Split Top Hybrid Roubo

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Project by nurvreck posted 01-01-2013 04:56 AM 7089 views 19 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Back Story
About a year ago I got into the hand tool thing. For me it was more of a personal choice so I posted all my power tools on craigslist and sold everything! I didn’t really have a grasp on the methods and techniques but with the help of sources like The Hand Tool School, online magazines, and other contributors on the internet, my transition was pretty smooth. Also during that time, I moved from FL to NC so other than a few boxes of tools, I had nothing, including a bench. I was using an unfinished miter saw stand as a temp bench but left it when we moved. This was the perfect time to build a bench for myself. I found and purchased the Hybrid Roubo Workbench plans from FineWoodworking.

The Materials
Now I didn’t exactly have the money for a high quality wood so I decided I would use 2×6 material from the local big box store and laminated everything. In total I believe I used 28 boards. I do still have some cut off pieces but with a little better planning, I may have been able to get it to 25 or so boards. There are also some 1x material that is S4S from the big box store that I didn’t want to thickness down to 3/4” from 2x board.

The Plans Modification
Well I got through building the first leg when I decided that this was a bit much for me. The plans called for 5×5 legs and after one look, I knew that me being a hobbiest that size of a bench (91-1/2” x 26” x 36”) was just too big. So I took to SketchUp and modified the plans. I scaled down the size to 61-1/2” x 24” x 32”, swapped a leg vise in place of the face vise, a wagon vise in place of a tail vise, added a shelf, and made it a split top. The chisel holder on the end was actually to cover up a mistake in measuring.

The Features
First and foremost, this bench was built 100% with hand tools. Not a single power tool ever touched it. There are three types of tenons; pegged tenons on the upper base frame, wedged double tenons on the lower base frame, and a dovetailed through-tenon, with an angled haunch and wedge for the stretchers. It has a 3” thick top, shop made bench dogs (I may buy some at a later time), a planing stop, sliding deadman, a sturdy shelf and of course a leg and wagon vise (which are both from Lie-Nielsen). The only metal hardware are on the chisel holder, vises, and to secure the top to the base. Right now there is no finish on it and I don’t intend on putting any on at this point. The center piece, when flipped and used as a batten, extends 3/8” above the bench.

The Summary
I love this bench. I’ve learned so much in building with hand tools. By no means is it perfect or close to it and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s flat, sturdy, and can hold a board for face, edge and end planing. It doesn’t weigh 400+ lbs but it also doesn’t move while I am planing. It does dent easier than harder woods but it’s not a piece of furniture so I don’t care. I look forward to the many years of use to come.

I also blogged almost the entire build of this bench on my personal blog with tons more info and pictures if anyone was interested. Thanks for looking and all comments and critiques are welcome!

-- Dan, SSgt/USMC, Yuma, AZ

17 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5027 days

#1 posted 01-01-2013 05:33 AM

Cool bench Dan,great job.


View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4307 days

#2 posted 01-01-2013 12:23 PM

Dan that is one sweet bench
Hope 2013 gives it plenty of use

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View dustyal's profile


1322 posts in 4926 days

#3 posted 01-01-2013 02:12 PM

well done. I like the idea that you made it by hand from less expensive wood. It is a bench. You built it to be used. Great. Enjoy, as I am sure you will.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile (online now)

woodshaver Tony C

8633 posts in 4803 days

#4 posted 01-01-2013 02:17 PM

Nice job on that bench! I bet it will be a real pleasure to do your work on it.

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

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17816 posts in 4069 days

#5 posted 01-01-2013 02:54 PM

Wow, Dan, very nice bench!

Congrats on the migration to hand tools. Selling all electric tools is a huge step… More than I could do for sure. But obviously do-able. I’m off to check out your blog now. Enjoy your new work companion!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 4014 days

#6 posted 01-01-2013 03:56 PM

nice bench. i really like the chisel rack on it too

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Andy Panko's profile

Andy Panko

90 posts in 3772 days

#7 posted 01-01-2013 04:33 PM

Awesome build, especially considering you used NO power tools. I can’t imagine how much muscle went into that, since there wasn’t a power planer involved… Impressive!

-- Andy Panko, Edison NJ,

View nurvreck's profile


80 posts in 4321 days

#8 posted 01-01-2013 05:07 PM

Thanks for the kind words gents!

@AL – At first I did want to use a wood like maple but the more I thought about the more I steered away from that I idea. The fact that it would be my first bench, made by hand, and I had no bench to build it on so I would be working on the floor, the better it sounded to use a cheap soft wood. Plus I figured I’d mess up and better to do it with some 2×6’s than 8/4 maple. I figured I’d take focus away from the materials and aim it more on design.

@Andy – As I stated above, my journey began on the floor. My knees took the initial beating. What was more tiring than the planing was all the ripping all the pieces to width!

-- Dan, SSgt/USMC, Yuma, AZ

View Gerry's profile


264 posts in 4691 days

#9 posted 01-01-2013 05:29 PM

Great Bench! Your adaptation of the plan to your needs goes to mastering the craft, and your use of the oops as a feature is clarity of thought!

I have a modified table that I use as a bench, and do plan on building one. Although I will use hard maple as the wood, your build gives me encouragement to go for it. The fact that you built it with hand tools only is a testament to the craft. Nicely done!

-- -Gerry, Hereford, AZ ” A really good woodworker knows how the hide his / her mistakes.”

View Kyle's profile


112 posts in 4094 days

#10 posted 01-01-2013 05:38 PM

Looks solid. Nice job.

-- Kyle

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1126 posts in 4624 days

#11 posted 01-01-2013 07:03 PM

Great looking bench.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View PurpLev's profile


8654 posts in 5099 days

#12 posted 01-01-2013 09:45 PM

nice looking bench. very good skills exercise.

so the plan called for a 92” workbench? WOW…. good idea on scaling it down a bit.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4566 days

#13 posted 01-01-2013 11:16 PM

very nice bench this will serve you well :-)
now for the apliences like benchhooks ,shootingboards ,easelears ,..etc :-)
two sawbenches and two sawhorses and you pretty much are fit for any job
on the honey to do list

nice saved with the design change :-)

take care

View eagleknight's profile


20 posts in 3773 days

#14 posted 01-02-2013 01:52 AM

Nice bench. I like the chisel holder on the end.

-- Matthew Sherman -

View Ted78's profile


415 posts in 3450 days

#15 posted 01-02-2013 02:22 AM

All with hand tools. Wow! crosscutting, planing, boring, mortising by hand are one thing, but dimensioning all the lumber by hand, especially all that ripping is impressive.

-- Ted

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