New Roubo Style Bench

Stuart Ablett

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Tokyo Japan
It is stupid hot and humid here today, the L shop is really slow, so I snuck away for a few hours...... :D


I did the glue up! I put plastic under the paper, but I still do not like that big chunk of wood with glue dripping off it sitting on my tablesaw, so I soon moved it to the temp bench, that is after I flattened the temp bench's top.....


I knew that wood had a hump in the middle of each piece but I was surprised at how much of a hump, after all it is laminated of all sorts of little pieces :huh:

Now I have two ideas for the orientation of the bench when it is done....


Version one


Version two. The stuff at the far end of the shop will not be there when I finish (I'll have to find a place to put it, but I will) so I will have more room, but I'm thinking that the second orientation will be better, but the beauty of the new set up is I can try it both ways, heck even move it both ways :D

Tomorrow I have a guy coming over to cut up some wood, he is a friend of a friend, and he first contacted me before I had the cancer thing last fall, so he has been more than patient, I'll looking forward to meeting another foreigner woodworker! He needs to slice up some wood to build an acoustic guitar (I told him to sign up here and take in Alex's great thread!) I am sure that my resaw bandsaw can help him out!

Still mulling the couple of three different ways I can attach the top of the bench to the legs.

I think this is what I want to go with......


....a through dovetailed joint, I think it will be mondo strong and it looks good too! :D

Cheers!
 

Art Mulder

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London, Ontario
One of the other reasons I was doing this was the DC on the SawStop just did not work well, I figured with a direct shot to the saw from the 6" hose it would work better, I'm sure it will, as this is what I found in the 4" DC pipe next to the saw.....

Hmmm, how high is your ceiling? Build yourself a wooden floor on 2x6 "joists" and you can run power and DC right to the middle, no more tripping on DC lines! :whistling::saythat:

okay okay, I know it's not fair to tease you about the floor.

That is going to be one massive bench. I like the side-to-side orientation, personally. But I also favour benches which have cabinets/storage in the base. I', wondering if you're going to lose storage in the middle of the shop with this rearrangement. Will the bench be on some sort of a mobile base? :huh:

Looking forward to seeing this unfold! :lurk:
 

Stuart Ablett

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15,885
Location
Tokyo Japan
Hmmm, how high is your ceiling? Build yourself a wooden floor on 2x6 "joists" and you can run power and DC right to the middle, no more tripping on DC lines! :whistling::saythat:

okay okay, I know it's not fair to tease you about the floor.
Tease away, I'd still love to put a wooden floor down, but I just don't think it will happen any time soon :(



Art Mulder said:
That is going to be one massive bench. I like the side-to-side orientation, personally. But I also favour benches which have cabinets/storage in the base. I', wondering if you're going to lose storage in the middle of the shop with this rearrangement.
Yes I will lose some storage, but I'll gain a bunch of working space, besides, I have too much stuff down there anyways, need to thin the heard a bit :thumb:


Art Mulder said:
Will the bench be on some sort of a mobile base? :huh:

Looking forward to seeing this unfold! :lurk:

Mobile base? No need, I'll just drag the sucker around a bit as needed :D
 

Stuart Ablett

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15,885
Location
Tokyo Japan
The more I thought about what guy on another site said, the more I got thinking about having the pith in two of the beams that make up the top of the bench. Not wanting to have to fix my bench or rebuild the darn thing, thanks again Scott for the catch.

I decided that I did not need to completely cut the beams in half, as originally suggested, but just get the pith out....







I have been reading a lot on the web about building these benches and apparently this is not that uncommon a problem, having a pith in the large slab of wood, and the solution is often to just remove the pith as I have done...... I guess I will see how it works.

I just used my Festool track saw to dig out the pith, easy to do.

This is on the bottom of the bench, so it does not matter a bit and will not be seen. I guess I could fill the grooves in on the ends, just to make a flat groove free clamping surface....?

Cheers!
 

Tony Baideme

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Location
Honolulu, Hawaii
Stu,

Are these grooves to relieve possible internal pressure, to preventing cracking?

Rather than just short pieces in the grooves at the ends, how about a full length "spline" glued in those groves? Feasable?

I'm watching this project.

Aloha, Tony.
 
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Stuart Ablett

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15,885
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Tokyo Japan
Stu,

Are these grooves to relieve possible internal pressure, to preventing cracking?

Rather than just short pieces in the grooves at the ends, how about a full length "spline" glued in those groves? Feasable?

I'm watching this project.

Aloha, Tony.

That is the theory, the pith is the center of the tree, when the wood changes in dimensions due mainly to humidity changes, having the pith in the very center of the board does not allow room for these changes in the wood to move, removing the pith should allow this.
 
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Stuart Ablett

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15,885
Location
Tokyo Japan
I'm still plugging away at the bench, anytime I can get down there I head down there, it is cool and somewhat dry in the Dungeon :D

I'm practicing making these through dovetails.....


Got things laid out, I then used a bit and brace to remove as much stock as I could. This worked OK, but the bit I have is not the best for this, it is designed to bore a hole through beams, but it is not the most exact tool. I have both 1" and 3/4" bits on order.



The results are OK....... well actually they suck....:rolleyes: :rofl: now you can see why I'm practicing!

Next up, are the mortice and tenon joints for the stretcher around the bottom of the legs.


This looks OK, but I don't like the way it leaves too little wood on the leg....





Back to the drawing board.... :huh:

Then I reread the Workbench book and I figured it out......




This way I get lots of meat on the front side of the mortice, no problem them


Then I tried the Drawbore technique, this works well!





I'll put three drawbore pins into each joint. I'm making progress, but it is slow, I can't do much work on this at night, as it required a fair bit of pounding, and pounding transfers too well through the concrete of the building and that is just not fair to the tenants. (plus my wife would kill me!! :eek:)

I have some bits on order from Lee Valley, I'm going to get a real leg vice screw.
I still have to put the groove in the bottom side for the deadman, and some other work for the leg vice, I'm hoping to use the deadman from the old bench and the leg vice as well.

A question, making the through dovetails in the bench top, I have the benchtop to cut and the tops of the legs to cut, which would you cut first? I can see pluses and minus points for each :huh: I plan on doing all the M&T joints for the legs and stretchers first, so that will be a unit, so to speak. I think if I do it that way, then I'd be better to cut the legs first, then use the cut legs as templates to cut the through tenons on the bench top...?

Cheers!
 

Stuart Ablett

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15,885
Location
Tokyo Japan
I got all the mortices drilled and squared up, and all of the tenons cut as well, with only mild persuasion I put it together............



...... Next up I have to drawbore the M&T joints, or maybe I'll wait until I cut the dovetailed through tenons on the legs, then on the top, fit those, then do the drawboring.... order of construction is something you have to think about on this kind of project. My tail vice screw came from Lee Valley today which is good, but my new auger bits have been delayed until the 26th of July :eek: I'll have to figure out something else I guess. I wanted to do the waste removal from the through tenons with the brace and an auger bit, as I can't exactly put the top onto the drill press and use the forstner bit like I did for the mortices on the legs..... we shall see I guess....:thumb:
 

Art Mulder

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London, Ontario
OT but... Black fan on ceiling? Is that for cooling or circulation? I've seen pictures of your ducts before so I know you have fresh air intakes/exhaust.

Your Shop is so packed that it is often interesting to check out the backgrounds on photos.

The legs look beefy. I notice the "F" on the bottom of each leg. Is that F for Foot or F for Front? I'm curious about naming techniques. I usually put "B" for Bottom on my pieces and "Fr" for Front.

Looking good!
 

Stuart Ablett

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15,885
Location
Tokyo Japan
OT but... Black fan on ceiling? Is that for cooling or circulation? I've seen pictures of your ducts before so I know you have fresh air intakes/exhaust.
I have two of those fans, the Varado or something, they make a strong straight stream of air, they are for circulation, mostly in the winter. The Dungeon has a large beam that hangs down from the ceiling, solid concrete that is about 20" in depth, so in the winter, the heater is on one side of the beam, as you know warm air rises, so that beam keeps all the warm air on one side of the Dungeon, the two fans, make the air circulate, works fairly well.

Art Mulder said:
Your Shop is so packed that it is often interesting to check out the backgrounds on photos.
Yeah, I do the same looking at other guys shop pics, always looking for some cool ideas! :thumb:

Art Mulder said:
The legs look beefy. I notice the "F" on the bottom of each leg. Is that F for Foot or F for Front? I'm curious about naming techniques. I usually put "B" for Bottom on my pieces and "Fr" for Front.

Looking good!

"F" is for "Face" as in the face side of the leg, front would not work as there is a back and a front to the bench. They are also all numbered. The bench top is sitting right side up, as you cannot see the grooves I put on the bottom, the legs are also sitting right side up, they are on top of the table, but the orientation is correct. This way I tried to pick out the best sides of the legs to show, if that makes sense.

With a little luck, this should be done by early next week.

Cheers!
 

Stuart Ablett

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Location
Tokyo Japan
It is Thursday here in Tokyo, tomorrow we are taking our daughter to the airport as she is off to Canada for her summer vacation, lucky girl! I'll not get anymore work done on this until Saturday, at the earliest, but I did get the leg dovetailed tenons cut today.





I'm quite happy how they turned out, now I just have to cut and chop the tenons through the top, that is a bit of a daunting task I must say! :eek:

I think I'll do one more practice shot on the left over chunk of wood I have.

I can't use the drill press do to this, as I cannot easily wrestle the bench top on to the drill press, so I have to use an electric hand drill, or a brace, the problem with the brace is I don't have any decent hand auger bits, the ones I got from my dad are in rough shape. They are not something you get off the shelf here in Tokyo. I ordered some from the US but some how the "Expedited Shipping" that was supposed to take 5-8 days has now been changed to "Delivery by July 26th" :eek: I am concerned that even if I use a power drill it will not drill straight, so I might just try it with some smaller bits...?

My tail vice screw from Lee Valley came, so I can start planing for that too, it sure looks like a nice piece of kit! I'll have to turn a handle for it as well.

Lots to do on this but it is coming together.:thumb:
 

Bill Satko

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The Methow
Really nice looking tenons Stu and that Doug Fir is some of the best I have seen except for old growth. The common belief around here is that all the really good timber gets sent to Japan and it sure looks like it from your photos. I would really have to hand select the stacks in the lumber store here to get the same thing.

I suspect you already know about Chris Schwarz's French Workbench class he documented on the following link and how they made the mortises on the top before they glued everything up (see video where it is demonstrated). Too late for you though!

<<Link>>

So did you really hand cut those tenons or are you just teasing us with a shot of your handsaw? Me, I would have used that fine bandsaw you have!
 

Stuart Ablett

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15,885
Location
Tokyo Japan
Really nice looking tenons Stu and that Doug Fir is some of the best I have seen except for old growth. The common belief around here is that all the really good timber gets sent to Japan and it sure looks like it from your photos. I would really have to hand select the stacks in the lumber store here to get the same thing.

I suspect you already know about Chris Schwarz's French Workbench class he documented on the following link and how they made the mortises on the top before they glued everything up (see video where it is demonstrated). Too late for you though!
<<Link>>

I may very well still use the Festool track saw to cut the font of the dovetail mortices, that is a great idea, but unless I were to rip all of my slabs into square pieces and then glue them back together, there really would be no way to copy his method for the back part of the through mortice.

I'm really liking the idea of making a jig and using the router to cut the tops and the bottom, as I don't think I have a bit long enough to plunge all the way though, or even half way through :rolleyes: :D then I'd just need to clean up the corners and I'd have a nice through mortice. More work to set up, but it sure would be a nice clean cut!

Bill Satko said:
So did you really hand cut those tenons or are you just teasing us with a shot of your handsaw? Me, I would have used that fine bandsaw you have!

For the cut in the middle of the leg, I first drilled a hole using a forstner bit all the way through, then I set up my resaw bandsaw to cut it out, after that I cleaned up the corners with the chisel, worked well. The front dovetailed tenon I certainly did cut by hand with the ripping side of my saw, worked really well, nice and easy, just cut shy of the line, then cleaned it up a bit with the block plane and a rasp thing I have, much like this.....

... but without the fancy handle, my handle is more like a file. This tool works very well, the coarse side really removes material quickly but the fine side leaves a fairly smooth surface.

I've also got t fit the QR Record vice I have and figure out the leg vice, I am toying with the idea of putting a wheel on the bottom of it to make it open and close easier, like this....



.... but maybe not, might be a bit fiddly....:rolleyes:
 
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