Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Coming Soon...Build the Plate 11 Roubo

"The angels in heaven work at Roubo's bench to furnish the mansions of paradise. Why should us mortals use anything less?" - Jarvil Alubanis

If you've always dreamed of building a totally authentic Roubo bench from Plate 11, using wood from Roubo's back yard, you can stop using the excuse "in the next life".

This summer, Benchcrafted is organizing a rare event where participants can build a full-size Roubo, using massive and ancient French oak and blacksmith-made iron accessories in a modern-day Roubo-esque workshop, with a unique group of fellow Roubo enthusiasts.

Space will be limited, so keep an eye on this blog as details unfold.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lie-Nielsen Event in Kansas City

Although we're not listed yet on the L-N Event page, we will be in Kansas City for the Hand Tool Event March 1-2.

This will be our first time in KC, so we hope you'll stop by and say hello.

We'll have a full size Split-Top Roubo outfitted with virtually everything we make.

Our lead times put some items out of reach for this event, but its close, so we hope to have some of these items at the event. If you want to pick up orders at the event, drop us a line, there's a chance we may be able to bring them. Otherwise we'll be taking orders at the event, as usual.

We'll also try and bring a complete version of our upcoming carver's vise. We're just about finished making all the components, and they are beautiful.

Monday, January 21, 2013


A couple weeks ago I discovered a picture of Greg Pennington's chairmaking shop. The structure is a timberframed paradise of hand tool chairmaking. I can't imagine a more pleasant place to work. Greg's shop is, I would venture to say, the dream shop we all fantasize about.

Then I noticed way at the back, past all the chairs in progress and the shave horses, his workbench. It was a Split Top Roubo. Gosh, that felt good.

So I did something we never do here. I asked Greg about his shop and the bench. I solicited a response, so take his comments with a grain of salt of you like. But Greg has nothing to prove. His chair work is outstanding, and anyone who gets to help Pete Galbert teach at Kelly Mehler's school is automatically tops in my book.

Here's what Greg had to say.

"Hi Jameel,
Thanks for the kind words. Of course you can use the picture. That bench has been the best addition to the shop. I actually have a former chair student coming back this winter to make this bench.
Great to hear from you, Greg."
And finally, please enjoy the pic of Greg's shop (make sure you click on it to enlarge it.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

To Make A French Bench... should use French wood. 

To get French wood, you must, of course, travel to a French lumberyard.

Not this lumberyard...

...but this one.

The wood is processed to completion in the mind of the woodworker, before real cuts are made.

A forge is stoked, the anvil sits at the ready...

Iron is shaped by the strong hands of the blacksmith

Hot metal is quenched, the holdfast takes shape and a tool to make the stuff of daily life emerges.

The material has been patiently waiting to join the effort.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ébénistes have a vise...

 ... at the front of their workbenches, which is made of one piece of wood n n, figure 3 and 4, which is 4” to 5” wide by at least 2” thick.

This piece is pierced in the middle of its width by a round hole through which passes the screw o p, to which the workbench leg q serves as its nut.

This screw is usually wood and through its head passes an iron bolt r, with which tightens and loosens the screw. We adorn the head of the screw with an iron ring to prevent it from splitting.

The use of these vises is very convenient because not only do the vises hold the work very solidly, but they do not mar the work in any way. No matter how delicate the pieces are, we do not fear to ruin them. This is something we can’t do with a leg holdfast, which is holding the work only in one place and will sometimes break it if it is delicate. 
-from "L’Art Du Menuisier". Trans. Bjenk Ellefsen. Courtesy of Lost Art Press


Saturday, January 5, 2013

How to Buy Lumber for the Split Top Roubo

Several of our customers are particularly eager to get started on their bench when ordering a Benchmaker's Package (particularly in ordering their lumber) so recently we've made lots of this information free, available for download anytime. To make that info readily accessible, we wanted to do a separate post about exactly where to find this information.

Here is a comprehensive list on exactly what's available to help you plan your build, before you get your vises and printed plans. 

First, here is what you get in the box when you take delivery of your Benchmaker's Package:

- Tail Vise
- Glide Leg Vise (original or Crisscross-enabled, depending on your order)
- Barrel Nuts (standard and end cap)
- Lag Screws for attaching the top
- Four 20" x 30" sheets of measured drawings

And here is everything available for free download at any time: (click links download)

- Construction Notes 
This is the written instruction for how to build the bench. See page 9 for info on how to order and purchase lumber for the bench.

- 3-d drawing
This is the 3-d drawing of the entire bench. It is very much like a Sketchup drawing. You can measure every detail of the bench, move parts, make them invisible, etc. You can see the exact size of every part of the bench, making lumber selection an easy process. You'll need software to view the drawing. Download it here.

Here is a video that explains how to use the software:

- Blog Posts about the Split Top Roubo
Click here to read everything we've published about the Split Top Roubo. In particular, you'll be interested to read this post about ordering lumber.

Our FAQ includes even more information about the Split Top Roubo.

We're more than happy to field questions about the bench, but if you're planning to alter the bench in any way, make it shorter, longer, wider, etc., you'll need to do your own legwork on how that alters what you need to order for lumber. We purposely do not include a cutlist with the plans, so you can more accurately, and economically determine exactly what you need from the 3-d drawing or the printed drawings based on the lumber you have available to you.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Portable, Full-Size, Safari-Ready Roubo

Lots of workbench aficionados think they are on the cutting edge of the latest trends in benchdom. They act humble, even surprised that they've unearthed yet another bench design, posting fuzzy and grainy pictures sent to them by self-appointed workbench archaeologists. These people have an illness. Or more accurately, an addiction. They are sick, sick individuals. You know who you are. What is a workbench? For some its rope and a big toe. For others its a robot with hydraulic pistons operated from a separate room by a fat balding man eating Snickers with a knife and fork while watching Matlock reruns. For us at Benchcrafted, there is the ONE bench. The one bench to rule them all. One bench to hold your boards, and in the workshop, bind them.