Step-by-step photos of my “Roubo Jr.” workbench build from July of 2014. This project took a full day in the shop and about $50 worth of lumber. The goal was to create a traditional workbench on a smaller scale. Hope you find the process interesting, and maybe build one of your own!
All photos and descriptions copyright Jason Sinco Woodworks 2014
The prepared stock. I like to rip the rounded corners off of all my lumber. So, for this project we will need..
5 – 2x4x10
4 – 2x6x8
1 – 2x6x10
1 – 3/8″ dowel
lots and lots of glue and clamps
Here I’ve laid out the top. The 10′ 2×4’s have been cut in half and ripped down to 3″ wide. This gives me a top that is 5’x15″x3″. You can see how the through mortises for the legs are created in this step. The board is cut to 40″, a 5″ gap is left, then a 5″ block is added to fill in the end. Now is the time to make sure the best edges of your boards are facing up.
The glued and clamped top. This is a nerve wracking step, as you have to move quickly to get everything together before the glue starts to dry. You may want to glue up the top in sections. I, however, choose to live dangerously.
With the top set aside to dry, it’s time to start on the legs. Each leg will be glued up from two boards to make it a beefy 3″x5″. They will need a through mortise to accept the bottom stretcher. Mill a dado 3/4″ deep and 3″ wide on the inside faces of the leg halves, with the dado starting 6″ from the bottom of the leg.
Here we see how the leg is made up. One board is 32″ long and will project through the top. The other is 29″ long and will support the top. The two dados face each other to become the mortise, 1&1/2″x3″. Now glue it together. If all your clamps are tied up. you can use 2&1/2″ screws to hold it together while the glue dries, then remove them and plug the holes with dowels.
On the insides of the legs, use a 1&1/2″ drill bit to mill out the mortise for the short stretchers. Carry the lines around from the side mortise to give you your measurements, and center it on the leg. One hole on each end and then one in between, and clean it up with a chisel. Leave the ends rounded and pare the tenon to match.
The two 5′ long stretchers are cut from the 10′ 2×6, to give you enough length to pass through both legs. Cut the ends to make 3″ wide, 6″ long tenons. The measurement between the tenons is 40″, the same as the middle board on the mortise row in the top.
The short stretchers. Start with a board 10&1/2″ long and lay out a 3/4″ long and 3″ wide tenon on each end. Carefully saw in on the corners of the tenon at the base, then knock them off with a chisel.
Pare away with the chisel to round off the tenon.
By the time you’ve done all that, the top should be dry. Take it out of the clamps, get out your sharpest jack plane and your can of elbow grease, and plane that sucker! You can make it as flat and straight and true as you feel you need to.
The top after a good 10 minutes of planing. Give the bottom side a few swipes with the plane too. Now you can trim up the ends. I use a circular saw with a fence.
Bonus Round: Add a vise