Split-Top Roubo

About a month ago I started building a split-top Roubo bench based on the plans offered by Benchcrafted. Honestly, I hadn’t settled on this design until I was in Iowa at Handworks 2015 and had the opportunity to play around with Jeff Hamilton’s bench built by Plate 11 Bench Co.

1 blanks for legs

The construction notes offered by Benchcrafted for free recommend starting with the base if you are limited on space. I certainly qualified for that tip so I milled and glued up 8/4 maple to create the 3″ x 5″ legs. Once those were dry I began creating the mortises for the rails.

2 Mortises in legs

I went with the Benchcrafted leg vise which uses a massive chop. I glued together pieces of 8/4 and 4/4 maple to get the thickness and milled it down to 8″ wide.

3 Flattening material for chop

My jointer is only 6″ wide so I had to flatten the material for the chop by hand. After the glue was dry I created a channel for the crisscross and drilled all the holes for the vise in the chop and leg.

4 leg vise fitting

The nice thing about this vise is that you can completely install it with just the leg and the chop. Here I was test fitting everything before routing out and installing the acetal bushing. After getting all the main components of the base completed I test fitted everything.

Test fit mortise short rail Test fit left side

The short rails will get assembled with drawbore pegs. I couldn’t bring myself to pay for an “official” drawbore plate so I made one by drilling a couple of holes in a piece of scrap steel and filing the surfaces. Surprisingly, they came out fine.

Making Pegs

I got all of the base parts complete and started working on the tops. I glued up several boards at a time using Titebond Extend to give myself a little extra time. Even with using glue with more open time I still had to hustle.

Clamping top

I started with the back section of the bench and glued it up to the final dimension. Then I started with the front section that gets the dog hole strip and tail vise.

Dog hole strip Tail Vise Cavity

I made a simple jig to guide my router for the dog hole strip and then glued on a thin piece to close everything up. Then I had to create the tenon on the end and rout out the cavity for the tail vise. Once that was done I glued the dog hole strip to the main section and started working on the end cap.

Today I worked on making the condor tails on the front laminate. I used a router bit with a guide bearing to cut the tail board and ended up burning the ends with the collett.

Condor tail goof

Fortunately, I had inset the tails enough that I think I can still clean it up. Either way I went for it and glued the front laminate on. Here is where I finished for the day.

Front Top Section

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