Split Top Roubo

Split Top Roubu - Part 6 - Distraction

I was making such great progress with the Split Top Roubo bench build and then life hit. It started with preparing for the Kitchener-Waterloo Woodworking show in March and since then it's just been a series of little distractions... oh... and a complete kitchen replacement at my in-law's cottage!

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Split Top Roubo - Part 5 - Fixing Mistakes

I've read that what separates a beginner woodworker from an experience woodworker is their ability to fix their mistakes. With that in mind this project is testing my woodworking abilities. It seems as though this bench top wants to fight me every now and then.

At the end of the my last post I had just finished gluing the tops. After the clamps were all removed I inspected that tops and was fairly pleased with the results. Working on the bottom sides I did some checking for flatness, and thankfully my previous efforts paid off and only minor cleanup was required. Both tops went through the planer and were brought to a final thickness. The vise top half had a slight crook to it, so it required some passes over the jointer to ensure straight edges. Thankfully this was an easy fix and the only side effect was a slightly narrower top.

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Split Top Roubo - Part 4 - Glue... Finally!

At this point all the boards for the top are machined straight and to width. The width is kept 1/8" over size to allow for final thickness machining of the glued top. The thickness of the boards, which when glued together determine the top width, needed to be fine tuned. I determined the arrangement that ensured the best boards were the on the visible edges, then I clamped the assembly together to determine the initial width. I had plenty of material to remove on both top pieces to bring them to final width, so I used this as an opportunity to improve some heavily bowed boards. By straightening and reducing the thickness of selected boards, I minimized their influence over the final straightness of the top. After the final width was achieved, the assembly with clamped together  for inspection.

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Split Top Roubo - Part 3 - Or is that Part 2?

The last minute switch from Hard Maple to Soft Maple is proving to be worth the expense of time and money. I'm much happier with the finished product. I used the lessons I learned from the Hard Maple to improve the machining process.

Once I got the load of Soft Maple home, I stacked it up in the shop, complete with sticks for air space, to let it acclimatize. Since I was rushed I expedited the process by setting up a small fan to promote air movement over the wood. The Maple was all kiln dried and I was comfortable after a few days that it was ready to start machining. Starting to lay out the board on my assembly table to sorting, I quickly noticed how my prized board, once in my shop, weren't the objects of perfection they were in a dimly light barn. Funny how that works! Never the less, I was still confident they would work well.

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Split Top Roubo - Part 2 - What Wood You Do?

Part of the material selection process for me was based on availability. I have a relative that owns a saw mill and drying kiln, which results in good deals for me IF he has what I need. I decided fairly quickly that I wanted to use Maple for the top and Cherry for the base. There is a surprise in there, but you'll have to wait for that. I checked with my relative and he had both available in the quantities I needed. 'Great' I thought! I few weeks later I watched Marc's video on material selection which presented a nasty reminder... there is Hard Maple and Soft Maple. Soft Maple has the advantage on this project, so I quickly sent a text message to confirm the type available to me. The message back was simply 'Hard Maple'.

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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’.

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