Workbench - Part 4: Wood work

The whole bench was built using plans from Guido Henn. Search online for Roubo Workbench plans. The plans supply all necessary dimensions. Some dimensions were slightly altered to fit the available material.

Start by buying some beech hardwood planks. I used those made for kitchen tops. The thicker ones are 38mm thick and the thinner ones are 27mm. I used a combination of both to obtain the same thickness stated in the plans. Depending on the finish you plan to use, you should check if the material is untreated or not.

To cut the material to size you can use a table saw, a hand-held circular saw or even a jig saw. A bandsaw is difficult to use because the big parts are very heavy and hard to maneuver. After cutting I finished the surface with a No. 3 hand plane. The surface is smoother than sanded and absoutely flat.

Here are the parts for the legs. Each leg is built up with two layers of 38mm material.

I glued the parts using biscuits to prevent shifting during clamping. The number of biscuits was an overkill but I wanted to be on the safe side. It can be done without biscuits like Guido Henn does. You need at least 10 big clamps to glue one leg.

I cut some tenons with my pantorouter to test the method. Its also possible to cut rectangular tenons as shown in the plans.

I made the top tenons rectangular using the table saw.

All cutouts are made before gluing the layers together. I marked them carefully, cut them roughly with the jigsaw and used the router to shape them to final size. With this method there is no need to rout that much. Less of a mess of router shavings! It also means less wear for your router bits. The cutouts are: Two for the crisscross (leg and clamping jaw or "chop") and one for the wagon vise.

The table tops are built of two 38mm layers and one 27mm layer. (38 + 38 + 27 = 103mm). The rectangular mortises for the leg tenons are cut into the lower layer before gluing them together.

The leg crosspieces are 38mm thick. After gluing them into the leg mortises they are pinned with dowels. I stained the dowels for better looks.

The clamping jaw (chop) is built with two 38mm layers . The cutout for the crisscross is cut before gluing both layers together.

I drilled the dog holes with a 20mm Forstner bit. But not all the way through, the last 20mm are drilled with a 16mm bit. This way the dogs don't need a spring to prevent them from falling down. The 16mm hole lets sawdust fall through and I can also push up the dogs from below. I rounded the edge of the holes with the router and a bearing bit.

The whole bench received 3 coats of boiled linseed oil for a neat and durable finish.

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