Tuesday, September 23, 2014
How To Shorten The Split Top Roubo
We get this question frequently:
"I only have room for a 6' bench, how do I alter your Split Top Roubo plans to accomplish this?"
Until we have a chance to draft some plans, here's some info that will help you alter the plans.
Option 1: Angled rails
If you want to get full capacity from your Benchcrafted Tail Vise on really short benches (less than 72") you can make the base longer at the rear of the bench. Angled rails at the top and bottom make this happen. The bench pictured above isn't a split top, but you get the idea. The tenons on the rails are also angled, so they fit into the perpendicular mortises in the legs. This is easier to cut, but it makes for a weaker tenon due to the short grain. A better way would be to chop angled mortises and keep the tenons inline with the rail. If you do the angled tenons, keep them beefy for strength, and drawbore them as well. We did this on the bench above, which is only 60" long.
Option 2: Bury the Tail Vise
Jeff Miller built this short Roubo bench above and reduced the overhang on the Tail Vise end by burying part of the mechanism in the legs and upper rail. This reduces the overall capacity of the vise, but still allows plenty of travel (I've never used the full capacity of our Tail Vise.)
Camil Milincu did a similar thing with his 53" Split Top Roubo. For more details on Camil's bench, see this post.
Option 3: No left hand overhang
This is the best option for a 6' bench without hardly any changes to the plans. Push the top overhang at the leg vise end back so its flush with the left edge of the chop. This will buy you about a foot of length so you don't have to remove it from between the legs. The plans call for a 14-3/4" overhang here, and if you make your chop the width of the leg (5-3/8") instead of the 9" in the plans (the narrower chop will hold just fine) the rest of the bench you can leave unaltered and you'll end up with a bench that's just 72-1/4" long. It will be very stable, even without angled rails.