Andre Roubo was a Frenchman who designed the present Roubo bench back in the 18th century. This is a highly practical workbench which is even still used today. You can build a roubo bench all by yourself as well.
Before starting building this bench, one thing which you have to keep in mind is that the original Roubo bench is quite heavy. However, your choice of wood to be used depends entirely upon you. Ideally, you should use a hard wood, but it doesn’t have to be expensive at all. However, commercially oak and beech are used by the companies that generally produce the Roubo bench.
The first step when it comes to building a Roubo bench is to roughly cut the lumber and set it aside in the workshop for two to three weeks. This will give the lumber a chance to get familiar with the new environment. You should have a sketch ready with you with all the measurements written. This will help you in cutting the wood according to what you require.
Before laminating the needed stock, apply glue on it for the lamination to stick. You can even fix clamps for a good pressure also. Focus on one piece at a time unless you are a whiz at what you are doing. Make sure that you align all the pieces properly and accurately.
When it comes to cutting the lumber for your bench’s legs, you should cut it ¼ inches wider and longer than the required width and height. It will give you enough room to give a proper finish to the legs.
At this point you can either drill holes in the legs or cut the mortises or you can simply ignore the process and create a knock down bench.
Now, you have to build the short stretchers. They can be either two or three boards which are laminated together or it can be a single board as well. The decision is totally yours. However, whatever you decide, make sure that you take proper measurements. Before assembling, you should dry fit the stretchers and the legs to make sure that they fit properly. Once you are done, you can easily disassemble them. Now glue them up for assembly. This will help you in rectifying any errors or issues which you may notice during the dry assembly.
Now, it is time to attach the long stretchers. For that you have to make sure that the base which you have built stretches past the attaching vises. The front part of the base should be even with that of the front leg. However, the rear part should be left a bit for the vises.
Now that your base is completed and the glue is drying off, you can start preparing the sections which will go on the top. For this purpose, you require a lot of clamps, slow setting glue and four pieces of wood laminated together. These four pieces actually make up only one section of the top. After you are done with each section; it has to be left to dry overnight. You should have enough laminated sections to be equal to that of the width of your worktop.
After you are done with the lamination, you can assemble the pieces together, again leaving the glue to dry overnight.
Now that all the sections which go on the top are laminated, you can now surface the bottom area of the top side now. Smoothen out the back surface. It will take you a few days, but all the effort will be worth it.
Now, it’s time to attach the top. When it comes to attaching the top, you should have worked out your plan properly. You will require a tenon joint and mortise for this purpose. You will have to do some research regarding that before actually going about the actual process.
After attaching the top, you can turn the bench upright and start smoothing out the top surface. Slowly move on to the rest of the unfinished edges present on the rest of the bench.
Your bench is all built now. Apply a polish, if needed.