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dbursch 11-04-2011 02:07 AM

My Benchcrafted Roubo Bench Journey
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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 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.

dbursch 11-04-2011 02:29 AM

Shop Photos
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Sorry, just learning how to work this site

dbursch 11-04-2011 02:38 AM

How I solved my bench problem
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This photo shows a plywood frame I had made for all the sheet work in skinning the inside of my new shop. Saw it recommended and explained in a youtube video. Made sense for sheet work. But then I realized that all I would have to do was clamp the thing to the center pole in my garage to make it sturdy for planing. It already had the size I needed to work with the large boards required by the Roubo.

The other bonus was it offered a great number of clamping options for the MFS!

dbursch 11-04-2011 02:45 AM

Festools purchased for the project
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TS-55, MFT/3, MFS 400, Dominoe (for all the top laminate and leg glue-ups), OF 1400 Router, Rotex 90 sander, CTX26 dust Collector, Boom Arm.

I was in heaven, my wife was in shock. I don't know how I could have approached the accuracy needed for the 17 mortise and tenon joints and flush fits without Festool. Great, great stuff.

Then I went shopping at Lie-Nielsen, Lee Valley . . . I was learning where all the good stuff was.

dbursch 11-04-2011 02:47 AM

Blended woodworking
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I was thrilled to use a shoulder plane and a float for the first time!

Wonderwino 11-04-2011 02:53 AM

Re: My Benchcrafted Roubo Bench Journey
:welcome: :welcome: It looks like you have a great start on your shop! We'll look forward to pictures of your progress on the Roubo! :goodjob:

dbursch 11-04-2011 02:54 AM

My Bench
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A few glam shots of the finished project. I used Ash for the base, CHerry for all the workholding areas, and hard maple for the top. Then, inspired by Jim again, I hired a friend who did CNC work to personalize the bench across two bottom leg stretchers.

Wonderwino 11-04-2011 02:59 AM

Re: My Benchcrafted Roubo Bench Journey
Wow, Donald!! That was fast! Great work on those super dovetails on the tail vise! :thumbsup2: :thumbsup2: :thumbsup2: :thumbsup2: :thumbsup2:

RONWEN 11-04-2011 03:49 AM

Re: My Benchcrafted Roubo Bench Journey
Fantastic job and super fast too! :thumbsup2:

I'm curious from start to finish how long did it take you to build your workshop building?

neilc 11-04-2011 03:53 AM

Re: My Benchcrafted Roubo Bench Journey
Welcome Donald! Great looking bench. You have some excellent craftsmanship.

What was the total time to build it?


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