Shelf or Not?

When I built my Roubo bench several years back, I added the customary shelf between the stretchers. I mostly use this area for clamp storage more than tools. For whatever reason, it also tends to also attract scraps of wood, unused tools and bits of debris. About once a year I go thru the mess and clean it out.


My Moravian bench does not have a shelf, nor have I ever really missed it not having one. Today while cleaning the pile of accumulated junk from under the Roubo (again), I was thinking that maybe a shelf is more trouble than it is worth.

— Will Myers



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12 Responses to Shelf or Not?

  1. Mark Dennehy says:

    Try woodworking in an 8×6 shed. Shelves become something of a necessity 😀

  2. mazilis says:

    I would humbly suggest a set of low drawers be put on the shelf. We almost all need more storage and the drawers can be designed to serve whatever specific storage need you have. I use the drawer under my workbench for chisel storage, measuring and marking tools. Otherwise it’s up to you how, when and if you put anything on that shelf. Discipline in the new year! 🙂

  3. I have a shelf on my Roubo, and yes, it can collect a lot of crap if you aren’t careful. I use mine to store my bench hooks, shooting boards, Moxon vise, and other workbench appliances. I try to keep from putting more than that on the shelf or it gets unruly.

  4. Mark Allen says:

    I keep my bench accessories on the bench shelf. Otherwise it takes precious wall space.

  5. It’s a good place for shooting boards and other bench fixtures, but it’s an open invitation to the hoarding/messy instincts.

  6. Glenn Ingram says:

    Sounds like you need some clamp storage.

  7. Mike Schuhow says:

    SLIDE OUTS! Quick, easy access for whatever lands there when you get busy and just toss stuff.

  8. Willard Anderson says:

    I made a small breakdown Ruobo bench for demos, etc., and have a shelf but basically stuff just piles up and then falls off. More of a concept than a reality. Along those lines a tool tray seems to fall into the same category! When I first started out seriously woodworking in 1980, I used a bench with a tray and all it did was catch my boards when I tried to move them around on the surface. I made a bench in ’83 based on Tag Frid’s design and built a set of drawers in a cabinet that I could slide into the undercarriage. The drawers open from either side of the bench. That seems to work OK, but the drawers are not deep and tools get wracked up in there sometimes.

  9. bsrlee says:

    Strangely I thought the deep tray/shelf under a Roubo was to store ballast, whether unused tools, lead ingots or bags of sand. I seem to recall The Schwarz pointing out an illustration where one of the top boards had a lock, so there must have been a set of bottom boards and valuable items could be stored between the levels of boards – I might be wrong about that of course.

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