benchcrafted). Finished with boiled linseed oil.

Here are some more photos.

Pre finish:

Top sans dogholes:

Parallel guide for the leg vise with oak dowel and turned handle:

Leg vise:

Sliding deadman (jatoba):

Jorgensen holdfasts (not permenant!)

Dog holes in line with tail vise:

Through-tenon joinery:


Close-up of the beech grain:

Comments and questions are welcomed!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

49 comments so far

View Tyler's profile


174 posts in 4155 days

#1 posted 01-13-2012 09:58 PM

Wow, looks great. You built that in a couple of days, right? Just kidding, look forward to the rest of the blog.

View Brandon's profile


4382 posts in 4414 days

#2 posted 01-13-2012 10:02 PM

Haha, yeah it was a short weekend project. :-)

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View a1Jim's profile


118321 posts in 5039 days

#3 posted 01-13-2012 10:03 PM

Wow that’s one fantastic bench with many super details. Nice photo lay out too.


View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 4108 days

#4 posted 01-13-2012 10:13 PM


-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 5038 days

#5 posted 01-13-2012 10:14 PM

Wow, really nice work Brandon !
That bench is a beauty!
Think of all the cool projects that will come off of that baby!

Sign & date it somewhere so your family three generations from now can know great, great Grandpa Brandon made this !

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 4061 days

#6 posted 01-13-2012 10:25 PM

That is what I am talking about!

It looks great Brandon, the craftsmanship with the tenons is done really well. Should serve you well for quite some time. You may even inspire me to undertake a new one. Thanks for posting.

View ItIsRocketScience's profile


22 posts in 3788 days

#7 posted 01-13-2012 10:26 PM

Excellent work Brandon. I’m drawing up my own plans for a modified Roubo and will use yours to provide a little more inspiration! Lumber selection is on Sunday, hopefully I can have it finished by Easter!

I’m also a little interested in your height selection – 33 3/4” tall. Are you a really tall individual or was there some other consideration to the height? Schwartz’s book talks a great deal about the height, but the conclusion always seems to be “whatever works for you and what you do!” I was planning on mine to be around 31”, but I’m just over 5’9”.

-- "Down in the arena are the doers. They make many mistakes because they attempt many things. The man who makes no mistakes lacks boldness and a spirit of adventure." -- Gen. David M. Shoup

View lysdexic's profile


5353 posts in 4085 days

#8 posted 01-13-2012 10:40 PM

Absolutely perfect!

How long did it take you?

If I remember correctly – the top is not glued to the leg tenons? Can you pop the top off?

Did you consider doing the double tenon with the sliding dovetail for the legs?

Jatoba is an interested choice for the sliding deadman.

Is the mystery wood for the leg vise a mystery for you as well or this more theatrics for a later blog?

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - nobodhi_here

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

20389 posts in 4030 days

#9 posted 01-13-2012 11:01 PM

its to perfect. It needs some hammer marks in the top. Great job. You will enjoy that for a long time. I like the through tenons for the legs, it adds a touch of class. I would need to find a new place for the bench hooks. I’d constantly hit my leg on them. The leg vise looks great. It just reminds me i need to build one.

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

View JStew's profile


21 posts in 3796 days

#10 posted 01-13-2012 11:14 PM

Wow, that is a really nice workbench! Great job. I really like the tenon joints for the legs.

-- Josh, San Diego

View cwdance1's profile


1164 posts in 4721 days

#11 posted 01-13-2012 11:18 PM

You can store it at my work shop if you need the room. Haha

What a great looking bench.

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 4100 days

#12 posted 01-13-2012 11:22 PM

When can I expect delivery?

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View AnthonyReed's profile


10196 posts in 3902 days

#13 posted 01-13-2012 11:28 PM

That is beautiful Brandon. Top notch! Congratulations.

-- ~Tony

View smitty22's profile


718 posts in 4409 days

#14 posted 01-13-2012 11:44 PM

Lovely, just plain lovely! I too have ‘the book’, and although the typeface is hard to read for my old eyes, it’s a wonderful source of info and must have been the inspiration for hundreds of the Roubo bench.

thanks for posting, will look for blog.

-- Smitty

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 4117 days

#15 posted 01-14-2012 12:04 AM

That is a really nice looking bench. Have you had a chance to figure out about how much it weighs? That much oak can’t be light.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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