Roubo bench


Hi,
First of all, greetings, I'm new to this discussion group, and a beginning woodworker in VT, lucky enough to be getting some help from a more experienced friend here.
I'm planning to build a bench and am drawn to the Roubo-style bench that was featured in Woodworking Magazine last fall.
I wonder whether any of you have built one of these and have advice or tips to offer.
My specific questions are: 1. Where did you get the hardware for the leg vise? 2. Has anyone built a shorter version? (6'? 7'?) 3. Has anyone tried making one with a different wood choice. The magazine article used southern yellow pine for the top, legs, and stretchers and ash for the crochet, vise, and plane stop. I'm considering choosing different (local) woods and wonder what you would recommend, and how it might affect the choice of thickness for the top.
Any other advice greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, Andy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Do you have Scott Landis' "The Workbench Book"? Because, it's in there! I havn't made that bench, making one of my own design. You would have to go to a blacksmith for some hardware, like extra large hold-downs, have them made out of spring steel, not iron.
Maybe as well the adjusting hardware for the lower end of the leg vise, but in the book that "assemblage" is made of wood. The screw for that can be the *tail vise screw* from Lee Valley, it is 1-1/8" thick, and that whole vise is completely removeable so the giant hold-down can be used in the same leg.
As far as wood, you can use any nominally hard wood, like 'hard rock sugar maple', euro steamed beech, birch, white oak, SYP if available (I would avoid white ash and red oak because of the open grain structure, and softness) all would be my acceptable choices.
As massive slabs are very hard to find, I would laminate commonly sized 8/4 - 12/4 stock into a 4" - 5" thick top, cutting in the dog holes first with a hand saw, like a Ryoba and chisel. Simply into the standing sides of the boards.
And, you couldn't stop me from using at least five 1-1/2" thick allthread rods from front to back, outside holes countersunk for the nuts. That means each board would have to be drilled during the process of cutting the dog holes, your choice how you do it.
And for laminating, you would need many 3/4" pipe clamps and wood jaw pads for them, cheap ash or Philippine mahogany. A row for the top and a row for the bottom, every 6 to 8 inches. Do two to four boards at a time, then the whole thing.
Getting the clamps tightened down in an even fashion, not one end to the other, is a big intensive job so I would use a glue with a long open time, such as Garrett Wade's 202GF. And you can use your allthread as part of the clamping for every assembly. A very easy design but hard work, I suggest check out the book.
Do you have any reciprocative reality of your own? Anyone else?
--
Alex - "newbie_neander" woodworker
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi Alex, Thanks for the tips -- I'll check out the Landis book.
I don't understand the end of your post, i.e. "reciprocative reality of your own" -- what does that mean? -Andy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Oh, well just, some of your own input and ideas...? Nothing derogatory intended. BTW, how old are you?
--
Alex - "newbie_neander" woodworker
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Alex wrote: "BTW, how old are you?"
Ha, 33 last time I checked.
My friend has suggested using poplar, with ash for the vise and crochet. I'm going to look into beech and birch. The Roubo plan in Woodworking Mag indeed calls for laminating the top -- if I had access to a massive slab that big, believe me, it wouldn't be going into a workbench! -- and I think 4" is plenty of thickness for the top.
The plan in the Landis book sounds quite different from the plan I'm looking at, so I'll have to take a look at it. My plan didn't involve any allthread rods; the only metal hardware involve seemed to be the vise screw and two bolts to connect the crochet to the top.
Well, I'll post more as the bench progresses... -Andy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The landis book has a full chaper on the Roubo bench and it addresses some of its evolution. IIRC, the earlier versions only used hold-fasts, no vise. Later, a leg vise was intoduced.
What I think was unique about that bench was it's minimalist design, the bench top was a single timber and the top was cuiously shallow (like 12 or 14 inches). Having built a traditional bench, I can see why the the shallow bench works. It turns out that the only time I use the depth of my bench is when I am operation other than traditional bench ops like planing sawing choping. That is, I only use the depth for assembly finishing or sanding.
Even if you use nothing from the Roubo chapter, the book is well worth the read because the book spends so much time talking about the tradeoffs and advantages of different features and designs. You may want to incorporate something from a different style of bench.
Cheers,
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for your reply, Steve. I can totally see where the shallow top is advantageous, especially for clamping from the back. I've also looked at David Charlesworth's bench design, which combines the advantages of deeper and shallower tops by having the bottom of the tool well slide out, allowing you to have an opening for a clamp when needed. However, the Charlesworth bench design is probably beyond my skills at the moment, and I picked the Roubo for it's simplicity. The Woodworking Mag version involves making the tenons for the legs and stretchers during the laminating rather than actually cutting tenons, which sounds good to me at this point in my learning process. -Andy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's how I did mine. 5/4 maple, milled to 1", laminated to form 3" members with 1" mortise/tennons.
1" wide square dog holes in the top were "cut" the same way.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Having built a traditional bench, I can see why the the shallow

Let me expand on that thought a bit...
I came to the conclusion that only the front 7 inches of a traditional bench function as a bench (requires heft, takes pounding, etc). The rest is just table top.
If I could do it again (pretty unlikely), I would change the design a bit. It currenty has a 5-1/4 thick front 7" inches and 3" thick elsewhere and a total top size of 80"x24".
I would keep the same massive front and the length, but reduce the overall depth to 20" (including a tool tray that I do not currently have). I'd also reduce the thickness in the back to 2". But that is all just personal preference, YMMV.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.