Friday, March 30, 2012

Roubo: Another Progress Shot

I promise to blog about all this when I've finished building my bench. In the meantime, I've installed the long stretchers and tusk tenons—the wedges will eventually have a decorative shape. Now it's on to the sliding deadman.


Marilyn in Seattle said...

So what da ya think? Are you happy with how its turning out? Anything you'd do differently? You've been talking about a bench for a while. Are you glad to done with it?

What does Nancy think about all the hubbub over workbenches?

Kari Hultman said...

Marilyn, I love the roubo design and there isn't a thing I'd do differently. Some people might find that the cherry top is too soft. It does ding pretty easily, but I'm willing to put up with it.

I'm having some trouble with the parallel guide. Even though it fits in the mortise snugly, it dips forward a tiny bit when I open the vise. That makes it jam. I'm tempted to cut the mortise a lot larger top and bottom so the guide only touches the sides of the mortise. I sent an email to Chris Schwarz to see what he has to say.

Nancy is being very patient. We haven't gone to a movie or had a weekend excursion since I started this in December. We're both ready for a break!

Jamie Bacon said...

That's one beautiful bench Kari. No surprise there though. You always produce top notch stuff. That leg vise is exquisite. It has a graceful, feminine quality to it. Nice choice on the cherry too. One of my favorite woods.

Marilyn in Seattle said...

Hopefully you'll get a chance to blog about you're parallel guide fix (she says selfishly since she also has to make one).

My work bench top is Doug Fir and even softer. So far, it has a nice used look and has yet to dent anything I'm working on which is mostly cherry. So I've been pretty happy with it.

Hopefully there some wonderful spring gardens and/or community fairs in both you're futures.

Thanks for sharing your good information!

JimK said...

Looks good Kari. Massive... the way a bench should be. Nice touch on the curvacious vise jaw.

Kari Hultman said...

Jamie, there are lots of boo-boos on the bench, but I still might try to bring it with me to the sapfm meeting. Can't wait to see what new tools you'll bring!

Marily, I will blog about it for sure. :o)

Thanks, Jim. I weighed each piece and it comes in at 193 pounds. Once I get the tool box built and loaded underneath it will be even heavier.

pjped said...

OK - and I'm being sincere here - this is my favorite bench I've seen, hands down.
I love the Moravian benches, the Nicholsons, and the wonderful Benchcrafted Shaker bench with the Acorn H-hinges. I've looked at benches in FWW, PWW, the web, all the usual workbench books. But this combination of Cherry, Brass, and Maple is just so classy and strong and refined.
Cherry is my favorite wood, or maybe it's tied with White Pine, but I prefer Cherry when planing.
If you taught a design class at WIA, I would drive my creaky old Jetta from Long Island to Cincinnati in the rain just to see it. And I went to Philadelphia College of Art for Design back in... well lets say back when I looked more like Anthony Michael Hall than my current Elton John meets Gary Bussey look. OK, too much information.
Great bench, Kari!


Chris Adkins said...

First time I have stopped by in a while... the bench looks great Kari! Love the overall look. I look forward to seeing the finished details.

Aaron said...

Kari, for what it's worth I think you're on the right track with the parallel guide mortise. The top and bottom of the mortise are typically looser because the guide will sag a little on the screw. Even the Benchcrafted guys call for a looser mortise at the top and bottom, and they have those roller wheels that really prevent the guide from sagging at all.

The bench is looking amazing!

Jonathan Szczepanski said...

Kari -

The bench looks GOOD! I have had the same problem with my parallel guide. Please let us know if and how you solve the issue. Are you doing anything else to the bench? More importantly, have you named it yet? I'm thinking Gaia, since it's so well-grounded. :-)


Bob said...

I too have to say, this is a damned fine looking bench.
I have the standard European "Frank Klaus" version that I built over the winter of 90/91. Yes yes, I know, you were only in short pants way back then...
Just wanted to pipe up and say your efforts, and your willingness to share them, are greatly appreciated.

Unknown said...

Kari, This is an awesome bench. If you already posted this I apologize but was are the basic dimensions. It looks a little smaller than other Robou benches I have seen.

Kari Hultman said...

Pete, wow--thanks! I'm not familiar with Moravian benches, but they sound like something I'd like. I'll check it out.

Thanks, Chris. I never thought it would take this long to build the bench, but I'm glad I did (and am VERY glad it's almost finished!).

Aaron, I emailed Chris and he confirmed that he had to do the same thing with the bench he built in 2005, so I'll do that with mine as well. I'll do a blog post about it in case anyone is planning to build one.

Jonathan, I found out from Chris Schwarz that a taller mortise, top and bottom, will solve the problem. I'm working on a sliding deadman this weekend and need to shape the wedges and ends of the tusk tenons, finish-sand the base, and apply finish. Almost there....

Bob, the Klausz bench was the one I had always planned to build until I saw Chris Schwarz' Roubo. That shoulder vise on the Klausz seems really handy. That's a much more difficult bench to build, though. It would have taken me a year to build one.

Thanks, David. The bench is 59" long, 34" tall, and 19.5" wide, give or take. It's basically the exact same size as the bench I've used for 20 years so I'm accustomed to a taller bench. According to the pinkie knuckle rule, though, my bench should only be about 29" high.

Terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry said...

Very nice, Kari. I'm always delighted to see what you have to say here. Thanks.

pjped said...


In addition to these sites, Roy Underhill had an episode where he went on location to see them.


Anonymous said...

For the parallel guide, it might be sufficient to round the edge of the mortise above-inside and below-front (where the edge dent in the guide).
Maybe, in addition, some parafin on top and below of the guide might help.

Very nice work.


Anonymous said...

Great looking bench, I've been following along.

Do you really think a sliding dead man is required? The bench doesn't seem long enough to justify one.


Shannon said...

Kari, I just rubbed some paste wax into the parallel guide mortise and all is right with the world again.

Kari Hultman said...

Thank you, Terry. :o)

Pete, thanks so much for the links. Those are very cool benches. Old Salem has been on my "must visit" list for awhile, so this is another reason to move it up on the list.

Sylvain, I had added a shim to the mortise in the front/bottom and back/top, plus wax on the guide which did work. I had to scrape the wax to apply the finish and now it's jamming again. Could be the lack of wax or could be that the cherry is just too soft for the maple endgrain inside the mortise. I'll try the wax one more time before enlarging the mortise.

Andrew, I didn't think I needed one either—I wanted to build one because I think they're cool. But it seems like it might actually come in handy. The span between the legs is 27", so a workpiece that's just shy of reaching the leg (provided I drill holes in it) would be tough to handle without the deadman. I built the deadman this weekend and I believe I'll use it.

Shannon, it was working with two shims and wax until I removed the wax to put finish on it. I'll try the wax one more time before enlarging the mortise. The cherry guide is getting compressed pretty badly by the maple endgrain inside the mortise, so I might have to enlarge it anyhow. A maple guide would probably have been a better idea.

Brian said...

Kari, I have noticed that the kits for those vices sometimes come with rollers for the parallel guide, one for the top in back and the bottom in front. Seems like that would take the weight of the vice board and a lot of friction off the wooden screw and make everything work easier. I'd think you could even make the wheels in wood and mortise them into the legs.

On the other hand, the carpenter that built the traditional french bench at my inlaws didn't even try for a close fit for the parallel guide. He just cut a slot up from the bottom of the leg with lots of room all around. One thing though might be that the vice screw and nut are really massive and in steel.

But anyway, Wow, what a beautiful bench. Your blog is always a pleasure.

Nathan Jackman said...

Unbelievable - it almost seems a shame to do any work on it!