Chris Schwarz's Blog

Enrage Your Roubo-lust

While I really like it when people send me photos of their workbenches that were inspired by my book “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use,” I really dislike it when their finished results kicks the butt of my Roubo.

Today in the “Take that, Schwarz” category is this specimen from Graham Collins. This Roubo-style workbench is made using beech. It is a massive beast: The legs and top are almost 5″ thick.

Collins also made his own vise screws.

“I orignally carved a nut in two halves but is wasn’t up to scratch so I used it as a guide to scrape a new one which came out much better,” Collins wrote in an e-mail. “I made the cutter from an old planer blade.”

Note the nice through-tenons and through-dovetails, plus the wooden tail vise. I think Roubo would say: “Bon travail!”

Collins is also pleased: “Now that it’s finished I must say its absolutely spot-on, and I am over the moon with it,” he wrote. “It makes my work a whole lot easier.”

– Christopher Schwarz

20 thoughts on “Enrage Your Roubo-lust

  1. Monte

    sandman,

    You do realize he’s in the UK… southern yellow pine – from the USA – probably *isn’t* ‘more affordable’ for him. Beech is a more traditional wood for European benches, IIRC.

    Monte

  2. sandman

    Dude’s got some money. Got some Festool sitting in the corner and Lie Nielsen on the shelf. We need to know why he chose beech over more affordable southern yellow pine. Unless you have a bunch of woodworking freinds that you can brag about the showmanship of your bench, I don’t see the reason to spend a bunch of money on something that will be tore up with constant use. It’s like making your jigs out of maple plywood. Sure they look nice, but who really cares?

  3. Graham Collins

    I haven’t any worries about the timber moving, I had most of the beech in my workshop for a couple of years before I started on this project. The timber was bought as kiln dried and the bench has been together now for about 4 months and all is ok. The top was a real tight fit on the legs, I wouldn’t like to try and take the top off. I’ll see how it go’s in the winter when I close all the doors and heat the workshop. If it ends up a bunch of sticks on the floor I may keep quite about it.
    All the best, Graham Collins
    UK.

  4. Ray Schwanenberger

    I too agree that this is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. I, like the others, would like to see a series of articles, with pictures, not only on how to make the screw and nut but also the tools to accomplish such a task. Graham do you have any worries of the leg tenons shrinking disproportionally with the top and causing the bench to become loose? Again, in a word, beautiful!

  5. Randy Kimery

    I have just one word to day…It’s a fantastic functionally beautiful piece of a woodworking masterpiece!

  6. Graham Collins

    Thank you all for your positive comments. The bench was made from European beech,
    But would be just as good in maple. The screw threads and nuts were made from hard maple and thread was hand cut and then I made a jig to scrape the nuts, these were clamped together while scraping and then cleaned up and glued together. I then turned the nuts to suit routed recesses in the leg.
    The bench top is 5” thick as are the legs, all held together with biscuits and titebond III. Three lengths of threaded studding make sure it stays put. The end caps are fixed with coach bolts and biscuits glued to the caps only. The end vice cap was fixed the same way but with 12mm bolts going into brass bed nuts. The top is not glued to the legs just friction fitted. I glued up the top one piece at a time also the square dog holes are angled back 2 degrees’.
    If you go to http://www.photobucket.com then type in woodcarving then click on the donkey on the first page you can see some pictures on work in progress.
    All the best Graham Collins.
    Kent UK

  7. Bill

    Roy Underhill has covered how to make wood screws and nuts a couple times. He’s shown it on his PBS show and there also is a section in at least one of his books. I can’t remember which one right now, as I am at work and don’t have access to them, but I know it’s in one of them. There are several methods.

    As far as beech or any other hardwood lumber, check your local Craig’s list for sawyers and also your yellow pages, etc. I have been surprised to find how many small operators there are within 20-30 miles of my house. I currently have a bunch of big slabs of birch sitting in my shop, waiting to be made into a new, improved bench to.

  8. Kevin

    WOW, That is impressive. I hope he writes a book on how it was made especially the wood screws and nuts. If not a book perhaps a couple of articles on the wood screws and nuts and how the ends are joined, including the dovetail work.

    Thanks for sharing, something to aspire to.

    Kevin

  9. David Gendron

    I agree, it is a nice … What am’I saying? it’s the best, the nicest bench I have seen! A how to article(espacialy on the wood screws) would be great and also the suplyer for it’s Beech wood.
    Again, Brav, C’est merveilleux!
    David

  10. Bruce Jackson

    If anything, those screws are to die for. Are you thinking of asking him to write a how-to-make article?

  11. Ron Boe

    Looks too nice to work on. And it ain’t mobile.

    I wonder if he’ll write a book on benches? :^)

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