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Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

author-gravatar burl Jun 28, 2020

I had a good amount of Black Walnut I had bought in bulk.  There was a fair amount of it that was too warped or damaged to get more than 3' out of it.  So, naturally, I decided to use it to make my new workbench.  I started with inspiration from Jay Bates workbench, but did a few things differently.  

I still have to do dog holes, but for all intents and purposes, it's ready to go.  I'm just waiting to use it some before I determine where I want to put the holes.  This was a super fun project

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Starting with a stack of 10 2x10's and a few walnut boards I already had milled.  I let them dry a bit more in my shop for a month before dimensioning. 

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Started getting leg blanks ready by laminating three 1" boards, about 5" initial width.  

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

In the middle of the project, I realized I really hated my old DW734 so upgraded to the cutech and I'm REALLY happy with it.  The dust collection is top notch

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Lots of planing later, and having ripped them to 4.5" width, I have pieces for the first half of the split top ready to laminate

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

This was already heavy as hell.  I would grow to hate moving these pieces around

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

While the top glues up, back to working on the legs.  

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Random shop photo, the bench will go about where I am

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Got the legs jointed and planed to final size.  About 3" thick and 4.5" wide

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Gluing up the second half of the top

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Started my mortising out sections for the stretchers.  I had to step it up to painters tape to keep track as two sides of each needed a mortise cut out.  My shoulder plane was great for sneaking up on the fit, but most was hogged out on the tablesaw

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

I truly dislike this jointer.  I clear clogs before each use, but inevitably by the second pass, it clogs again and EVERYTHING comes out the top and on to my floor.  Hate it, even with a dedicated dust collection hose on it

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

The top two pieces have been put through the planer.  That was fun.  These things are heavy as hell

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Even with the nice new planer, I needed to sand for a long time to reduce mill marks.  I think I probably could have let them dry even more.  

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Starting to dry fit the base.  The stretcher pieces hadn't been cut to length yet obviously

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench
Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

I had originally thought about doing through mortises, but ended up just doing traditional.  They are 1" x 3" and 2.25" deep

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Here I'm starting to lay out the stretcher for the top support of the bench top.  I kinda cheated and instead of doing mortise and tenon, just took out a kind of rabbet.  Later on I strengthened with dowels sunk 4" in

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Not a bad fit

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Took out most with forstner bits before cleaning up with a chisel

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

All the parts of the base ready for assembly.  Not shown, I went ahead and drilled holes for the leg vise on all four legs for flexibility

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Before assembly, I put elongated holes in the top stretcher to allow for the top to expand and contract

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Here we go!

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Recess for the top stretcher

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Side stretcher

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Glued these up completely before glueing the long stretchers to connect each half.  Also chamfered the feet

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Base is assembled

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench
Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Testing out the leg vise hole diameter

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

No screws, just 1/2" dowels sunk a few inches in to reinforce the glued joints

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Starting to lay out the mortises in the underside of the top for the base to recess into

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Again hogged most out with a forstner bit and followed behind with chisels

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

They sat about halfway in without any persuasion.  I call that good luck!

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

A little convincing with my deadblow mallet sat them down the rest of the way.  

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Still just dry fit to the top, now I'm starting on the sliding deadman.  I cut a triangle piece of solid maple for the bottom to slide on.  I didn't want to mill another whole piece of walnut and it won't be glued on.  I plan to update it later (along with the leg vise) when I have more scrap ready

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

The vise I got from Lee Valley was green, but I like black with walnut, plus it'll match the casters

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

I had to take this half of the top off to route a channel for the deadman to slide in.  Used a homemade edge guide with an upspiral bit to cut it

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

The deadman in it's base form.  the V groove on the bottom and rabbet on the top

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

I took some of the bulk off the sides with my bandsaw then drilled alternating 3/4" holes every inch (two inches apart per side)

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Moves pretty easily

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Put a few coats of danish oil on to protect it at least a little and make it pretty

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Getting ready for assembly, making sure the bolt slides easily for movement

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

My wife checking the structural integrity

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Starting on the leg vise chop.  I'm going to eventually make this walnut like the rest of the base, but I had 1x8 poplar sitting on my lumber rack that was readily available.  It'll do for now.  3 pieces laminated together.  Here I'm cutting out the area where the bottom wedge will go

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

It works!!!

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Like Jay Bates, used a dowel to restrict lateral movement.  Works great

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Final shot, all ready for use

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

Close up of the figured walnut in the deadman

Photo of Psuedo-Roubo walnut and pine workbench

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