Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Completed Split Top Roubo Workbench of Tropical hardwood.

Split Top Roubo Bench made of tropical hardwood.

 Updated : January 13, 2016
Most recent posting on Sam Maloof's Inspired Rocker : Rocker Template ready to go
Plus an additional link to the my Sam Maloof Inpired Rocker blog located beside home icon.

Updated : August 01, 2015

My next project will be a Sam Maloof's Inspired Rocker in Meranti Wood .

 Updated : June 23, 2015

This  Split Top Roubo Workbench is also featured at The Wood Whisperer and Lumberjocks website.

Updated : May 09, 2015

Duration                   : 25 months, inclusive of 12 months for wood drying time and bench parts 

Type of Wood          : Tropical hard wood, Shorea genus of Dipterocarpaceae family wood or 
                                  simply called  “Kayu Meranti" here in Malaysia.

Parts                       : Benchcrafted Tail Vise,  Wagon Leg Vise (various local hardware stores).

Person involved    : Myself

Wood Finish        : Linseed Oil only.

Tools                    : Hand tools ( Chisels, mallets, hand saw, etc.), Power tools (trimmer, router, 
                               mitre saw, jig saw, hand sander, hand planer, etc.)

This Split Top Roubo Workbench was completed not without any minor mistakes. These minor mistakes  are corrected and readjusted accordingly. 

First, it was the joining of the not so dry bench top leaving a 2mm-3mm of gap in between. It was rectified by inlaying a piece of small 5mm by 11mm.

Second, (big time stupid mistake) by cutting the extra protruding part of  leg vise to match the table top. Accidentally cut 10mm deep, 1/3 length below the table top length. It was then corrected by filling it with pieces of wood sheets and painted. Not so visible after all.(shown in pic a, b, c.)

Third, the tail vise dovetails gap. Still dumbfounded by this mistake. However, I think the mistake was the asymmetrical front and back of the dovetail tenon. I then use it to stencil the mortise to the end cap. The problem was solved by filling up the gaps using sheets of thinly sliced wood.

 Anyways, I'm glad that I've completed this Split Top Roubo Workbench and now I can continue on to the next project. I took  25 months to complete this workbench, inclusive of 12 months of wood collection and drying. Also not to mention accumulation of tools at the same time.

Updated May 09,2015 : I'm also actively involved in Lumberjocks forum, link here

pic a

pic b

pic c

(The Tail Vise) Split Top Roubo Bench Progress as of May 08, 2015

The Bencrafted Tail Vise (Design and product)

The installation of my Benchcrafted Tail Vise didn't go as smoothly as I'd expected to be. 

Firstly, dove tails (one of many types of joinery), never underestimate how easy one could hand craft out a dovetails on a piece of wood. Being a novice woodworker myself, self learning from the internet and books are my only source of guidance and know how on how to hand craft a lovely and sharp dove tails. Meanwhile, having a sharp tool (i.e razor sharp chisel)  will give you an advantage on cutting out an accurately fitting dove tails.

Now, dovetails for my Split Top Roubo Workbench Top. I have deviated a little from the original Benchcrafted blue print for the workbench. As such, a common practice by other woodworkers, the workbench top consist of 7 (total width per side 11.1875") pieces of 1.5" by 4" by 7.25' lumber glued together to form the workbench top.  However my workbench top are made of 2 pieces of 11" by 2" by 7.33'. 

Thus, because of these layout designs the installation of the tail vise end cap and also the method of stenciling the dovetail  tenon on to the end cap is rather different. In following my design, dog hole backing strip, dog hole strip and front laminate are eliminated. I just need to carve out a grove for the sliding plate block and also the tenon for the end cap.

In the Benchcrafted Tail Vise installation guidelines, after carving out the sliding plate rail groves and the grove for the sliding plate, the tenon of the vise tail can then be carved out on the front laminate. There after the tail vise end cap is placed in front of the dovetail front laminate and marked/stenciled to form the other mortise of the dovetail on the end cap. When both dovetails are completed, the end cap is then installed first to the top bench followed by the joining of the carved out dovetail front laminate. Fastened with screws.

Since it is impossible to remove my front laminate, simply because it does not exist, so cutting out the dovetails tenon and mortise is a little different. Instead of having a front laminate, I have a section of front laminate which is the sliding plate block grove. The difference between the "Benchcrafted tail vise installation guidelines" and my method is that, 
1. Benchcrafted tail vise  installation guidelines utilizes the front laminate which  is removable and installed as the last piece for the completion of the tail vise. 
2. My method of installation of the tail vise is when the sliding plate block grove being stationary with the movable end cap as the last piece for the completion of the tail vise.
(Shown in pic I,II,III,a,b,c,d)

pic I

pic II (In the final stage the tenon are of reduced size (not shown))

pic III

Since the section of the front laminate is non removable, the end cap has to be slide in from the side facing of the bench rather than installing it from the front facing of the bench (as in the benchcrafted guidelines) (Shown in pic a,b,c,d). Dovetails are stenciled from the side of the non removable laminate to its end cap. Here, the end cap horizontal mortise is longer then the bench top tenon for allowing the sliding in of the end cap later in the installation (not shown).

pic a

pic b

pic c

pic d

In Summary, I'm still dumbfounded as to why there's a 2"-3"gap on my dovetails as I've stenciled and place the end cap perfectly on the side of the tenon dovetail (shown in d1). Perhaps the dovetails are asymmetrical on the front and back. Anyways, the horizontal sides of the dovetails are perfectly matching. (Shown in pic a1, b1, c1 are the stenciling and cutting of the tenon dovetails).





Pieces of thinly cut wooden sheets to fill up the dovetail gaps.

Sliding plate block and bench dog

tail vise parts

End result of a Not so perfect dovetail joinery :(     I'm gonna regret this

End result of a Not so perfect dovetail joinery with tail vise heel attached  :(     I'm gonna regret this

 Coming soon on next write up.....


Sunday, April 12, 2015

(The Bench Dog) Split Top Roubo Bench Progress as of April 12, 2015

Today, I wanna talk about bench dogs. Bench dogs are normally square in shape, but some may adopt a circular/round ones, like I do.

Initially I've design my bench dogs to look like this, with its bullet catcher.

Bench Dog
Pic courtesy of

Since the dog hole is really tight and I've to sand down the bench dog just a little, maybe 1/4 mm to make it fit snugly into the dog hole. The sanding of the bench dog was done below the cut grove so this makes the bench dog slides easily in all the way through the dog hole till it reaches the cut grove where more pressure is needed to push it in all the way through to hide the bench dog when not in use. 

Because of this feature, I forgone the installation of the bullet catcher. I may use it in near future if the dog holes get larger. Here, I also uses plush EVA foam sheet adhere to the "wood stopper grove". The plush EVA foam is adhere to the grove with shoe/leather adhesive rather than a PVA wood glue for easy removal in near future.

Below are some pics of my completed bench dogs,

Readily cut bench dogs to its length.

Bullet catchers not in use for bench dogs.

A 2 degrees line for the "wood stopper grove" was marked onto every bench dogs.

A perpendicular line sawn into the grove and the remaining part was chiseled out with a chisel.

A completed bench dogs.

Bench dogs completed with plush EVA foam stuck to it. I use a shoe adhesive instead of a PVA glue for future easy removal of the EVA foam. (Sun Brand Adhesive which are locally available)

A row of completed bench dogs.

A row of completed bench dogs.

Sun Brand Contact Adhesive available locally here in Malaysia.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

(The Signature Red Accent) Split Top Roubo Bench Progress as of March 31, 2015

I have been busy compiling pics I've taken on my woodwork. So far, mostly all components of the bench have been completed (bench top, legs, stretches, leg vise, gap stop, shelve board, dog holes, etc) except for the tail vise, bench dogs and hold fast.

As of today, I think I've only screw up one minor part of the bench which is the bench top. I was being too impatient when gluing two pieces of the bench top together rather than waiting for the wood to dry completely after milling it.

As a result, Both pieces of glued bench top are held together with dowels warped a little leaving a small 2-4 mm gap in between of the two pieces of wood.

To rectify the problem, I then route a 6mm deep gap between the two pieces of wood and inlay it with a piece of wood to cover the obvious 2-4 mm gap hole. The protruding glued inlay was then trimmed off using a block plane. It was a cosmetic touch up that have corrected the problem and is treated as a design style from my mistake.

I've also completed the shelve board for the bench by using 7.5" by 1/2" board.

Below are some pics of the problem and its solutions.

Update:  (as of April 01, 2015)

Purchasing a holdfast will cost me a fortune if I were to order it online especially with shipping cost.  A workbench holdfast is simply not available here in Malaysia (don't even mention getting a Roubo Holdfast).

Anyways, I'm researching on how to forge a Roubo Holdfast and needed help. Please leave comments, ideas, methods ways on how to forge a holdfast. I also appreciate any recommendation of any helpful links, blogs or websites on forging a holdfast.

Visible 2-4 mm gap between 2 piece of glued bench top as a result of warping when gluing 2 not so dry wood together.

Visible 2-4 mm gap between 2 piece of glued bench top as a result of warping when gluing 2 not so dry wood together.

To rectify the problem a 5mm x 11mm gap is routed between the gap and later inlay with a piece of wood.

To rectify the problem a 5mm x 11mm gap is routed between the gap and later inlay with a piece of wood.

To rectify the problem a 5mm x 11mm gap is routed between the gap and later inlay with a piece of wood. The protruding inlay is yet to be trim of using a block plane.

As you can see, the right side of the bench top hasn't been inlay with a piece of wood yet. You can also noticed that the shelve bench has been completed.

Presto! Here are the end result of the cosmetic finished on my bench top.

Presto! Here are the end result of the cosmetic finished on my bench top.
Bench top has just been coated with linseed oil. It will take a couple days for it to settle into the wood. By then it will be a darker color.

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