Split Top Roubo - Part 1 - Time for an Upgrade

The Winter 2012 Wood Whisperer Guild build is a spit top Roubo bench using Bench Crafted hardware. I must admit when this build was first announced back in October I wasn’t excited. My first thought was ‘I already have a bench’. A true statement but the real question was ‘is the bench working for me?’ I bought my bench a few years ago because at the time I didn’t know what I wanted for a bench and the more I read the more I got confused. Over time one’s working style changes and the needs of one’s bench changes congruently. I’ve grown tremendously as a woodworker in the four years I’ve worked with my current bench. So is it still working for me? Although I won’t get into the details of why, the answer was ‘No’.

My decision was solidified when I took the Excellence with Hand Tools course at the Rosewood Studio. There I used a traditional cabinet makers bench. Although I wasn't a huge fan of those specific beches, now I could see the appeal of a slit top roubo. The enclosed tail vise design is ideal for working on a board face and keeping it flat to the bench, the leg vise is ideal for edges, and adding the Moxon vise to the bench is perfect for working ends. I felt vindicated with my decision and the excitement was growing.

Looking around my shop I realized that before I started the bench build I needed to finish some housekeeping projects. On top of normal mess from usage, there were recently purchased hand tools didn’t have proper homes, sandpaper sat in a box on the floor in chaos, my Moxon vise was incomplete, a low speed grinder station was to be built, jointer/planer blades needed replacement, chisels needed sharpening, and everything needed a good waxing. It was shop maintenance time. So for the past two weeks these are the projects I focused on getting out of the way.

I hope you can see from the pictures below, I’m happy with the results of my efforts. Bandsaw, planer, jointer, and table saw all have sharp blades and are well tuned for the punishment they are about to go through. The list of homeless items is greatly reduced resulting in less clutter. The floor is clean and the dust collector is empty waiting to be filled with maple and cherry shavings.

See all the posts about the Split Top Roubo here.