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Thread: Split top Roubo bench build

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    52,918
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winners View Post
    Height of bench top is going to vary with the above and your body's height.
    Many folks know that I'm an advocate of adjustable height for work surfaces. Both my primary and my auxiliary bench are adjustable height and I wouldn't want it any other way. If I had a dedicated assembly surface, I'd want that adjustable height, too, even it if was some quick and simple method like rectangular boxes and slip-assembled supports of varying sizes. But that's a different matter since the OP is contemplating the bench top design.

    Derek, "what's-his-name" is actually a kind of a family affliction that seems to get passed on each generation. Of course, it really refers to forgetfulness. LOL
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
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    Derek, "what's-his-name" is actually a kind of a family affliction that seems to get passed on each generation. Of course, it really refers to forgetfulness. LOL
    Jim, I grew up with a mother who could never get anyone's name at first go. A question directed at a family member at the dinner table involved her running through the names of all before she got it right. In spite of this sometimes humorous sometimes frustrating word finding difficulty for family names, she was a highly articulate journalist. 95 years young today.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  3. #18
    Hi Scott,

    I think I am ok with 24 depth, I cut my current bench top down to that and seems to be working. I am about 6 and will make it 35 tall, what I dont like about my bench is its a bit lite, work holding sucks, no end vice and not long enough, i planned on 87 as it was really the max that I thought would work but now I realize that I could have made 96 and the boards I bought were 10 however i rough cut them to about 94-96 and skip dressed them before I realized I could go longer... oh well...

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winners View Post
    I think Jim Becker pretty much nailed it. It depends on what on you are making and what tools you reach for. Height of bench top is going to vary with the above and your body's height.

    You sound pretty ok with your current 24 inch depth/width. What is it about your current bench that you don't like exactly? Not long enough? Can't clamp in the middle? Too rickety? Not enough weight?

  4. #19
    Hi Derek,

    Thanks for all the details, I am probably 60/40 split power vs hand always leaning power when I can, I used to do primarily hand when I first got out of school where we spent the first 6 months learning how to maintain and tune our hand tools and designing and building a piece of furniture from the rough completely by hand, machines were not allowed until after that project, that was 30yrs ago - I digress...

    I like your setup on how you have tool tray on the wall, I like to work on both sides of a bench and have my back to a wall and in a corner (I am the paranoid type ) and on that wall are my hand tools and a row of base cabinets and a work top, The three cabinet shops I worked in early in my career were this way so I think thats where that came from.

    I did buy the benchcrafted classic leg and tail vise so super excited about that, i am still split on the split - ha, I made a joke... honestly I dont know if i would end up clamping using the center gap but I like the idea of it being able to be handled easier at least during the building process and I figure I could always build a solid infill if I didnt like the gap or even just add the strip and glue it.

    However something interesting happened tonight while I was working on a project, I realized that if my bench was longer (its like 70 now) like the roubo will be that maybe I would put a few of the tools I was currently using in a tool slot In the center so they were not just floating around but in a spot, the same spot. I even for a second (like 2 seconds, maybe 3) thought to myself would a tool tray work? I mean like I am sliding furniture pieces around on the bench checking, fitting etc and the square, marking knife, tape measure, etc are in the way just getting pushed around, if i had a tool tray in the bench problem solved! Then I came to my senses - NO! LOL...

    I have a few weeks to decide on the top as I am letting the wood relax and acclimate afTer the skip dressing + I need to get my firewood ready for next year which will take a week or so, its mid May for craps sake...

    Oh and I thought I had the worlds best Moxon, I just finished it....
    3891E65D-00FE-4188-B382-5658E25234D0.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #20
    You are right about that, when I had my business and when I worked at other cabinet shops I had 4 x 8 assembly benches - that was the work bench, usually had a narrow taller worktop behind you that would have a vise but 90 percent of the work occurred on that 4 x 8. Working my way back to my roots which is furniture making exclusively so my plan is to do the Roubo 24 x 90 and make some heavy trestle stands at a lower height to pull out for assembly when needed, I will still do some assembly on the Roubo but this way I have options and frees my mind from thinking I need a wider bench than 24


    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Tymchak View Post
    Unless you are space constrained. I have a small shop and the workbench is the only assembly area I have.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    central tx
    Posts
    344
    Does anyone here use a workbench with a 10' (120") + length?

  7. #22
    So quick update, am going with the split top 26” wide by 92” ish long, 35” tall
    Heres the why:
    - 26” wide = 30” too wide, 24” too narrow.
    - 92”ish long = Well I planned on 87” and I even had 120” material but by the time I decided to make it as long as possible I rough cut and skip dressed the material to 96”ish.
    - Split top = Honestly I don’t know why, it goes against the grain of what I am familiar with but hell you only live once and it can always be made solid later albeit a pain...

    Here are a few photos the base is pretty much done starting the top tomorrow. If you would like to follow the shenanigans go here: https://www.instagram.com/kessler_woodworks/

    08B50C77-B4F9-411F-84C7-CEC25241BDB3.jpgF9682062-D5BF-431D-82C1-D4A9F9CB1BFC.jpg
    Last edited by Mark e Kessler; 05-29-2020 at 1:02 PM.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    52,918
    That's going to be a nice bench, Mark. IMHO, it was good you did the base first. (although one clearly must have in mind the approximate size of the intended top before doing that) One of the best things about building our own benches is that we have the opportunity to make it work for our own needs which are always different than the next worker. I look forward to the rest of this project!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Austin Texas
    Posts
    1,851
    You are just about there Mark with the base. I went base first as well and was able to use the base to help with the multi-piece top fabrication. As even the split top pieces are heavy and I was a one-man installation team, I intentionally did not create a tight-tight fitup between the tenons on top of my legs and the mortises in the bottom of the table because I did not want to have to fight the fitup and do multiple install-remove cycles for fitup tuning. I drew the outline of the tenons on the bottom of the top pieces and took the line when I chopped the mortises. The tops plopped down into place on the first try. I use my split for a sliding tray that holds my marking gauges and a couple of chisel caddys, but I can turn the tray upside down to create a gap-free area if I so desire. Either way, you will enjoy the new bench. I do want to build a smaller Ruobo-looking joinery bench closer to 40"/40 something" tall that will not have a split in it to help my old eyes and save my aching back from hunching over to see close joinery.
    David

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    central tx
    Posts
    344
    Is the base same width as the top or will you have overhang on the back? Just curious. Might make it easier to build the base first that way in case the top finished out slightly different width than expected.

  11. #26
    Thanks Jim, its the first proper bench I have had - I am originally trained as a furniture maker but after school I went right into business and could never justify The time or money to build one. i closed my business down quite some time ago went back to school to switch careers, I have always done commission work, I doubt this will make my work any better and honestly its almost to fancy. I dont plan on over doing it like I see most bench builds its a utilitarian thing to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    That's going to be a nice bench, Mark. IMHO, it was good you did the base first. (although one clearly must have in mind the approximate size of the intended top before doing that) One of the best things about building our own benches is that we have the opportunity to make it work for our own needs which are always different than the next worker. I look forward to the rest of this project!

  12. #27
    yea, with the split top building the base first is the way to go if the top was one piece then I would have built the top first. I will probably take the same approach as you with the mortices in the top. The gap stop is intriguing to me, at first I couldnt imagine wanting to put tools in the slots but Since I have been thinking about it more as I am working I noticed it might be nice to have a place to park the tools to keep them a wrangled in one location instead of all over the place. I see the tool holding being on the right or the left (or both) and the center a solid infill, I am making the gap 2 and when I do the gap stop it will probably have 1/2 sides so the slot for tools will be 1 but i will have to see what I will want to drop in so it may vary in width some.

    I like your idea of a smaller roubo joinery bench, I just built a moxon vise and when I finished it I thought a dedicated taller bench would be better but even though i was classically trained in furniture making I am more of a machine tool guy now with hand tools for the finesse work so the moxon will do...

    Quote Originally Posted by David Eisenhauer View Post
    You are just about there Mark with the base. I went base first as well and was able to use the base to help with the multi-piece top fabrication. As even the split top pieces are heavy and I was a one-man installation team, I intentionally did not create a tight-tight fitup between the tenons on top of my legs and the mortises in the bottom of the table because I did not want to have to fight the fitup and do multiple install-remove cycles for fitup tuning. I drew the outline of the tenons on the bottom of the top pieces and took the line when I chopped the mortises. The tops plopped down into place on the first try. I use my split for a sliding tray that holds my marking gauges and a couple of chisel caddys, but I can turn the tray upside down to create a gap-free area if I so desire. Either way, you will enjoy the new bench. I do want to build a smaller Ruobo-looking joinery bench closer to 40"/40 something" tall that will not have a split in it to help my old eyes and save my aching back from hunching over to see close joinery.

  13. #28
    Top will be the same width of the base, the split top makes it easy to do that. I did contemplate an overhang, I like to clamp glue-ups to a workbench and with the top being flush with the legs that leaves 5.5” (the width of the leg) of un-clampable (is that a word?) area in 2 places on the same plane however I also want to be-able to clamp something large to the face of the bench (on both sides) like a door, bed frame (see pic, not sure if you can make it out but it was a pain to clamp it to the bench because the legs are not flush wit(the top) so it’s a trade off, the beauty of this thing is that I could always just glue more wood on to achieve the overhang at a later date if I really need it so for now we will just see how it goes. If I add overhang i could easily create some blocking to make up the difference in top overhang to leg but gona keep it simple for now.

    3A74B442-867F-49F2-9D59-E473CAFAF55B.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Crawford View Post
    Is the base same width as the top or will you have overhang on the back? Just curious. Might make it easier to build the base first that way in case the top finished out slightly different width than expected.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    52,918
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark e Kessler View Post
    I doubt this will make my work any better and honestly it’s almost to fancy. I don’t plan on over doing it like I see most bench builds it’s a utilitarian thing to me.
    Don't underestimate the value of a quality, sturdy bench and accoutrements relative to the work you will produce using it. Make that benchtop surface true and your joinery and assembly will improve in noticeable ways, if not visually, functionally as you are doing the work. I have zero regrets in making my recent benchtop upgrade for exactly that reason. I know it's flat. Flat is good. I had to use my CNC bed for that purpose with my previous benchtop!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #30
    Last edited by Mark e Kessler; 06-22-2020 at 11:05 PM.

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