Roubo Workbench: By Hand & Power

14-oiled_img_4159

The massive French workbench we sold yesterday here on the blog is the subject of an upcoming video on building traditional slab workbenches. Woodworker Will Myers and I built the bench in only three days. And even though we both work on our feet all day, we are both whipped.

The video takes a different tactic than other presentations. Will and I show various ways to tackle each joint in the bench, from 100 percent hand tool to 100 percent power tool and the techniques between those extremes.

As Will and I have built a ton of workbenches (actually more like 132 tons), we also call out what we think are the best techniques for each joint. Some of our conclusions might surprise you, even if you’ve followed both of us for a while.

We also dive deep into strategies for working with wet slabs. This slab was cut only 12 months ago.

The workbench video will be sold streaming on our site and will be available for international customers. It also will include drawings, cutting lists and a list of supplies. I’m guessing it will be available in about seven weeks or so. No work on pricing yet I’m afraid.

We shot the video at the Popular Woodworking Magazine studio with a crew of three seasoned video and sound engineers. I have been 100-percent thrilled with F+W’s work on videos in the past, and so it was an obvious choice to hire them to shoot our video. So expect a lot of great close-up camera work and excellent sound.

In the meantime, enjoy the photos I took of the construction progress. I swear I did 50 percent of the work on the workbench; I was the guy who brought a camera to the shoot.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
This entry was posted in Workbenches. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Roubo Workbench: By Hand & Power

  1. jdcook72 says:

    Streaming, meaning I will have to be “connected” to watch it or will I be able to download the file to watch at any time?

    • You will be able to download the file to any device with no file security.

    • Mark Baker says:

      If you didn’t realize how good you have it there in your great shop , think about trying to get anything useful done when you #1 don’t own , but rent , #2 were the breadwinner for decades , #3 are now disabled and some days your can’t even get out of bed but just read about what you used to do , #4 your SSDI check is the only measure of our months total income and it only covers your rent + $9.00 . This is my lot in life now , but about 6 years ago , earning $40 + an hour in the 2 unions I was in[ local 745 & 655[40+ years] , now what SSDI gives me for the month back then I earned in about 2 days and that with benefits that took good care of the families needs . Be very happy to hear that hand plane sing as it slices across that nice creation your making in your wonderful home shop ! I’m not at all embittered to have survived my accident and months of coma . Just to awake each morning , Is a Blessing !! To have the gift of a fit body , have you ever thought of how easy and quick something can come out of the blue and change things ? Blind-sided , it happens ! As quick as you can snap your fingers , now you open your eyes to a new world . Everything is now full of months of pain and recovery . Each simple thing that you never thought about , movement , a breath of air , the freedom of walking , any and all plus now add your ‘new’ unwelcome neighbor and friend [or fiend] Pain ! Na, I don’t wish to make your shop time less enjoyable but chariest your health ! Chariest your family ,your loved ones. Even your clear thoughts , because in a moment , a blink of an eye , EVERYTHING is now tugged from under you !
      Maybe this is not where I should jot these things down for you all to read ,but if that is so , I’m sorry . For the first few weeks after coming to I didn’t even know where I was ,when, Like what day month, year even it was , How is my family ,the kids, the business , the work . How’s this being paid for ? How about this , I couldn’t even write my own name for 6 months or take a deep cleansing breath when I woke up each morning as I always did[ it just hurt so bad to] until things healed a bit 9 months down the road . Now the facts of how much changed is slowly warring down on me . But I am very happy ,really, cause I find you all working out the same issues I dealt with on countless sites and jobs . We all plan to be able to finish what we started . We all hope to see our kids and grandkids . But life can be snuffed out and who will your loved ones be able to turn to ? The same One who gave you your freedom to live , Our Father in Heaven , he has a real first name ,it recorded over 7000 times in it 1st writings : Jehovah . It doesn’t take waking up from a coma to count your blessings , so give your wife and loved ones what they need today , tomorrow , and most importantly that next breath …..Thank God your alive !

  2. fedster9 says:

    I was wondering whether you have a tail vise (my curiosity is piqued by the fact I don’t se a picture of one). Assuming you do, which one did you install?

  3. johnjoiner says:

    Looks good. What size are the pegs on the mortise and tenons?

  4. I might get it just to learn how to use a power planer. I’ve never seen instruction on its use anywhere.

  5. Mark Baker says:

    If you didn’t realize how good you have it there in your great shop , think about trying to get anything useful done when you #1 don’t own , but rent , #2 were the breadwinner for decades , #3 are now disabled and some days your can’t even get out of bed but just read about what you used to do , #4 your SSDI check is the only measure of our months total income and it only covers your rent + $9.00 . This is my lot in life now , but about 6 years ago , earning $40 + an hour in the 2 unions I was in[ local 745 & 655[40+ years] , now what SSDI gives me for the month back then I earned in about 2 days and that with benefits that took good care of the families needs . Be very happy to hear that hand plane sing as it slices across that nice creation your making in your wonderful home shop ! I’m not at all embittered to have survived my accident and months of coma . Just to awake each morning , Is a Blessing !! To have the gift of a fit body , have you ever thought of how easy and quick something can come out of the blue and change things ? Blind-sided , it happens ! As quick as you can snap your fingers , now you open your eyes to a new world . Everything is now full of months of pain and recovery . Each simple thing that you never thought about , movement , a breath of air , the freedom of walking , any and all plus now add your ‘new’ unwelcome neighbor and friend [or fiend] Pain ! Na, I don’t wish to make your shop time less enjoyable but chariest your health ! Chariest your family ,your loved ones. Even your clear thoughts , because in a moment , a blink of an eye , EVERYTHING is now tugged from under you !
    Maybe this is not where I should jot these things down for you all to read ,but if that is so , I’m sorry . For the first few weeks after coming to I didn’t even know where I was ,when, Like what day month, year even it was , How is my family ,the kids, the business , the work . How’s this being paid for ? How about this , I couldn’t even write my own name for 6 months or take a deep cleansing breath when I woke up each morning as I always did[ it just hurt so bad to] until things healed a bit 9 months down the road . Now the facts of how much changed is slowly warring down on me . But I am very happy ,really, cause I find you all working out the same issues I dealt with on countless sites and jobs . We all plan to be able to finish what we started . We all hope to see our kids and grandkids . But life can be snuffed out and who will your loved ones be able to turn to ? The same One who gave you your freedom to live , Our Father in Heaven , he has a real first name ,it recorded over 7000 times in it 1st writings : Jehovah . It doesn’t take waking up from a coma to count your blessings , so give your wife and loved ones what they need today , tomorrow , and most importantly that next breath …..Thank God your alive !

    • laterthanuthink says:

      I’ll keep you in my prayers. I understand what you’re saying. I’ve only been to the edge, where you have gone further, but every day I wake up and say to myself “It’s going to be a great day, my back doesn’t hurt!”. I hope you will pray for me too.

  6. Tim Bridge says:

    Chris,

    Will you make a post to this blog when the video is available? If not, is there any way I can sign up somewhere for an alert or notification for when that happens? I’m about to buy lumber for my Split Top Roubo build and let it acclimate to my shop for the next 4-5 months.

    While you’re here, I was wondering if you could answer a few questions?

    1. I do most of my woodworking in the non-winter months but I plan to start the lumber acclimation in Winter and begin working in Spring. Does acclimating in Winter for a project that’ll be used mostly in non-Winter make sense? Or is it counter-productive/futile?

    2. I see you have an electric handheld planer in this post’s photos. Do you recommend an electric handheld planer for workbench construction? Or is it’s usage in this build more due to the speed requirements of said build and anything that you used it for can be done with a non-electric bench plane, time permitting.

    3. I’ve seen Roubo tops ranging from 3″-5″ thick. I have the opportunity to get 4″x10″ slabs of Douglas Fir from my local lumberyard (I would prefer Maple but, considering local availability and $$$, doug fir works just great for me) and I’ve love to use 3-1/2 of them to build my top. Other than the extra rigidity and “solidness” that the extra weight from a thicker top provides, am I sacrificing anything crucial by going with a 4″ (more likely, something like 3-1/2″ to 3-3/4″ after flattening) top?

    Thanks,

    Tim Bridge

    • Tim,

      We will definitely post updates on this project as it progresses. On your questions:

      1. If you store your wood indoors then it doesn’t matter what season you begin the seasoning. When you store it outdoors, the relative humidity comes into play. I definitely recommend you move your wood indoors to season.

      2. The electric planer belongs to Will. It is a good option for dealing with slabs that are rough or really twisted. You can use a jack plane for all the dimensioning if you have the time and strength. But the electric plane can speed things up.

      3. I prefer thick tops in all cases. But 3-1/2″ thick is just fine.

      • Tim Bridge says:

        Thanks, Chris. You’re the best.

        • Tim Bridge says:

          I failed to mention that my shop is my un-insulated garage… It’s not outside but it’s not inside, either. From your answer, I suspect it’s still a good idea to keep it in the garage to acclimate and I will do that. I just wanted to add for the sake of anyone else who might read these comments that for me: shop = un-insulated garage.

          Thanks again!

  7. Sweet looking bench! I am the middle of a bench build myself. I am using the BC Crisscross Solo hardware and Classic Leg Vise. I am embarrassed to say that what took you two gentleman three days has taken me 10 months and I am still not done yet. I work really slow but I have two toddlers who keep me pretty busy when I am home. old. They keep me pretty busy. Most of my work is done after 8:30 at night.

    Did you use a drill press to drill the holes for the vise screw and the acetal bushing?

    Thank you for sharing, looking forward to the video!

  8. I assume you’ll be filling the cracks with black epoxy?

    (Sorry… long memories are terrible sometimes.)

    • No, but we definitely discuss it.

      The epoxy on that cherry-top Roubo was used mostly to replace rotted sections. But I did use it (unnecessarily) to fill in checks to improve its appearance. I’m unashamed to say I’ve learned a few things since then.

Comments are closed.