Show off Your Handcrafted Projects. It's Free! Start Sharing

Split-Top Roubo Workbench

author-gravatar Squeazle Aug 09, 2017

As I got deeper into the rabbit hole of woodworking, I needed a much better means of holding work. I loved the Roubo style bench from the minute I saw it and had to have one. It's big-box-store SYP and Sapelle with Lake Erie Toolwoorks Maple screws for the vises.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

The finished product

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench
Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

How it started. carefully selected Lowes 2x12x16's, stickered in the shed and allowed to further dry for a few more months.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

5x5 legs glued up, mortises and tenons cut. Some of the mortises were made a little easier by cutting notches in one board and then sandwiching it between the other boards. 

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

Edge banding the plywood shelf with sapele. Thanks to Matthias Wandel for this trick when none of my clamps were long enough.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

I got way into the building part and forgot to take progress of the base but this is how I cut the sliding dovetail breadboards. The template is printed from Sketchup and the kerfs cut with circular saw and straight edge.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench
Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

A few hours with shoulder plane, straight edge, and square and they're as pretty as I can make 'em. 

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

A wider shot of the tops. If you look closely, one of the slats on the left side got cut a little short, leaving a gap. No worries, since it will be covered by the breadboard end. As an easter egg for future archaeologists, I slipped a few dollar coins into the gap and then put the end in place. 

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

Breadboards in place and drawbore pinned in place. So happy with the fit. 

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

A different angel and light.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

My shop assistant inspects the wedges before they're inserted.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

Purty, however, my OCD constantly scolds me for not cutting the back tenons narrower so they'd both be the same width once the wedges were in. Oh well, live and learn.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

With a little oil on 'em.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

Drawbored legs and stretchers, sapele pins

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

Leg vise with Lake Erie Toolworks hardware. With cork lining it holds like i bolted my work piece to a mountain.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench
Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

A pretty garter and brass screws (clocked, of course) because any thing worth making is worth making pretty.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

A backside view of the leg vise.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

Similar Lake Erie hardware for the wagon vise. I had to shave a little off the head of the screw to keep it all below the plane of the workbench top.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench
Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

UHMW runners make the action silky smooth.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

The middle shelf is only held in place by friction and a few hidden screws just in case it ever proves to be a bad idea, but it's been great so far.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

Center shelf supports from the back. Screws can easily be removed and the holes never be seen. 

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

The center tool holder/plane stop. In the future, I'll remake this from a solid piece. I use it as a plane stop often, and I remove it for center placed clamps a lot but I never use it to hold tools and shavings are always dropping into the black abyss. 

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench
Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench
Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

Now for some accessories for the new bench! First  up: Doe's foot.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

Shooting board

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

Bench hook

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

Doesn't everybody have Mjolnir in the shop?

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

Leather padded holdfasts.

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench
Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

Shelves loaded up with gear. As a pretty fit guy, it takes no small amount of effort to lift one end off the ground. This thing's not going anywhere. 

Photo of Split-Top Roubo Workbench

7 comments

Superb. That is a lifetime bench. 

I love SYP as a work surface. 

Thanks so much! I'm definitely sold on SYP for work surfaces and structural components. 

@Timmy2Hands  said:

Superb. That is a lifetime bench. 

I love SYP as a work surface. 

Awesome bench it's in my immediate future. 

Thanks, I appreciate it!

@Thom  said:

Awesome bench it's in my immediate future. 

VERY NICE, you do good work. Looks like a simple project, but it's not, the detail you put into it is awesome. You got my vote.

This is beautiful, im designing a bench like this right now and was curious how thick did you make the top? 

Thanks so much! It's 4" thick and really solid. If you're going to go with a split top, the only thing I'd change is the insert. I never use the tool rest function and it is a black hole for shavings, pencils screws, etc. I need to make a solid version. However, I use it as a plane stop a lot and it's awesome for that. 

@wickedcoast  said:

This is beautiful, im designing a bench like this right now and was curious how thick did you make the top? 

You need to be signed in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join now

10