Monday, February 6, 2012

Roubo Design

A few people have asked about the two boards that make up the top of my workbench. Here is my design so you can see what it will look like.

I do not plan to glue the two boards together. That way, I can more easily remove the top by myself when I need to take the bench on the road.

Half a bench or skinny hall table?
You decide.
The two boards will be separated by about an eighth inch gap. Because it's winter (low humidity), I'll keep an eye on the space, and as we approach Pennsylvania's 75% summertime humidity—and the boards expand like my waistband at Christmastime—I can shave off some wood in between the two.

The boards will be supported by upper stretchers on the end assemblies. I'm hoping that with each board pinned to two legs and supported by the short stretchers, it will keep the top stable. If they slide at all, I'll need join the two boards with something that still allows them to be separated for disassembly.

The long lower stretchers will be tusk tenons so they can be removed. Both sets of short stretchers, upper and lower, will be mortised and glued into the legs.
Tenon/dovetail number two.

I plan to build a separate tool box that will sit on cleats that are attached to the lower stretchers.

I may or may not build a sliding deadman. It might not be necessary because the bench is so small, but it adds a coolness factor. And I'm all about aesthetics.

The leg chop will reflect my love of all things Pennsylvania German. I may tweak the design once I get to that part of the build but you can bet that it will have curves.
Transferring marks from one board to
the other. Pictured are the undersides
of the workbench top.

I'm fitting the third leg right now. Tenon/dovetail number two fits really well and took less than half the time. I sped up my time once I stopped paring like a girl.


Corey said...

Kari, I love the leg chop design. It's been great fun watching this come together for you. Beautiful work, as always.

Aaron said...

What a fantastic looking chop for the leg vise! It really adds some personality to the bench. You don't show the parallel guide, but I'd bet you have plans to make it similarly impressive. Will you sneak it under the bottom stretchers or will it be above the shelf?

Kari Hultman said...

Thanks, Corey and Aaron! The parallel guide will be above the stretchers and will have some kind of traditional ogee shape to match the deadman. I'll add chamfers and lamb's tongues to the stretchers and legs, as well.

Jonathan Szczepanski said...

Kari - The design looks nice. I think the chop is going to look incredible. I also like how you have sized the toolbox to fit the shelf. Nice touch. Question... Did you use Illustrator to draw out your plan?


Kari Hultman said...

Jonathan, yes--I used Illustrator CS5 and the illustration is to scale.

Jonathan Szczepanski said...

Kari -

I use Illustrator for my designs too. I guess it's the graphic artists in us. :-) Have you found a good way of doing a perspective drawing in Illustrator? I haven't yet. I always thought that someone would have built a plugin or template that you could draw on top of. I haven't found it yet, have you found anything like that?


pjped said...


This has become one of my favorite blogs, and the leg vise design is a perfect example why.
You have such a great design sense combined with technical skill, and the one component that is key to fully realizing the potential of the first two; good taste!

Thanks for the clear pictures presented so appealingly.


Anonymous said...

Kari, I like the design of the chop, however the "ears" on the bottom section, being turned up, are an invitation for something to be dropped on them. And then part of it will be on the floor. If they were curved down whatever might strike them will be deflected off. Looking forward to seeing it completed.

Kari Hultman said...

Jonathan, I haven't tried to create perspective drawings in Illustrator, but I'm not aware of any plugins that allow you to do that. Have you googled it? It might show up on one of the Mac forums.

Thanks, Pete! :o)

John, I wasn't so much concerned about breaking the ears (the chop will be 2" thick) as much as I wonder how often I'll box my ankles and shins on them. I like the design on the top half better than the bottom half so it will probably look a little different in final form.

Stephen Roberts said...

Dear Kari and Jonathan I did some looking and you can use sketchup with your illustrator files but only in the pro version but if you turn it into a jepg file you can inport it and use it as a guide. I use Autocad my self with Autodesk Inventor. But the bench looks great and I have been following it since the start as for the top have you thought of useing a spline along the length to keep the alined just don't glue one side. Keep up the good work and you have inspired me to start my own journey in woodworking.

The Fluffy Woodworker

CarlSanSoc said...

Hi Kari,

I guess I'm a couple years late coming to this build. It's beautiful. And inspiring. I saw your schematic drawing but can't seem to find dimensions. Maybe it's because I'm sneaking peaks at work. Am I missing seeing them or did you leave it relative and up to each individual to decide? Only thing I could find is how you determined height. Thanks in advance.


Kari Hultman said...

Hi Carl, I don't think I ever posted the dimensions, but here they are:

Top: 19.5" deep x 59.25" long x 2.875" thick (I split the top in two with a fat 1/8" in between)
Height of workbench: 34"
Base: flush with front and back, so 19.5" deep x 38.125" long
Legs: 4.5" x 5.5" x 34"

If you need anything else, just let me know. :)