Roubo Bench Build – Part 1

As many of you know I am member of The Woodwhisperer Guild.  If you are not familiar with the guild, I highly recommend checking it out as it is a great way to help challenge your skills as a new or experienced woodworker.  The winter project for 2012 starts in January and is a Roubo split-top workbench.

My current workbench is a solid core door on a steel frame.  It has served me well but as I move further into my own woodworking I realized that it does not meet all of my needs.  To read more about my current bench check out my post on Woodworking Benches.

After deciding to join in on the current build, I had some decisions to make like type of wood and hardware.  For both of these decisions I tryed to keep in mind that I want this to be a bench that I use for a lifetime.  For the wood my ideas ranged from Spruce to Maple, and I had settled on using Spruce until I spoke with my father.  He asked what would I would really want to use if I had all choices and the answer was Maple.  Maple is the best choice for me as it is dense, heavy, and well traditional which I do like.  Dad called me the next day and found some Hard Maple from a local guy up in North Carolina.  He picked it up for me just before Thanksgiving and I couldn’t wait to get up there to get started.  Over Thanksgiving weekend we ripped, cut to rough length, and glued up the 8/4 boards for the two halves of the top.

Since that time I have managed to complete a few other tasks in between building Christmas presents.  The major task that I completed was cutting the square dogholes into the doghole strip.  I created a jig for my router to ensure that all of the holes were exactly the same.  The jig worked well and all of the notches are cut, next I will glue on the face of the strip and plane it down to final thickness.  I also, planed the glued up tops to rough thickness this past weekend to just over 4″ thick.

For the hardware I considered many options but in the end decided on the Benchcrafted hardware as I believe that it is the best on the market.  The price tag is not for the faint of heart but considering it is a lifetime investment I believe that it is worth it.  I ordered the hardware in November and hope to have it within the next few weeks.

With the holidays coming to an end and the guild build officially beginning soon, I hope to be able to spend more time getting into the details of the project.  I must say that setting the tops in my shop definitely gave me some motivation to get going.  So be sure and stop back in as I will be posting my progress as I go along.

For more on the Woodwhisperer Guild go to




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6 Responses to “Roubo Bench Build – Part 1”

  1. Bill Akins
    January 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    You have a good start on a great bench. You are going to enjoy the last workbench that you will need to build.

    • highrockww
      January 3, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

      Thanks Bill, this will be the last bench I build…well at least for myself. the process of building it has been very fun as everything is oversized from the tenons to the dovetails.

  2. December 30, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Very nice start, Chris! I think you’ll be glad you went with maple in the long run. What a nice looking bench this will be!

    • highrockww
      January 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

      Thanks Aaron, I am really glad I went with the maple. It is very hard but honestly I have to time so I am just taking my time with each cut. I actually really enjoy working with the maple and know this will be a great looking and wonderful bench when finished. BTW, the plans you and Marc have put together for this are great and can’t wait start seeing more guildies working on their benches!

  3. December 27, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    Excellent start, Chris!! Did you do the 2* dog holes? I’m gonna just put the angle on my dogs. I’m on to the base now. Got the mortises roughed in this weekend and just need to square them up. I look forward to following your progress!

    • highrockww
      December 27, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

      Thanks Vic. I am doing the dogs the same as the SketchUp pattern. I played around with this type in Woodcraft here in Atlanta and really liked them, it’s a little extra work but I felt it was worth it. I have been keeping up with your build and its looking great! I look forward to seeing how all of the different benches come out.

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