Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012: Year of the Roubo

The one-handed grip wore me out.
Seems like everyone's building a Roubo workbench these days.

Marc Spagnuolo is even hosting a split-tip Roubo, group-build through his guild.

Many folks are blogging about or posting their progress on social networking sites. It's become quite a community-wide activity.

I've wanted to build my own bench for 20 years. And like many woodworkers, I've spent lots of time leafing through books and plans trying to settle on the best design.

I used a two-handed grip for more
power and control. 
However, as we become more experienced, our interests change and our skill levels improve. The bench you would have built 10 years ago is probably different than the one you'd build today.

I had finally decided to build Frank Klausz' workbench. That's when Chris Schwarz came out with his first workbench book. After he wrote his second workbench book, I realized that the Roubo design is the one for me.

I'm working with 12/4 and 8/4 rough cut timber which requires some amount of handwork. The boards are heavy and long, and it seemed unsafe to cut them to rough length on my sliding compound miter saw.

I debated whether or not to use a circular saw thinking my arms would be jelly if I tried to cut all the boards by hand. However, I don't have a lot of wiggle room to waste wood, and handsaws can be very accurate and leave a thin kerf. So, I reached for my most aggressive crosscut saw.

By the time I sawed the first board, my arm was indeed jelly. So I took a different approach with the second board.

I was a little off on this one.
I relaxed, slowed down, used a two-handed grip, concentrated my strength on the down stroke, slid the blade gently on the up stroke, and breathed evenly and deliberately. It actually became a pleasant task.

I sawed all the boards to rough length and wasn't the least bit tired.