Monday, February 20, 2012

Roubo Stretchers

This is not glued up yet.
Just checking the fit.

After fitting all four legs to the two top boards, I set my sights on the stretchers.

Each of the two end assemblies will be made up of two legs and two short stretchers.  The pieces will be fox wedged, glued, and pinned with dowels.  I don't want these guys to come apart.

The long stretchers will be connected to the end assemblies with tusk tenons which might wiggle loose after a lot of handplaning, so I want to be sure the end assemblies are rigid.

I took a page from Chris Schwarz' Workbench Design Book to determine the location of the stretchers. First, I rested the top boards and legs upside-down on a work surface. Then I cut support boards to equal length, clamped them to the legs, and took turns laying each of the stretchers on top of them. This ensured that the stretchers were parallel to the top and enabled me to mark their location on the legs.

After that, I laid out and chopped the mortises, cut the matching tenons, and fit one end assembly together. I'll cut and fit the other assembly and then start working on the long stretchers.

I'm still calling this a transportable bench even though the end assemblies require one large man who works out on a regular basis or two middle-aged ladies to lift them.


Nancy said...

You mean I have to help you lift that thing?????????

Dyami Plotke said...

That's taking shape into one hell of a bench, Kari. Just let me know any time you need it schlepped and I'll do my best to assist.

Frontier Carpenter said...

Nice bench I'm jealous. Don't know if I'm buying the transportable part:)

Kari Hultman said...

Nancy, um...yes?

Thanks, Dyami! I may need to borrow that big flatbed of yours someday.

F.C., yeah, me neither. Still have my fingers crossed but I won't know if it will be movable or even if it will go together until the last piece is cut. This will be interesting...

Austen Dupleix said...

How heavy do you think it will end up being? (quite a bit, seeing as its a bench I assume)
and why did you decide to use fox wedged tenons instead of through tenons secured with a pin?

I'm merely intrigued.

John Cashman said...

I'm confused. It seemed that it was going to be portable because the top was two pieces, front and back. But if the front and rear legs are permanently joined by the short stretchers, does that mean you would have to drive the top up off of the legs to move them separately? It seems like, once it was all assembled, the top might never come off again. I think I'm missing something.

Kari Hultman said...

Austen, the long stretchers go through the legs at the same point as the lower short stretchers, so the short stretcher tenons can't go all the way through the legs. You could use through tenons on the top short stretchers, though.

John, you're not missing anything. That's exactly the plan. Whether or not it will work remains to be seen. My thinking is that each half of the top will only have to fit over two legs, which should make them easier to install and remove. I'll probably need to pare the tenons/dovetails on the legs and wax them. It may or may not work. Either way, I still have a bench that's better than the cheapie one I've been using for 20 years.

Vic Hubbard said...

Very beautiful piece, Kari!! 'Gives me goosebumps!

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