Chris Schwarz's Blog

The Quadra-crochet Robo-Roubo

If a sliding deadman and a crochet got married and had a baby (well, actually if they had a litter), it might look like the workbench of Jan C. Goris of St. Louis, Mo.

Goris’s pine workbench is based on the French Roubo-style platform, but it has some modern workholding touches that are worth examining.

First off, take a look at the T-track that runs along both edges of the benchtop. These T-tracks are designed to hold four movable crochets. Why would you want movable crochets? Goris explains:

“They have a remarkably solid grip and they are very fast to use,” he wrote. “Let the crochet ride up on the workpiece just a smidge and then crank it down. It clamps the piece down and doesn’t damage the edge. The French door secured to the back of the bench is a full 80″ x 32″ and is held extremely tight.”

Goris says he’s also been thinking that the T-tracks could have some other handy uses: a movable base for a drafting light or magnifier, or maybe a tool rack that could go straight from the wall to the bench.

Also cool: the way he attached the twin deadmen , one on the front; one on the back. Take a look under the bench and you can see how Goris adapted off-the-rack jig-building hardware to create a quick way to add and remove the deadmen. Pretty fancy.

And finally, the double end-vises. One is a wagon vise from Benchcrafted. The other is a quick-release. Goris has access to both sides of his workbench in his shop and said he finds the vise arrangement ideal for the apple butter paddles he builds for churches.

After reading my book on workbenches, Goris was a little wary that I might make fun of him for all the workholding he added to the workbench. As someone with a workbench problem, I’m the last person who should be poking fun at other builders.

Nice work Goris. I think your bench will spawn some conversation among your fellow bench nuts.

- Christopher Schwarz

Other Workbench Resources You Might Enjoy

- “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.” Now in its third printing.

-  “The Best of Shops & Workbenches” CD from Popular Woodworking.

- “The Workbench: How to Design or Modify a Bench for Efficient Use DVD” from Lie-Nielsen Toolworks

8 thoughts on “The Quadra-crochet Robo-Roubo

  1. TERRY

    I really like the idea of the bench crochets, and T-track, on the edge of the bench. Where can I get more details about the crochets so I can add that feature to my bench?

    Terry

  2. Jan Goris

    Alex – I didn’t use T-Track on the front of the deadman because its groove would have punched thru to the groove for the T-Track on the back of the deadman. I actually considered using T-Track on the deadman but you would have to offset one of them somehow. In the end, I went for looks. I thought the dog holes looked better.

    I haven’t found any downside to having the T-Track on the front. It doesn’t interfere with any of the traditional Roubo pluses. You just have to watch that the 5/8" deep slot for it doesn’t come too close to the deadman slot on the underside of the bench top (assuming you have one).

    Mark – Yes, there is a 3/4" deep groove routed in the underside of the bench top. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show up well in the photo.

    There are a number of situations where you can use two crochets and a deadman and not even need a vise.

    Jan

  3. Mark

    Now, I’m not a smart man Jenny, but I can’t figure out how the sliding deadmen are attached after looking at the detail picture showing the back side of one. Is that piece of wood, with the knob, sliding up into a grove routed in the under side of the bench?

  4. Alex Grigoriev

    Now, I wonder why Mr.Goris didn’t use a T-track on the deadman, instead of drilling those holes. T-tracks can also be retrofitted to the legs.

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