I’ll be assembling the base of my new Roubo workbench. This is pretty exciting, as it’s been a long road getting this far, with a lot of new skills I needed to learn, such as planing and jointing, and my first mortise and tenon joints. It’s been a bunch of pieces that didn’t look like much, but now I’ll finally be putting it together! I’m a little nervous too, about gluing all the parts, getting them together and getting all the drawbored dowels into the tenons with plenty of glue too.
I’m finishing up the last few items before I can glue up the base, which will be exciting (and I’m a bit nervous about it too). I’ll be drilling dowel holes in the legs for the tenons, drilling three 3/4″ dog holes in the right leg, and drilling out the hole for the Benchcrafted Glide M leg vise screw in the left leg.
While I am left handed, I do some things left handed, some right, and sometimes it doesn’t matter, I can use either hand. I thought about it, and decided to go with the leg vise as standard, on the left side of the bench.
The continuing story of my Roubo Workbench, based on the book by Christopher Schwarz. In this part, I will be doing the 8 mortises for the stretchers to fit into the legs, and showing how I made the dowels out of some white oak. A lot of the YouTube videos crack me up, because the person always says they just happened to have the wood “lying around”. Sometimes what they had lying around is quite a bit of wood. An actual fact: I happened to have this white oak just lying around. I did not have all this hard maple wood just lying around though.
Forward progress finally got a bit faster. I had a lot of trouble with the top of the bench, getting it smoother out. I used a hand plane to do 95% of the work, and that did work for the most part. I had a lot of trouble with tearout, the plane blade tearing away wood, digging far deeper than the blade would have cut. I had to stop with the plane. I tried using a back bevel on the blade to increase the angle for less tearout, which I think helped, however I was still having the issue. I switched to sanding, an extremely tedious workout! I didn’t know how else to get it flat. Remember, this is the entire top of the bench, far too large to go into the 13″ planer.
Trying to use the diamond plates, or stones if you have those, without a way to hold them in place is a pain. I quickly decided to make a holder for my DMT Diamond plates. Several of the ones I saw online used a chisel to dig a slot into the plywood base for the plate to rest in. I thought it would be far easier to just glue on some thin plywood strips, as my chisel skills aren’t the greatest. I used 3/4″ plywood as a base, and thin strips of 1/4″ baltic birch plywood around the stones. Dimensions weren’t critical, I have the 8″ plates, it depends on what stones or plates you have as to how big you will make yours. Also, yours may only hold three plates, it just depends on how many plates or stones you will be wanting to hold.
I just got a used Stanley #7 plane from eBay, these planes are also known as jointer planes. With their long base, they can make a very straight edge in wood, or flatten a large piece of wood. In my case, I’ll be using it to flatten my work bench top. From my research, this is a Type 15 plane, made in either 1931 or 1932. Buying a used plane I think saved me some money. The newer Stanley planes aren’t rated high on Amazon, and have plastic handles. Some say they take a lot of work to flatten and get everything right, as Stanley isn’t producing a quality product any more. Apparently the older ones were better, so I decided to go that way. There are other very nice planes you can get from Lie Nielsen or a Veritas from Lee Valley Tools. The prices for those higher end planes are a lot more.
Both wooden handles seem in great shape. I’d say there was some rust that someone cleaned off. There were a couple areas on the bottom where a tiny lump of metal was protruding, and would scratch whatever I was smoothing. The blade had lots of small dings in it, and seemed to be sharpened at a very shallow angle.