This was the first slab-top workbench I built, and I made it entirely by hand (save for one long rip when I defaulted to the band saw because I thought I might pass out).
The bench’s size was dictated by the wood that was available, which is why it’s 18-1/2” wide and less than 6’ long. You work with what you got. It’s a good bench for an apartment, but its small stature is its biggest weakness.
The other fun part about the benchtop was that the cherry had rotted a bit, and so I stabilized it with epoxy, which I tinted with black iron filings. This was in 2010, and I had no idea that epoxy and rotted slabs would ever be a thing. And then Roy Underhill, decided to take a whack at it.
If you are interested in reading about its construction, Popular Woodworking has been vacating its vaults of all the plans we built up there through the last 20 years. They’ve made it a free plan, which you can get here.
If you are going to make your own version, make the top 22” to 24” wide and a full 6’ or 7’ long. And skip that stupid door below (it wasn’t my call).
Some products shown in the video. These are not affiliate links.
- Benchcrafted Classic Vise and Crisscross.
- Sheldon quick-release vise
- Millers Falls planing stop from Patrick Leach
— Christopher Schwarz
15 thoughts on “Workbench Tour No. 4: The Cherry Roubo”
This bench was one of the main inspirations for my bench build(https://www.wakenedhands.com/blog/2019/9/18/a-means-to-an-end). I read and re-read this article and your bench building books many times.
Cherry Roubo sounds like an unscrupulous woman’s stage name. Cool looking though. ITT Chris starts the whole epoxy fad.
How did the “other” Roubo hold up over the years? The laminated yellow pine one? Any thoughts? Regrets? Updates? I’m itching for a covid project now that the courts are closed in my province for two months 🙂
Yellow pine is my favorite material for building benches. Cheap. Heavy. Easy to get. Easy to work.
My 2005 Roubo was in great shape when I sold it (I didn’t have room for it). No regrets for laminating yellow pine (three of our benches are built that way).
Its funny because I hear so much good stuff about SYP but here on the west coast its pretty much impossible to find. Its pretty much sugar pine or some other local pine which is fast growing and warps even faster. Basically doug fir is the closest option we have here.
Doug fir is great, too. After it’s dried out a bit….
There is zero yellow pine in the northeast, either. Pretty much just white pine and and spruce. I did find some Doug fir for my upstairs short bench, and it makes a great top.
This could be fixed with a short drive to Covington, Ky., in June. We could send a truckload of it back to the Northeast with you. Clear and less than $1/board foot.
I have to say it’s worth the drive. We don’t get it Canada either. A client who runs a lumber yard and owed me a FS our got me the lumber and milled it for me. It feels nothing like the spruce/pine/fir stuff we get in the North. Much heavier and much much harder. Also, I have never had a bad meal in Kentucky.
Favour. Which Siri connects to FS our. Ffs.
I used laminated 8/4 ash for mine, which is pretty much a copy of Chris’s SYP bench.
Thanks Chris. I’ve been enjoying the series. It’s like a long term use update on every style of bench you’ve ever built. I’d love to see at the end some sort of general conclusion or blog post what you would build now having tried all of these variations.
Count me among the chorus of benchbuilders that this particular bench inspired. I didn’t quite have the space or wood required by the others that you’d built, but thanks to a friend, I got my hands on enough to make a six-footer that’s 18″ deep. This one convinced me that it wouldn’t be a waste.
For what it’s worth, I’ve never had a trouble with mine being “tippy” while traversing despite its minimal depth. There are at least two possible reasons for that. First, it’s shorter–30″ because I’m not terribly tall and I seem to like that height. Second, it doesn’t lack in the weight department.
Why am I not surprised that it was Mr Underhill who broke your bench…? Wonderful and knowledgeable and enthusiastic he may be (and certainly comes across as in all his broadcast & online content), subtle and delicate and gentle, I deeply suspect, he is not! 😁😁
The bench top wood was not very sound. A bit punky/spalted in the area it broke. And it was just a bump or tightening the leg vise that broke the section off.. Just one of the memorable moments I got to witness at the old Woodworking in America shows that were once held (in Covington)
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