Where’s the Beef? It’s alive, well and living in Wadsworth, Ohio

Many of you no doubt remember the famous words “Where’s the Beef”?   Well in this instance, the beef refers to one of the most massive Roubo workbenches that I’ve seen in a very long time.  It also happens to be our March 2019 Workbench Idea submitted to us by Jerry (Chip) E. who lives in Wadsworth, Ohio.

Chip built one of the largest Roubo workbenches there is (a.k.a. “the beef”) and then fit it with a great leg vise powered by one of our premium wooden vise screw kits.  We know you’ll enjoy our latest customer provided Workbench Idea so here you go.

(Note: For those of you who may not be aware of our “Workbench Ideas” feature – previously known as “Workbench of the Month”, this feature is also alive, well and living on our Lake Erie Toolworks website under the “Workbench” main menu option.  We also have almost 90 workbenches for you to take a look out as well if you are looking for inspiration to craft your masterpiece.)

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Vise, Vice

I built my Roubo using 8 ft long 6 X 6 timbers (untreated) for the top, and the legs, that I bought at Home Depot. The bench is 8 ft long, 27 1/2 inches wide, and 34 1/2 inches tall.

I glued the timbers together using wood glue and 1/2-inch dowel rods. I used a router sled to level out the top. The timbers were fairly straight, so at most I removed 1/8th of an inch-high spot.

I cut the large dovetails mostly by hand, using Japanese pull saws, finishing them off with power tools.  They came out pretty good, however I did have to use some wedges to tighten everything up. As I said, the timbers were pretty straight, however the ends were rough.

On the left side of the bench, I removed 3/4 of an inch from the top, about 6 inches in and added a piece of Padauk. I also added a piece of 3/4 inch plywood on the end, under the Padauk, to cover up the roughness.

Similarly, on the right side, I removed 3/4 inch from the top, and also added 3/4 plywood on the top and a piece of 1 X 6 pine on the outside. this side is where I added the first vise. The first vise is an Eclipse 10 1/2-inch woodworkers’ vise.  I mortised under the bench about 1 1/4 inch deep. I wanted the top of the vise closer to the top of the workbench.  This vise is about 1/4 of an inch from the top of the bench. I used 3/4-inch plywood for the cheeks.  I also used thru bolts and nuts. It is rock solid.

The second vise is a Leg Vise. This vise is made from a 1-inch piece of curly maple, glued to a 2 X 10.  It is 8 inches across, 32 1/2 inches tall, and 2 3/8 inches thick.  I used the Premium Wood Screw kit from Lake Erie Toolworks, in conjunction with a Benchcrafted criss-cross.

The wood nut, was mortised about an inch into the back of the leg. I added leather to the insides to protect the work pieces.  The sliding deadman is made the same way, 1-inch curly maple, glued to a 2 x 10. It is 7 1/2 inches wide, 17 1/2 inches tall, and 2 3/8 inches thick.  The stringers are 2 X 6s, I mortised 3/4 of an inch in the bench leg, and in the stringer, used wood glue and 2 3/4 wood screws to attach them.  I then added 2 X 2s on the inside of the stringers, and added tongue and groove as the bottom platform.  I used a router to cut a 3/4 wide by 3/8 deep channel for T-Track. I went all the way across the top in both directions. I’m using Rockler T-track, and accessories. I also added a self-sticking tape measure across the front left of the bench.

As for the finish, the Leg Vise, Sliding Deadman, and top of the Bench, I used 3 coats of Amber Shellac, one coat of Danish oil, and the 3 coats of lacquer.  I wanted a hard surface for the top of my workbench.  The rest of the bench has one coat of pre-stain conditioner, one coat of Golden Oak stain, and 3 coats of lacquer.

Jerry (Chip) L. E. – Wadsworth, Ohio – USA

Announcing our March 2015 Workbench of the Month

Our March 2015 Workbench of the Month comes to us from Michael L. from Fort Collins, Colorado.  Michael has built a rock solid Roubo workbench with the added feature of a linear bearing assist that he highlights for your awareness and consideration.  The end product workbench is Amazing.  Job well done Michael.

Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks

Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks

Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks

Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks

Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks

This is a 4” thick, 87” long, and 24” wide and 35 ¼ high maple workbench with a leg vise that combines the Lake Erie leg vise screw kit with a linear bearing as recommended by Matt Armstrong in this blog:

http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/articles/roubo-workbench-leg-vise-alternative-linear-bearings/ 

The linear bearing is a LB30UU 30mm Ball Bushing 30x45x64 Linear Motion Bearing for USD12.95. The rod is a Hardened Precision Metric Steel Shaft, 30 Mm Diameter, 500 Mm Length from McMaster. I recommend starting the holes with a router and a circle jig. I tried making the first hole with a 2 9/16” diameter self-feeding Forstner bit that I bought just for this and ended-up going off at an angle downward about a half way in even with drilling a guide hole first. My first response was to fill the hole with a dowel and start over. But fortunately I emailed Nick first, who suggested a simple and really obvious strategy of aligning the hole with a file. Since I had to remove about ½ an inch, I first used a jigsaw, which worked very nicely because I could square it off to the leg, and then finish with a rasp. The larger hole in the back does not matter because the vise nut covers the back and supports the screw anyway.

I attached the vise nut with wooden oak dowels and glue. I still have to saw off the dowel ends as you can see in one of the pictures. The chop is maple and I used the dimensions from Christopher Schwarz’s wonderful Workbench Design Book. I did not want to laminate the jaw so I made it from 2” thick piece which was fun to work with. Also, Nick’s suggestion to measure the 1/8” above the bench is perfect because after I installed the screw and chop, it was level with the top. After the screw was installed I measured, cut the hole and installed the linear bearing. You need to do the screw first so that the linear bearing fits perfectly.

The chop moves smoothly and parallel to the leg and the grip is perfect. Of course, the leg vise allows for a diversity of ways of holding your work, including long pieces, and racking is not a problem. One really great feature of the wooden screw that I have come to appreciate is that it just takes a turn or two to open and close the vise. An advantage with the linear bearing you don’t have to bend down to change and adjust pins, and it’s much easier to build than any of the alternatives.

I followed Chris’s advice to start with basics and then see what you need: the leg vise, a crochet (really an excellent accessory to the leg vise), and 5 holes for holdfasts. I think down the road I will do an endvise, but for now I am set.

It’s a large table, but that makes it very easy to work with and do several projects. But it is heavy, as I discovered when it came time to turn it on its legs. I had glued the benchtop on a worktable I made and attached the legs from the top, so to speak, and when I was done I realized I had no idea how to turn it over. The thing must weigh well over 500lbs, and there was nothing about this in Chris’ otherwise perfect workbench bible. So I wrote him and he responded: “I know it sounds crazy, but I build benches by myself and move big ones around without assistance. When I’m just flipping the top, I clamp a long bar clamp (about 50” long) to the top and use it like a lever to turn the top over. When I need to flip the entire bench over, I use two sawbenches, placed so they are not in line with the legs. Then I use the clamp to tip the bench up until the benchtop snags the tops of the sawbenches. Then the bench will swing easily up on its side on the sawbenches. Then I move the clamp (if necessary) and turn the bench another 90°. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish with a little leverage.” Yes, indeed, Archimedes strikes again: “Give me a stick long enough and a pivot and I shall move the world.”

Michael L. – Fort Collins, Colorado

Announcing our September 2014 Workbench of the Month

Our September 2014 Workbench of the Month comes to us from a dynamic duo Father and Son, Gary and Jonathon H. from Kansas City, Missouri.  This French Roubo style bench pairs a Lake Erie wooden leg vise along with a Benchcrafted criss-cross and tail vise.  They don’t call Missouri the Show-Me state for nothing as this fine pair of woodworkers show us all how it’s done.  Enjoy!

Roubo, Leg Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks

Roubo, Leg Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks

Roubo, Leg Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks

Roubo, Leg Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks

Roubo, Leg Vise, Lake Erie Toolworks

Made out of White Ash from local supplier.
21 inches Wide, 32.5 inches high, 7 foot 4 inches long, solid 5 inch thick top.
Finish is Danish Oil with the Leg Vise Chop and Board Jack stained lightly.

Made a trip to Atlanta GA and visited Highland Woodworking over Spring Break in March. Couldn’t leave without picking up a criss-cross vise support. It works so nice with the Wooden Screw. (The other vise is a wagon vise on the right side from Benchcrafted)

This was a project for Dad (53) and Son (15). It took us from Thanksgiving, November 28, 2013 to Memorial Day weekend May 26, 2014. A challenge for us, we had a lot of fun and learned a lot from the experience. Plus we collected a few more tools during the project.

The Board Jack (sliding deadman) is from a symbol we use to brand our woodworking projects. We like to make Martial Arts practice weapons and display cases and stands for them. We used Power Tools for years but started wanting to use more hand tools. We realized we needed a way to hold the boards to work on them with hand tools, so we started thinking about a workbench.

At the beginning of our research into building workbenches, we noticed the front cover of Popular Woodworking, August 2010 #184. (See Burly French Workbench, Christopher Schwarz). That’s when we decided we had to have a bench with the coolest Wooden Screw Leg Vise on it in the World! Lake Erie has the best. We inlaid the beautiful antique brass garter in the golden Ash Chop and then made sure the screws were all turned the same way. We love the look and how it performs. It holds everything solid.

All of our friends who have seen pictures of our bench, or visited our shop, all remark on the look of the leg vise and the huge wooden screw. There are several things people notice on our bench, however the Giant Wooden Screw and the Leg Vise is at the top. Everyone wants to know if we made the wooden screw, (I wish I could say we did) but we tell them no, we got it from Lake Erie Toolworks up in Pennsylvania.

Thanks for making such a super cool and high quality product Lake Erie!
Gary and Jonathon H. – Kansas City, Missouri – USA

Announcing our July 2014 Workbench of the Month

Our July 2014 Workbench comes to us from William B. from Cary, North Carolina.  He has built a 500 pound Ash and Walnut hybrid split-top Roubo style bench.  We know that you will all enjoy it as well as the additional detail link that we provide you below to the NC Woodworker Forum.Roubo, Lake Erie Toolworks, Leg ViseLake Erie Toolworks, Roubo, Leg ViseI put together a description of the design and building decisions I made, and posted it at  NCWOODWORKER  It may be a bit too long and detailed, but it goes through some of the process I used to build the bench.

Some of the basic dimensions:

  • Overall: 95” long x 29” wide x 34 5/8” tall. (the height makes the bench just a hair lower than my table saw, allowing oversize lumber to the left of the blade to rest on the workbench.)
  • Top is 2 pieces 13 ¼” wide by 3 5/8″ thick each, with a 2 ½” gap between. (a “gap stop” fills the space.)
  • The legs are about 4 ¾” x 4 ½”. The top rests on 3 ½” x 3 ¾” cross pieces mortised into the legs.

The bench must weigh something in the neighborhood of 500 pounds. I began with about 165 board feet of rough ash lumber, and about 15 board feet of walnut. Wood for the leg vise and the twin screw end vise are walnut and red oak, respectively.

Thanks!! William B.