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Old 11-04-2011, 03:07 AM
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dbursch dbursch is offline
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Nashville
Posts: 14
Default My Benchcrafted Roubo Bench Journey

This won't be nearly as long as Jim Kirkpatrick's since he pioneered all the construction details some time ago.

This time a year ago I was just thinking of putting in a shop in our backyard. I wanted a space free from all the other garage stuff that I could make whatever in without worry of dust and domestic dissatisfaction. I had only a vague idea of what I was going to do. Maybe put in a Shopsmith (go ahead, laugh, it's funny) because I didn't want to invest the moon in a large building and wasn't sure I was going to do that much with it. I was 58 and not sure what energy I would have to bring to it.

I had my first taste of real woodworking while in college because they had an awesome shop open to students. I made a set of library steps for a friend out of cherry with oak treads and dovetailed the treads into angled sides. Then I took a year off from school and worked with a carpenter full time for a year. Then I went back, got my degree, and have done diddly squat with woodworking until this past year. I made some kits from the bartley collection and shaker workshops, but that was it.

Here is my shop, completed in late March this year.

Once I had the shop built, I began to take a serious interest in what I could do with it -a little bassackwards but this is how it evolved. It occurred to me that I needed a first class workbench in order to do anything I wanted to do. I had no history of with hand planes, had done a little chisel work on dovetails a long time ago. Like I say, no real clear idea where it was going so I started surfing the net for workbench ideas. I came across http://www.workbenchdesign.net/ and found a list of books to order form the library, one of which is the classic one by Chris Schwarz featuring the Roubo. Everything he said made perfect sense, So I started searching on 'roubo bench' and found this site with Jim K's fabulous build story. I wanted to amke that bench really bad, but I had nothing but a few cheap power tools a la home depot and some equally poor hand and layout tools and no bench to build the bench on. I searched locally for someone who might be selling an old but serviceable bench but found nothing. So for most of April and May I just foundered between my passion for doing this roubo (but fear of getting in way over my head with no one to help that lived here) and just buying a nice factory bench like the high end Sjoberg. I saw that Lie-Nielsen sold a Roubo for $3,500, but it wasn't the as good as the bench-crafted version.

So I researched what tools I would need to build this and got quickly overwhelmed between my shop size limitation, what I wanted to afford and what I would need. I still had no idea how I was going to build a quality bench using just a pair of sawhorses. After a lot of consideration and web searching, i settled on a 19" band saw, a drill press, and a portable thickness planer. And, O yah, since discoverin Jim's thread here I studied up on Festool. The cost of Festool scared me a bit, but I had seen so many posts with nothing but praise for them and I was sick of crappy tools from the box store. I knew Jim had used his table saw a lot to make his bench, but I felt pretty certain that the TS-55 with the MFT/3 would do most of that and a table saw would have gobbled up half of my available shop real estate. Here are a few shots of my early shop after major tool purchases.
Attached Thumbnails
my-benchcrafted-roubo-bench-journey-telluride-plus-sarawak-bursch.jpg  

Last edited by dbursch; 11-04-2011 at 03:28 AM. Reason: Wanted to add more
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