Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Roubo: Almost Done

 Four months later, and I'm almost finished with this workbench.

I added a sliding deadman even though the span between the legs is only 27".

The top of the deadman has a 3/8" x 3/8" tongue that fits into a matching groove on the underside of the bench. The bottom skate of the deadman has a V-groove that slides along a V-shaped track that's glued to the front stretcher.

I shaped the wedges for the tusk tenons to match the wedge in one of my antique moulding planes. I still need to figure out what shape to make the ends of the long stretchers.

I may add holes to the front right leg, but will wait to see if I need them. I ran holes along the front edge of the benchtop in between the legs and added only one more opposite the front left leg.  I use that for a planing stop.

I'm finding all sorts of benefits to having a removable split top. For one, I can remove the back half of the benchtop if I need to clamp a board on both sides of the bench.  It's similar to a thinner, Japanese-style bench.

Also, I only need to lift it about 5/8" in order to remove the sliding deadman.

I still need to add a removable shelf, sand the base and apply finish, in addition to shaping the ends of the long stretchers, but that's nothing compared to the work that's behind me.

Oh, and the parallel guide works now without having to enlarge the mortise. I slathered it with wax and no longer jams.
Planing stop uses only one hole.


Joe Olivas said...

This is getting to look almost too nice to use.

Nice work!

Megan Fitzpatrick said...

Wow. Even your tenon keys look fab. I'm a piker by comparison.

upriver said...

Utterly wonderous1

Jeff Branch said...

Beautiful work!

Autumn said...

I'm blown away. It is absolutely beautiful and will be a joy to use.

Tom Stephenson said...

Kari, talk about personal touches making it yours...WOW! Fiirst, I love the cherry and maple together--that's a happy marriage. Your bench is beautiful, classy and very functional. Wonderful job! I love the profiles of the wedges and deadman. Those curves break up all the staight lines. Very nice work indeed!

Vic Hubbard said...

Kari, BEAUTIFUL photos and phenomenal job! Sylvia says you're an arteest!! and then adds, "oh, you are, too." Well, at least she's supportive of me trying to be. I really love your interpretation of the Roubo. It is exquisite.

Ross said...

Beautiful. The right leg holes make a very convenient place to STORE a deadman. Completely out of the way.

Mattias in Durham NC said...

Wow that is one nice bench. And even better, I bet it will get a lot of use. Keep the good stuff coming!

Frontier Carpenter said...

That is probably one of the nicest benches I have seen. Its unique with kinda of a European look. So when does your book come out?:)

ChrisHasFlair said...

Cut some flames on the ends of the stretchers, Kari!


jucan vlad said...

i`ll take tow! absolutely beutiful! bravo!

Tarzan of the Cows said...

I'm gobsmacked (to use an ancient word) by the incredible quality of your work. Bravo!

Kari Hultman said...

Thank you for all the nice compliments and suggestions! :o) I've already been using it even though it's not quite finished. I'm very happy with it overall and wouldn't change a thing. Many people might find the cherry top to be too soft, though. It does ding pretty easily.

mwh said...

How thick is the front chop of the leg vise? It doesn't appear in the pictures as if the front (outside) edge of the jar is beveled. Schwarz mentions something in his book about a bevel as a "relief angle" for sawing or chiseling (?) but I wasn't sure how important it is. The thicker the jaw, the larger the bevel would have to be, according to this logic. Thoughts?


Bill Akins said...

Absolutley fabulous Kari. Almost too pretty to use. What will be your first project that you make on your new masterpiece?

Anonymous said...

Scrumptious is the only manly word that comes to mind.

Don Williams

Chris Landy said...

Wow Kari! What a beauty!
You win the prize for design. Very smart. The sliding deadman is such a nice feature and so cleanly executed. I think I've said this before, but your bench, by size and design, makes me think- ok maybe I can make a bench work in my shop.

Anonymous said...

Looks great! The vise is just gorgeous, but I would but a heavy chamfer on the side that face the work to avoid busted-open knuckles.

The sliding dead man is beautiful with very graceful brackets top and bottom.

I have a more Frank Klauz style bench I built several years ago with front and side vises and I have to say I have very rarely needed my deadman stand. I find it better to clamp the work the bench anyway so the deadman just lets you get the vise tight so you can then clamp the work to a leg etc. There is too much vibration on long stock without clamping it at the non-vise end of the bench.


Anonymous said...

Meant to say...The vise is just gorgeous, but I would but a heavy chamfer on the side that faces you, the WORKER, to avoid busted-open knuckles.


Mike Lingenfelter said...


The groove for the Deadman is really 3/8". It looks bigger. I'm going to be staring my Roubo soon, and was planning to add a Deadman. I was trying to plan how I was going to cut the groove, using hand tools. My Plow Plane can only go up to 3/8", but I was thinking that was too small. How is your deadman working? Maybe 3/8" is plenty.


Kari Hultman said...

mwh, the front jaw is 2.25" thick and there is no bevel. I thought about adding one for decorative purposes, but decided I like the way it looks without. The face vise jaw on my old bench is 2.75" thick and I've never felt the need to bevel it. I don't see why it would be necessary. As I work with this bench, though, I'm sure I'll come across things that need to be tweaked.

Bill, I plan to build a tool chest for beneath the bench, but I don't know if that will be my next project or not. I feel the need to make something small, easy, and quick to complete!

Thanks, Don!

Chris, it's a good feeling to build your own bench. Go for it!

Brian, I had always thought that I'd build a Klausz bench. They're very cool (but more difficult to build than this one). I'm not sure that a bevel on the jaw is necessary. I used a thicker jaw on my old bench for years and never hit my knuckles. Not sure how you'd hit your knuckles--with sawing? The deadman is more for the coolness factor, but if you're working on long, wide boards, it would be helpful. I'll probably wind up drilling holes along the front edge of the bench for long, thin pieces.

Mike, the groove is 3/8" wide x 1/2" deep, and the tongue is 3/8" x 3/8". It seems plenty big to me. I cut both with hand tools--plow plane for the groove, and various tools for the tongue. I'll write a blog post about it and all the other steps.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could be like you. That is a really impressive bench. I like it a LOT.

Anonymous said...

Hi Keri,

I want to say again how much I love this bench! Beautiful.

I hit my knuckles when planing the edge of a board held edge up in the vise, while using the "pinch the sole" front grip on my jointer plane. I use this grip so I can feel the angle for edge-jointing.

In this mode, your fingers and second knuckles are exposed under the sole with your finger tips or fingernails touching the board you are planing, and if the board is not too wide, it is easy to get banged up by things hidden under your front hand.

The Klausz bench itself is not harder to build; it is just the tail vise that is more challenging. All the rest is the same.

--Brian said...

The style leaves all those other Roubos in the dust. Just one question: as it is a split top, why no handy gap down the middle for clamps as in the Benchcrafted and Maguire designs?
Best wishes
Barrie Hope

Kari Hultman said...

Thanks, Anon!

Brian, I see. That makes sense. I've never banged my knuckles that way...yet.

Barrie, it's just personal preference. I use a lot of bench jigs that hook on the front edge of the workbench and that's my preference. One unexpected benefit to having the top in two removable pieces is I can easily remove the back board and clamp a workpiece from both sides of the front board.

Cody C said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

The one thing I'm always impressed with about your work is the amazing surface you are able to put on the wood, even without finish. What method(s) do you use to get such a gorgeous finish? That cherry just glistens.

nielscosman said...

Hi Kari,
Great looking bench and awesome blog!
Love the details in the deadman and the tusk and tenon.
Have you glued the tenons into the top or is the bench knock-down?
I've been thinking about building a "portable" bench and recon that the beefy joinery and a study base almost defeats the point of glue.


Kari Hultman said...

Cody, I ran a handplane over the benchtop and I may have sanded it, but I don't remember. Normally, I handplane surfaces and/or sand them to 400 grit. I would not sand a benchtop to 400 grit, though. It would be too smooth/slick.

Niels, the tenons/dovetails are not glued into the benchtop; it's knockdown. Because the top is in two pieces, I only had to fit two sets instead of all four. It's extremely sturdy and does not move one iota.