Roubo bench project - WIP (UPDATE No 3 )

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26 Nov 2006
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Sheringham, North Norfolk
Hello fellas,

Here are some pictures of a new project, to build a Roubo bench for the new workshop. I will take some pictures of my new workshop for another thread when it is not wet, covered in snow or fog, or so upside down it would be :oops: .

A new bench has been a priority for the last six months when I took delivery of a load of Ash boards, 8 x 2 (for the top) and 6 x 2 (for the legs) some posts for the long stretchers.

Here is a picture of the timber pile stacked in the corner where it has been for the last five months.

Sitting on the top of the wood stack is Chris Schwartz excellent workbench book a must read for anyone thinking of making a bench. I also would like to credit the excellent Benchcrafted website, lots of very useful guidance regarding leg and wagon vices also some design ideas.

The first job was to get started on the legs. The plan to laminate three pieces and at the same time form a tenon as a means to attach the legs to the top. The legs turned out just over 5” square. I carefully selected the best pieces for the fronts and backs of the legs and made good two very knotty pieces by laminating the edges with some offcuts.
Here you can see how the grotty bit is hidden in the middle.

I then made a start on the short stretchers, using the same dimensions for the legs only two sections here, it was easy to form a tenon on the end of these pieces. The first testing job was to cut the mortises in the legs, pictures as follows;

Remove most of the waste with a forstner bit and then tidy up with mortiser and chisel/file, taking care not to go over the lines!

The long stretchers presented more of a challenge. I also did not have much stock to play with. I was not working to any precise dimensions, trying to work as the material allowed. The post were only just over 4ft long and I decided to keep these as long as possible and ended up with a 50” length.

I came up with the idea of adding a tenon to the end using my domino machine pictures as follows;

The advantage of this approach became apparent when I set about drilling a long hole through the leg for the bolt used to hold the stretcher to the leg. This design feature would mean that the bench could be knocked down if needed to be moved. Gawd knows how heavy it will be. Can't lift two legs on my own! :)

I could now drill the hole in small stages using my pillar drill for the leg section from both sides, the tenon and my hand drill for the stretcher. A hole in the side would provide access to attach a nut.

Here is a picture of the bolt appearing through the mortise.

Next job is to glue up the legs, I have some work to do on the leg which will hold a leg vice as this needs another mortise for a parallel guide. I also need to drill a hole for the vice screw.

Once glued up I can tidy up the faces, reduce the dimensions a little and re fit the stretchers. These should finish flush with the legs when complete.

Here is how she sits just now;

This has been an enjoyable project so far, look out for another update as work proceeds.

Cheers, Tony.
That looks like a great bench build Tony, I see that you mentioned benchcrafted vices, I ask because I'm thinking about using said vices in my bench build, so will be following this with great interest. Good luck, it looks like a cracker.
Looks great, love the Roubo builds.

What style of vices are you going to have overall leg and wagon? I guess not leg as you haven't made the runner for it?
Thanks fellas,

Chems, On the subject of vices I really wanted to use the benchcrafted leg and wagon vices. Here is a link to the package;

At $750 plus another $250 for delivery, not to mention duty and VAT it was just too expensive.

I am going to try and make my own version of the set-up using a pair of veritas screws, I have sourced two wheels for the parallel guide and also bought a small piece of acetal plate for the bushing, I have the fixings organised and so far I have only spent about £80. I am working on organising a couple of cast iron handwheels and have also thought about turning a couple of wheels - now that would be a challenge!

:shock: wow i was interested in the bench crafted kits. but $250 delivery :? really puts me off. did not realize it was that much.

Hello adidat,

I was also shocked by the freight charges, but accept that the package would be heavy and probably would need some insurance etc.

I have just checked the email I received from benchcrafted a few months ago and the precise figure for delivery was $165.

I hope I haven't mislead you with my previous post when I mentioned $250, and on reflection from memory at the time of writing thought in total that the package would come to over $1000 when all the trimmings, duty VAT etc were added.

We seem to agree that this is just too much to pay.

Benchcrafted do not have a UK agent which is a pity, and somewhat of a surprise considering the potential UK based candidates - if I could speculate a little, CHT, Richard Maguire, WH, etc???

Lets hope my version of the leg vice will work and save the money!

Cheers, Tony.

If it's not too cheeky to ask, I would be very interested in a material & cost breakdown when you are finished. I might have to bite the bullet and make a proper bench soon as the current chipboard PoS is not really up to it.

I like the sturdy look of it, and also the use of the bolts, so you can knock it down.

did you use the domino to make holes to fit the nuts in?
Hello fellas,

Here is an update on my Roubo bench project, work completed over the last month;

I glued three of the legs together, made up of three laminations of the ash (45mm), I have not yet glued the vice leg, I decided to leave this until my work on the vice was complete.

I shaped the chop following the benchcrafted design, and used a piece of oak for the parallel guide which is mortised into the chop and passes through the leg. Here is a picture of the guide and base of the chop;


The easiest way to fit the guide was to cut a simple slot in the bottom of the chop. Here you can see a large rebate to inlay a piece of rosewood to cover the front. I cut the rebate using my bandsaw and tidied up with a shoulder plane.


Pictures here of the chop with inlay at the bottom and the chop and guide passing through the leg. The through mortise was easy to cut using previous techniques on each lamination. This would be a much harder job if the leg was glued.



I drilled a hole through the leg to fit the Veritas tail vice screw and attached the nut part to the back of the leg. I drilled and tapped holes into the ash and used machine screws to fix the vice components.

Here you can see the screw from the inside. I also made some cross pieces to help support the top, keep the sides square, and enable a moveable section of the top to be made, part of my plans for the top, these pieces are held with large dominos.


Here is a picture of how she sits now.


I also drilled some holes into the other front leg for holdfasts etc. I have also already drilled holes in the legs to drawbore some ash dowels when finally assembling the sides.

Turning to my plans for the leg and tail vices here is a picture of the parts I have assembled to make my own version of the benchcrafted set-up.


Two nice cast handwheels 200mm and 125mm, I have handles on order for these and will have to reduce the diameter of the vice screws to fit the bore holes in the wheels. More on this later.

All from various sources on ebay - two little nylon wheels, and a brass rod - part of the guide supports, bolts to fix the guide supports and pieces of acetal bushing (hard black plastic) for the leg vice and to use in construction of the tail wagon vice.

Ash dowels, and a nice piece of rosewood, a small part of which I will use to make the guide supports.

Next jobs are to make the guide supports, get the vice working, tackle the big job of machining the timber for the top, and work out how to build in the tail wagon vice, dog holes etc. Lots left to do!

I will be at Yandles at the weekend, and will post another update as work proceeds.

Cheers, Tony.
Looks like good progress Tony, I'd be interested how those vices work, and a costing on all the hardware please.
That looks really nice, I love the leg vice. Was tossing up wether to do one on mine, but was unsure wether I would use it much. That means that your frame will be flush with the bench front I guess? I thought about this and decided it would not look right so shelved the idea. Would be interested to see how the design of your works as a unit. Also love the wheels, where did they come from? That benchcrafted stuff is simply gorgeous, but way too expensive.....

Cheers, Mark
I am very happy with progress so far fellas, thanks for kind comments. On the subject of costings here is a run down to date;

Kiln dried American Ash £500 (Tim Collin timber merchant, Wroxham nr Norwich)
10 x Ash dowels 9mm £9 (ebay - The cross grain pellet co.)
Rosewood offcuts + from stock say £10

Hardware for bench
4 x Stainless steel cap head bolts (m10 x 150) + nuts washers £27 (Nuts & bolts)

Vice components
4 x Stainless steel cap head bolts (m10 x 75) £6 (
Black acetal plate 12 x 85 x 150mm £7 (ebay - Davis industrial plastics)
2 x Veritas tail vice screws £67 (Axminster)
2 x nylon wheels with bearings £20 (MSA wheels and casters Ltd.)
Small peice of brass rod (from stock)
6 machine screws (from stock)
Cast iron handwheels 1 x 200mm 1 x 125mm + handles £150 (inc £40 for hole drilling and tapping) ( WDS Limited)

2 x Titebond III glue pots £16 (Rutlands)
Veritas surface clamp £45 (Rutlands)
Finish not yet determined say £20

Total amounts to just over £800. :shock: + hours of fun and enjoyment. :)

Cheers, Tony.
What make are your sawtooth-Forstners Tony; if you wouldn't mind.
I am watching with interest. My SYP is shop-ready and has settled nicely. I am due to start as soon as my knee has settled nicely too!

Am I correct in saying that the Benchcrafted tail-vice has a left-hand thread?

I would hazard a guess that the wheel adjuster could be the next modification by Record, for their vices.
It might be a bit awkward on Q/R models, but I reckon it would work well on a fixed pattern vice. No more clanking as the 'T' bar drops down!

Hi Tony. I was just looking at the bench crafted wagon vice and came across this thread. I was wondering how you've got on building your two vice from the components you listed. Would love to have an update, perhaps with some pics if you have time. Thanks
Update, this looks like it could be awesome.

The Roubo is a work of art, I would love to make one myself one day.
A very inspirational WIP, I like the rethink on alternative vice hardware making the project more affordable.

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