Chris Schwarz's Blog

The Deluxe Roubo

I always liked the look of my yellow pine Roubo-style workbench. That is, until last week.

That’s when I got a look at Jameel Abraham‘s version of a Roubo workbench in ash, which puts most workbenches that I’ve seen to shame. Honestly, it should come as no surprise that Jameel would go over the top. He’s a luthier and builds stunning ouds. What’s an oud? It’s a proto-lute. Check this link.

So anyway, back to the bench. Jameel took the basic Roubo form and added a sliding leg vise, something Roubo also did in a later volume. He called that form a German bench. Then Jameel added a wagon vise using custom machined hardware that is similar to David Powell’s tail vise shown in “The Workbench Book.”

Jameel documented the construction of his bench with photos, text, drawings and even some movies on his blog. All in all, it’s a great read and a great resource for anyone seeking to build a fine bench.

Here are links to the blog listings in the correct time order for your convenience:

- Introduction
- Rails and leg mortises
- Leg details and vises
- Vise chops
- Leg vise action
- Tail vise details
- Leg vise rollers
- Leg vise breakthrough
- Building the top
- Tail vise construction
- Attaching the top, leg vises
- Fin

Congratulations to Jameel on this impressive bench. We should all aspire to do such excellent work.

- Christopher Schwarz

13 thoughts on “The Deluxe Roubo

  1. pam niedermayer

    This is a fantastic job accompanied by great descriptions of what and why. I have one question on the shelf, why is it there? You can’t leave anything much on it as it will get swept aside when the moving leg swishes by. Is it to stiffen? Keep straight?

    Pam

  2. Joe Warlick

    Beautiful bench! Great work! My only question now is: are you completely satisfied with how it turned out…does it work as you intended…is there anything you would have done different? You obviously took your time and did some really nice work!

  3. matt davis

    The link to the "tail vise construction" portion of the project is wrong — it points to the earlier page, about tail vise design. The actual construction phase can be found through Jameel’s links.

    A truly spectacular bench.

  4. J.C.

    Sweetness incarnate. Lovely work, another touchstone to our craft and your craftsmanship. Bravo, Jameel! Now get back to work–you’ve got more beautiful instruments to make.

    always,
    J.C.

  5. Vic

    That is absolutely gorgeous! Since I’m new to the craft, I doubt my Roubo will end up being as beautiful. But, it will definitely be better than the exterior door I have on saw horses. Thanks for directing us to Jameel’s site.

  6. Jameel Abraham

    Thanks guys, and thanks Chris for such a nice entry. Chris should get more credit for resurrecting the Roubo design, not to mention his great promotion of good hand techniques in general. I’ve been at this for over 15 years, and Chris’ work has definitely played a role in refreshing my interest in the craft.

  7. Verne Mattson

    Good gracious! Beautiful! I like how you adapted the design and how you’ve truly come up with some ingenious ways to solve different issues, like the skateboard wheel.

    Great stuff! I hope you have many productive and enjoyable years using the bench.

    Verne

  8. Bjenk Ellefsen

    That is a very impressive bench. Definitely the best example I have seen so far. I think it’s fantastic to see these old benches come back into service.

    Congratulations Jameel!

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