Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Roubo, part 8

(Go back to part 7)

Time to do the mortises in the top.

Mortising the top by boring and chiseling. A completed mortise is visible at the lower right. This is where the larger brace comes in handy; it's definitely a lot of work. One thing that helps is to work ambidextrously, switching crank arms when one tires.

Checking the floor of a mortise. Run this gauge all over to make sure there are no high spots.

Remember when I said I lusted after a nice big Lie Nielsen shoulder plane? I did some shopping at one of their hand tool events last month. When my wife asked how much I had spent, I just told her she didn't need to buy me any Christmas presents this year.

Tuning the shoulder of a leg tenon with an LN medium shoulder plane. This joint is big enough to warrant their large plane, but most of the work I'll be doing will be more to the medium scale.

Tuning up a mortise with some of my other LN purchases: planemaker's floats. These are like rasps on steroids, and come in both push and pull tooth configurations. I'll be using these to make the wooden molding planes from Larry Williams' spectacular DVD.

Test fitting the base to the top. The base weighed in 75 lbs., so I definitely want to minimize the fidgeting about with it. I got my son and one of his buddies to help me stand the top on the scale; it came in at 135 lbs., so the total is 210 lbs. A little light for this bench, but beefy enough. The leg vise will add another 10-15.

Time to drawbore the legs to the top. Setting a stop on the bit for a 5" depth.

Kerfing-in a leg shoulder for a closer fit.

Cutting off some oak stock for more pegs. I'll use the rest of this slab for the leg vise. I picked up a bunch of this stuff several years ago at the local lumber company, where they were selling it off the surplus pile for something like 25 cents a board foot.

Dropping one end of the top onto the base.

The final drop. I managed not to injure myself wrestling this thing around.

Here's that out-of-square leg. I chose to deal with it by placing the mortise to set one edge proud, where it can be planed down.

For those wondering if there's a place in the manly woodshop for the wife's delicately scented candles, the answer is Yes, definitely! They're great for waxing up pegs and plane beds to reduce friction. Other than that, they're just a fire hazard.

Pegging the top to the base. Per Chris' suggestion, I didn't glue these joints. If I ever want to move this bench out of the basement, I can drill out the pegs and remove the top for easier handling. The tension in the drawbored pegs is enough to hold it together.

Planing down the corner of the leg.

Finessing the leg with a smoother to be coplanar with the front edge of the top.

And finally! The assembled bench up on its feet. Happy New Year!

The remaining details: flattening the top, drilling the dog holes, adding the leg vise and planing stop, and dressing some of the sharp edges. I'll be going the wonder-dog route instead of an end vise, since I already have one. In the Winter 2009 issue of Woodworking Magazine, Chris said he doesn't use the crochet much, and it sometimes gets in the way. So instead I'll put in a horizontal dog hole. That will act as an end stop for pieces held in the leg vise.

(Continue to part 9)


  1. That is a beautiful bench that is beautifully built. Truly impressive and I bet it will be a dream to work on.

    I don't know whether you got Lee Valley's January catalogue yet, but they have a great looking new bench accessory on the back cover; a "Bench Blade". Check it out if you get a chance.



  2. Nice job & thanks for sharing! I'm looking forward to seeing the bench in operation as it looks like it will be a real joy to use. It's a beauty!


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