Sunday, January 22, 2012

Number 9, Number 9, Number 9...Everyone must build Roubo

If you've been paying attention and you know the bloggers I do, you know that for one reason or another workbenches are "it" right now.  Kari Hultman of the Village Carpenter has started her version of the Andres Roubo workbench.  Erik Gilling of Better Living Through Woodworking and Chris Adkins of High Rock Woodworking are just two off the top of my head that are building along with me and we're building along with The Woodwhisperer Guild, headed by yet another bench builder and entrepreneur, Marc Spagnuolo.  It seems everyone is taking slightly different approaches to the bench, but the one thing they all have in common is they are the Roubo workbench that Chris Schwarz popularized in the woodworking community with his books on workbenches.  Be sure to check out their blogs, you can even view Marc's progress on his woodworking blog that is housed on his free site The Woodwhisperer.

This last week I finally got back into the shop.  I'm now in the process of building the parts and assembling the Benchcrafted leg vise.  The first step was after I finished fitting the glide to the roughed out chop, was to figure out the location of the of the hole for the vise's screw and the mortise for the guide rail.  I just clamped everything in place, leaving about 1/16" on the top of the chop that I will flush after the complete install.

I transferred all the marks to the chop and drilled for the screw.

For the glide mortise, I started by using my Triton router with an edge guide to make  the initial slots on either side of the leg.  I drilled the waste between the two slots with my drill press and cleaned everything up with my chisels.

After checking alignment, I drilled the hole through the leg for the screw and laid out the design on the chop, which is a continuation of the design used for the glide.  The design is based on the chevron design found in the art deco style.  You can barely see it laid in this picture of the chop.
The wheel and screw are actually fastened to the chop with machine screws and required tapping.  Luckily, my Grandpa had given me his tap and die set.  It was nice to finally be able to use it.
I mounted the hand wheel and tested the clearance of the glide in the glide mortise.  After that, I cut out the design for the chop and cleaned it up with my chisels.  My chisel of choice is my 2".  It's probably the most used blade in my shop.  The weight and size make it very easy to yield for many operations.  

I made some 3/8" dowels on my Woodrat from the Osage Orange, drilled the holes to pin the glide and drove the dowels home.  Since Orange Osage is so hard, it should do well as a pin for this purpose.

Late last night I posed the question to my social media friends, should I inlay this nut or not?  Was there any reason I should other than that seems to be the thing to do. The overwhelming response was to do the inlay, but no particular reasons why it may be better to do so, in terms of integrity.  I decided to go ahead and do the inlay, thinking that besides being slightly better looking, it would put less stress on the machine threads that are only holding in Fir, which is considered a softwood.  Today, Marc Spagnuolo saw that I had decided to do the inlay and concurred on the possibility of this being slightly better in terms of strength.
The operation was again at the drill press using my large diameter forstner bit to hog the majority of the waste from the recess.  I cleaned the perimeter with a chisel and got to the final depth and a clean bottom with my router plane.  Here is the nut after the inlay process.  
This morning while I drank my coffee, I decided to do some detail work on the chop and glide.  The glide "stub" sits proud and rather than cutting it off flush to the surface, I decided to facet it, as well as cleaning up the final edges of the chop.  This is a detail I later found will need to be changed.

The last thing I did today was start to rough out the glide wheel brackets.  Once I get these done, I can finally glue up the base and set the tops on!

I'm pretty close to wrapping this project.  I still have dogs to make and the lower shelf.


Kari Hultman said...

Wow, Vic, you got a lot done! You're soooo close to completion. The inlay looks really nice--it was worth the extra effort.

Peter Smith said...

Great looking bench. I also like the Beatles title.

Tom Stephenson said...

Such nice work. Following your build is inspiring me in my own build. Thanks for the post!

tom buhl said...

I am satisfying my vicarious bench cravings watching your build and some of the others in your fan club.

I haven't even begun mine (other than having hardware in hand) and already I am torn by a sudden flurry of design ideas I want to pursue. One at least would be nice to have a real bench to work on, but do I want to wait.

Such sweet dilemmas to endure.
Very proud of your efforts.
Thanks for sharing.

Vic Hubbard said...

Kari, thanks. I just saw your legs. Sexy!!! I can see you spending eight hours on one. I keep thinking I'm slow, but I don't really care when I'm doing hand work. I just enjoy it.

Peter, I grew up with the Beatles as my favorite group. Ironically, Revolution No. 9 is one of the only songs I really don't care for. Too much Yoko in it.

Tom S., I hadn't realized you were building a Roubo, too. I've added you to my reader, which I'm horribly behind on.

Tom, it is indeed a great day when I get praise from the two people I admire most in the "amateur" world. Your pieces always take my breath away. Always subtle and always extremely elegant.

Anonymous said...

Hi Vic,

Is it as easy to make dowels using the Woodrat as the manual indicates? Are there any tricks you can share?