Left Handed Roubo Workbench

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Project by Douglas posted 02-08-2013 11:12 PM 16202 views 17 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I needed to replace my old “weekend workbench” badly, and I built myself a Roubo from Douglas fir and ash. I detailed the build in this 5 part blog series “YAR! Yet Another Roubo” if you want to see scads of photos.

The new bench is amazing, and I spend less time trying to figure out how to hold work down and more time working on the projects. Not to mention it is just beautiful, and I think a shop should be as nice and inspirational as possible. It is 24” deep x 7’2” wide, and about 33” tall.

Total time was about 4 to 5 full weekends. Lumber cost about $300 (the ash came from one 8/4×9” x 6’ slab for about $60), and the hardware was about $100 (two vise screws from Lee Valley, a pair of holdfasts, and some Spax lag bolts for the end caps), and a piece of leather for $12.

Here’s the bench I replaced…

The vise racked, it was too light, it was too tall (36”), too deep (30”), and too narrow (5’). I had no tail/end/wagon vise, it just couldn’t hold work worth a crap. And it was ugly!

-- Douglas in Chicago -

21 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4727 days

#1 posted 02-08-2013 11:25 PM

looks great. I’m sure you can feel the improvement much more than anyone could see from the pictures. it’s great having a proper bench that can work with you as opposed to leave you figuring things out

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

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1984 posts in 3048 days

#2 posted 02-08-2013 11:26 PM

Great looking bench. Nice Job

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View Chris Peroni's profile

Chris Peroni

101 posts in 3017 days

#3 posted 02-09-2013 12:04 AM

jealous. the work tables I have have all the problems you described with your old one.

-- Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. -Plato

View DouginVa's profile


503 posts in 3351 days

#4 posted 02-09-2013 12:48 AM

I’ve been preparing to build a Roubo myself and I’m kinda torn between using old re-purposed/salvaged wood, which I have acces to through a local salvager, or building from Doug Fir like you did. The only concern I have with Doug Fir is will the bench top will stay flat? I don’t want to have to correct for twisting or warping down the road. There aren’t enough benches made from Doug Fir out there for me to get my concerns addressed so I pose that question to you.

How is the top holding up?

-- Just a man with his chisel.........

View DouginVa's profile


503 posts in 3351 days

#5 posted 02-09-2013 12:59 AM

I just realized after posting my comments and question above I had already asked you that question while reading your blog on this project recently….so you don’t have to answer twice.

Thanks again, and very nice bench….btw.

-- Just a man with his chisel.........

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3677 days

#6 posted 02-09-2013 01:07 AM

Looks great. Must feel good to have a quality bench like that.

View BenR's profile


341 posts in 3707 days

#7 posted 02-09-2013 03:00 AM

Very nice roubo. I am thinking of making one in Douglas fir also. Where did you get the leather? I have looked on line and couldn’t find anything acceptable or in small enough quanities (don’t need a box full). Enjoy your bench, and I agree with you that a shop should be nice since we spend alot of time there.

-- Ben in Va

View tyvekboy's profile


2112 posts in 4091 days

#8 posted 02-09-2013 03:54 AM

Very nice build. Iʻm sure you will like it as much as I like my workbench.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View mbs's profile


1687 posts in 4018 days

#9 posted 02-09-2013 04:00 AM

Beautiful bench.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 3638 days

#10 posted 02-09-2013 04:19 AM

Thanks for the kind words everyone!

DouginVA – I thought that question looked familiar :-) . It’s been a month, and its still flat. I think it’s fine material, you should stop worrying about it and build one.

Nikki – I had a hard time tracking down leather too. The local craft/fabric stores just had scrap bags of random pieces that weren’t larger than 6” x 6”. Eventually I tracked down an online place that sold me an 18” sq piece for about $12 w/shipping.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View Rafe Demers's profile

Rafe Demers

71 posts in 3063 days

#11 posted 02-09-2013 12:45 PM

Amazing job on the bench! Certainly an inspiration for me to stop procrastinating and build a proper bench.

-- Rafe Demers

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17314 posts in 3697 days

#12 posted 02-09-2013 01:21 PM

DC, that is indeed a beautiful bench. I can relate to the ‘spend more time working vs. figuring out work holding;’ it’s amazing what you put up with, not knowing what a real bench can do.

RE: a flat bench. I’d suggest perfectly flat on a benchtop is about as necessary as perfectly flat sole and sides on a jack plane. It’s focus that is misplaced. And anything 3” thick or more isn’t going to suffer sag, even if it’s doug fir. At least not in our lifetime.

My .02.

Not said to offend anyone’s personal philosophy, but offered to encourage anyone thinking about building a bench but is hesitant for any of the reasons above.

EDIT: For leather, I grabbed a cushion from a green leather sofa that was put at the curb for trash pickup. It’s the source for all my leather needs, and was $0. So if that’s ever a possibility for you…

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

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4669 days

#13 posted 02-09-2013 02:20 PM

Really very nice bench – I’m sure you have had lot of fun building it, and now enjoy using it!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Willeh's profile


228 posts in 3418 days

#14 posted 02-09-2013 02:41 PM

That’s a beautiful build! Enjoy that bench, I sure would if it was in my shop!

-- Will, Ontario Canada. "I can do fast, cheap and good, but you can only pick two... "

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4155 days

#15 posted 02-09-2013 11:03 PM


-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

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