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Old 01-31-2010, 03:43 PM
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Default My Benchcrafted Split-Top Roubo Bench Build

I've been woodworking for a long time now but I've never had a proper bench to work on. I've either used the table saw or a piece of 1/2" plywood on a type of sawhorse I made. Around 15 years ago, I bought some German-made vises with good intentions of building a traditional cabinetmaker's bench but somehow never got around to it. And oh ya, of course, a couple of years ago I got an MFT3 table which was a vast improvement, but it has it's limitations. For example, it's difficult to hand plane on, which I’ve grown quite fond of lately. But it sure started me to thinking again seriously about building that cabinetmaker's bench. I even bought some 12/4 hard maple for leg stock.

But then I saw Jameel's Youtube video
on his Roubo split-top bench and everything changed. Such simplicity, such versatility! I scrapped my plans for a traditional bench, sold my vises on Sawmill Creek, used the 12/4 maple for another project and put in my order for the Benchmaker's Package, which not only includes the vises and project plans but also all of the hardware too.

Lead time is around 5 weeks. But right after you place your order, you receive an email confirmation with an incredible 100 page .pdf file containing the most detailed plans and photos I've ever seen. Not to mention some nice ePlans, eNotes & 3d eDrawings. These are cad type files and the viewing software is also included. Following that is a nice set of 20 X 30" printed drawings which come via snail mail. This is a far cry from the Veritas plans I had which was one single sheet of drawings.

I ordered them on Dec. 15. During the wait time, I scoured the plans that I printed out. I got a little nervous. I mean how am I going to build this massive workbench without having a proper workbench to build it on? On the floor?! By chance, a fellow on Sawmill Creek was selling his Ulmia bench and he coincidentally lived only 5 minutes away. I was lucky to have the cash and I quickly scooped it up. You will see it pictured in the build photos. It'll be for sale when I finish my bench. EDIT: Post build thoughts: It was nice having the Ulmia bench but a good set of sawhorses would've sufficed.

I'm posting on this forum because this is where I first heard of Benchcrafted. Jameel's plans and Youtube videos are so complete, I won't be posting a step by step tutorial, but rather only the few parts that aren't covered in the plans because certain steps can be accomplished any number of ways. These are the steps I'll be using my Festools on. I think it's a great marriage: old world joinery and high tech power tools.

EDIT: There are many pages in this thread, I compiled this index so you can easily and quickly jump to any part of the build:
1. Round or Square Dogs?
2. Leg Grain Orientation
3. UHMW Feet
3B. UHMW Followup
4. MFS Mortising
5. Cutting the Leg Tenons
6. Stretcher Tenons
7. Vise Chop Glueup
8. Colt Forstner Bits
9. Tapping for screws
10. Through Mortise
11. Vise Screw Mortises
12. Draw Boring
13. Guide Rollers
14. Top Glueup
15. Letter Engraving
16. Dog Hole Strip
16 B. Jameel's method for routing the dog holes If you don't want to spring for an MFS, this is a viable option.
17. Tail Vise
18. Top Mortises
19. Deadman Dado
20. Widening the Split Top Gap
21. Flattening the Top
22. Bench Dogs
23. SPAX Screws
24. How much glue did I use?
25. The Gap Stop
26. Gramercy Holdfasts
27. Putting the Finish On.
28. Completed Pictures
29. Parallel Guide Pin Handle


Last edited by JimKirkpatrick; 11-01-2013 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 01-31-2010, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: Benchcrafted Split-Top Roubo Bench Build

Friday when I got home from work the box with the Benchcrafted logo was waiting for me on the steps. It took 6 weeks to receive but one of the weeks was Christmas week. Anyways, to say the least, I was amazed at all the hardware that was included and moreover, the quality of the vises and knobs. They even included some swatches of velvety suede leather to line the faces of bench dogs and vises. BTW, it's $730 for the package and after it ships you get another bill for the actual shipping costs in my case, $34.
Feast your eyes on what's included. I couldn't fit it all in on one shot. I photographed my hand in some shots for scale. Look at the size of that nut! And the knobs are beautiful. There's a lot of chromed bolts and washers included, nice touch!






Last edited by JimKirkpatrick; 12-27-2011 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 01-31-2010, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: Benchcrafted Split-Top Roubo Bench Build

While I was waiting for the order to come, I noticed that Benchcrafted sell their own barrel bolts and was a tad startled at the price of $40. After all, I had bought a set for my cabinetmaker's bench way-back-when from what used to be called The Woodworker's Store (now Rockler). I think I paid $15 for 4. But look at the difference between the two! 10 bucks a piece is a very fair price!



Last edited by JimKirkpatrick; 01-30-2011 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 01-31-2010, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: Benchcrafted Split-Top Roubo Bench Build

Coincidently, yesterday I picked up my lumber from a local sawyer. 200 bd ft of 8/4 ash. I'm gonna give it a couple of weeks to acclimate before I begin. It'll give me a chance to finish up some other projects in the shop.
I'm stoked!
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Old 01-31-2010, 04:39 PM
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Default Re: Benchcrafted Split-Top Roubo Bench Build

Jim,

WOW! I'd be stoked too. I've been looking at that bench as well and would love to build one in my shop. It's gonna be fun watching yours come together and I'm sure you'll do a great job building it! Really cool!
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Old 01-31-2010, 04:41 PM
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Default Re: Benchcrafted Split-Top Roubo Bench Build

Nice photos, Jim, thanks for posting them.

I can understand why you are so excited. I got a chance to see Jameel's bench in person at Valley Forge, and I knew immediately that I had to have one. Everything Jameel is involved with is top quality.

I know that posting a full "tutorial" is a lot of extra work, but we would love to see some photos of your finished product.
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Old 01-31-2010, 05:26 PM
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Default Re: Benchcrafted Split-Top Roubo Bench Build

John, It was your post about Jameel's bench that got me interested. Especially that picture of the ash prototype you posted. I'm not sure mine will turn out quite so rich as Jameel's ash. I've never worked with it before. I told my sawyer it looks a lot like red oak which I like to work with because it's virtually knot free and machines quite easily. He said if I like red oak I'm gonna love ash. It's even better to work with.
I feel like a kid on Christmas morning!
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Old 01-31-2010, 05:31 PM
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Default Re: Benchcrafted Split-Top Roubo Bench Build

Thanks for posting Jim!

The hardware and the wood look great.
Good idea to grab that Ulmia bench...


I know you're going to have a lot of fun with this project
and we're going to enjoy reading about it.
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Old 01-31-2010, 05:33 PM
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Default Re: Benchcrafted Split-Top Roubo Bench Build

Jim,

Good luck! I cant wait to see this. I think I would like to make a curly maple bench with wenge legs. The material would only cost me about 1500. Maybe all maple with select parts in curly like the legs, deadman, and legvise.
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Old 01-31-2010, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: Benchcrafted Split-Top Roubo Bench Build

I'm really looking forward to your tale of benchiness, Jim. Thanks so much for sharing. Please don't limit it to things you do with your Festools: we want it all!

Eiji, how could you bring yourself to work on a bench that nice?!? It would be a work of art!
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