2011 - Workbench Of The Month

December 2011 -  Lance K., Sydney - Australia

Good day mate!

This is my school project that’s taken me 9 months to build and I’m very proud of it !!

I made decision to build an an 18th century Roubo French traditional workbench. This design originally was created by Andre J.Roubo, a French cabinet maker and writer. I think it is an ideal format with almost none of downsides or limitations I’ve found on other forms.
Its advantages are numerous. Here are a few:

1. Its simple design and simplicity makes it easy and quick to build.
2. The thick slab top has no aprons around it, making it easy to clamp anything anywhere on it (this feature cannot be overstated)
3. The front legs and stretchers are flush to the front edge of the bench top, making it easy to work on the edges of boards or assemblies.
4. Its massive parts make it heavy and stout. This bench will not rack.

The Roubo bench is capable of doing things I might not be ready to do yet, and when I am, my bench will be willing and wanting .
The Lake Erie Leg Vise is the cherry on top, it gives my bench that finished aesthetic look which is perfect. Thank you for a such a good quality product !! :D

Lance K. - Sydney - Australia


November 2011 -  David B., Easton, Maryland - USA

Details: Top: Doug Fir 6x8s, Legs: Doug Fir 6x6s, Leg Vise Chop: Cherry

Comments: This bench was built out of Doug Fir supplied by Shannon Rogers from the Hand Tool School and has a Benchcrafted Tail Vise with your Lake Erie Wood Premium Wood Screw kit. I built the top using three 6x8 timbers which made the glue up go super fast and for the leg vise and sliding deadman I used cherry. As someone who is expanding their journey into hand tools, this bench is exactly what I needed and was great practice as well. All in all a great learning experience. Thanks

David B. - Easton, Maryland - USA


October 2011 -  Brian H., Indianapolis, Indiana - USA

Dear Lake Erie Toolworks,

I recently finished a Roubo style workbench, heavily patterned after those built by Christopher Schwarz. Here are some of the details.

Bench Stats:
Top: 26” x 7’ 6” x 5 ½”
Legs: 5 ½” x 6”
Stretchers: 2 ½” x 4 ½”
Height: 42”
Weight: 490 lbs

The majority of the bench is Southern Yellow Pine. Walnut was used as accents, for the front laminate, deadman, tool rack, end caps, and for the leg vise chop. The walnut is from a tree on my parents’ midwest farm from four decades ago. It had fallen and was sectioned by my brother in the dead of winter, when its covering of poison ivy was quite inconspicuous--inconspicuous until my brother got the worst case of poison ivy in his life! I built this bench with wood with a family history to it because I will pass this bench onto my sons when they are grown.

Lake Erie Premium Wood Vice Screw kit. This robust wood screw was a fantastic addition to the bench and really gives it a nostalgic look and feel. The brass garter is a great upgrade. The tenacious grip from this powerful vice is very satisfying and workholding problems are a fading memory now.

Boiled linseed oil, polyurethane, paint thinner. 1 part of each.

Brian H. - Indianapolis, Indiana - USA


September 2011 -  Joe P., Norwood, Ontario - Canada


We have just completed the installation of the new Leg Vise in the work shop at the Mill. As you said, a retrofit was challenging but we made it and are quite pleased with the results. All of the materials used were made with logs sawn at the Mill.  The attached photos show the bench - vise and part of the antique tool collection. More detail on the Mill can be seen at www.hopemill.ca

Joe P. - Norwood, Ontario - Canada


August 2011 -  Jim W., Chapin, South Carolina - USA

The centerpiece of my (crowded) workshop is my recently finished Roubo-style work table starring the Lake Erie Toolworks vise Screw Kit. The kit is installed through the 5 1/4 inch square leg which is attached with mortise & tenon to the 4 inch thick table top, further secured with pegs.The entire table, which measures 84 by 31 in., is made of southern yellow pine; each section of laminate is 2 in. thick. The height of the table is 34 in. The leg vise jaw is walnut laminated to hickory, as are the crochet and deadman. Approximately one gallon of Titebond glue was used in the construction and one quart of Waterlox to finish it up.

Jim W. - Chapin, South Carolina - USA


July 2011 -  Nelson H., Amherst, New Hampshire - USA

The Bench top is reclaimed high school shop class bench top which was cleaned of screws, nails, and graffiti. The base is made from douglas fir timbers salvaged from the same school when it was torn down. They are beautiful, old growth beams with very tight growth rings. The vise chop is maple and the shelf bottom is left over pre-finished bamboo flooring. The project underway in the photo is a cherry chest of drawers with birds eye maple drawer fronts. This was the project I used to teach myself how to chop dovetails. When I started, I didn't have the bench and quickly realized I had to make the time to build it, as cutting a lot of dovetails without a good way to hold your work pushes the bounds of frustration into the realm of futility. You can't see them in the photos, but I buried two inline skate bearings in leg to aid the smooth rolling of the leg vice.

Great vice.

Nelson H. - Amherst, New Hampshire - USA


June 2011 -  Jonathan W., Austin, Texas - USA


I completed my workbench last fall. Here are some of the details:

It’s basically a Holzapffel design but I modified it to have a split top. I think the split top has several advantages:

1) A parallel clamp fits in the middle for more options when clamping things to the bench

2) A board placed there can be used a planing stop

3) A place to store tools close at hand while working at the bench

4) Each half still fits through my planer if I ever needed to re-flatten that way. During the construction I found it easier to just hand plane it flat. The pieces are too big and heavy to easily maneuver through a planer.

I still have to build that tool holder / planing stop piece to really take advantage of 2) + 3).

It’s made entirely out of SYP except for the twin screw vise chop which is cherry and the tool holder on the back right corner which is walnut.

The twin screw vise screw and nut hardware were purchased from Lake Erie Toolworks (http://www.lakeerietoolworks.com/)

The top is connected to the legs with lag screws. The two end assemblies are glued and pegged mortise and tenon joints. The long front and back stretchers have tenons that fit into mortises in the end assembly and use bench bolts so that I can take the bench apart if needed.

I finished it with 3 ragged on coats of danish oil.

Jonathan W. - Austin, Texas - USA


May 2011 - James K., Berea, Ohio - USA


Attached are photos of my "Robo/Christopher Schwarz" inspired workbench. The top is 24 x 84" x 2 1/4" Birch. Legs and strechers are hard maple. Strechers (2 1/2" x 5") are drawbored mortise and tenon into the legs. Legs (4 1/2" x 5 1/2" x 34") are double tenons through the top with each tenon double wedged. I used the 'Lake Erie Toolworks Wood Vise Screw - Single Kit Premium' for the leg vise. The leg vise chop is walnut and the leg vise guide is Zircote. I used a Record #53 quick release vise as the end vise. The end vise chop is purpleheart. The finish is boiled linseed oil. My dream workbench has been a very long time in comming. I have had some of this wood for over 25 years. My job had me relocating every few years so I thought it might be a problem having a 350 pound workbench to move or store. So after retireing I finally have my woodworkers workbench. Now on to kitchen cabinets.

James K. - Berea, Ohio - USA


April 2011 - Robert M. B., Boston, Massachusetts - USA


Dear Sirs,

Attached are photos of my recently completed "Roubo" work bench. You will notice one of your screws on the leg vice. It is 6 feet long, not including the tail vice, 20 inches wide and the top is 5.5 inches thick. It is entirely built from Southern Yellow Pine save for European Beech on the leg vice and deadman and some white oak in the tail vice. The wood was purchased from Longleaf Lumber of Cambridge, Ma. having been recycled from demolition of the Davis#2 Mill, circa 1882, in Fall River, Ma.

Credit for the carving on my bench is the work of David Calvo of Calvo Studios in Gloucester, Ma.

Sincerely yours,

Robert M. B. , MD - Retired General Surgeon

Boston, Massachusetts - USA


March 2011 - Kirk S., Cullowhee, North Carolina - USA

While you can do great work on saw horses and a hollow core door, I guarantee you will wish you had built or bought a good workbench once you own one. I'm glad I chose Lake Erie for my leg vise screw. It works great and looks great too. You can see more pictures of my bench at roubokirk.com.

Bench specs
top- 25" X 108"
legs- 4" X 6"
stretchers- 2.5" X 5"

top, legs, stretchers- antique heart pine from salvaged columns in a building built in Atlanta around 1890. leg vise, sliding deadman, crochet- old growth wormy white oak stained ebony

Leg vise screw- Lake Erie Toolworks premium with external garter

Finish- waterlox

Kirk S. , Cullowhee, North Carolina, - USA


February 2011 -  Robert G. , Miles, Texas - USA


Attached are some photos of my Roubo that I have recently completed 12/01/2010.  This thing is a beast.  Weighs close to 360 pounds, 90 inches long, 28 inches wide, and the top is 5.25 inches thick.  Made it out of SYP. The only metal used is the garter that comes with the vise screw from your shop, all the rest is wood and glue.  My compliments on the quality of the vise screw you produce, it is top notch, and adds that old world character that I was wanting.  The finish is boiled linseed oil hand rubbed in.  I like to look at other people’s versions of workbenches, and your workbench of the month is a great way to see what others are doing.  Keep up the good work.

Robert G. , Miles, Texas - USA


January 2011 - Jim C. , Excelsior, Minnesota - USA

Hey Nick, I attached a few photos showing your awesome screw installed in the finished Nicholson workbench. Feel free to use these photos on your site if you want to. The vise cheek is 25" x 12" x 2", with over a foot between screw and guide bar. The movement is extremely smooth with absolutely no racking. The action is beautiful and I'm very pleased with it.

The bench is a reproduction of Peter Nicholson's joiner's bench, as described briefly in "The Mechanic's Companion". The length is 9 feet, which is long enough to plane moldings for large case pieces. The benchtop is 29" from the floor. I used 2x12 and 2x6 construction lumber and built it entirely with hand tools in two weekends. The vise chop is a chunk of 8/4 poplar, as is the planing stop and vise guide bar. There is 12.25" between the screw and guide, so I can get a
pretty good-sized drawer in there. I would guess the bench weighs around 275-300 lbs, but due to Nicholson's clever design which uses the front and rear aprons as structural components, the bench is much stiffer than you would expect. I'm a big 300 lb guy, and I can't rack the bench with all my might. It's heavy enough not to move when I push it. There is no finish, except for paraffin wax on the screw threads and vise guide.

I think a metal screw would have looked totally silly on a bench like this, and I couldn't get my mind around that. Maybe there's no practical reason to work with antique tools in an entirely hand-tool shop, but some of the best things in life are impractical. There is a certain meditative aesthetic to the old ways, and the Lake Erie Toolworks wooden screw completes the picture brilliantly.

I'm really pleased with the screw kit I got from Lake Erie Toolworks and I've told quite a few people about it. Thanks for the great product!

Jim C. , Excelsior, Minnesota - USA