DIY Woodworking Workbench Plans

by ziggy on February 9, 2015 -- 0 comments -- Follow

split top roubo workbench plans

Roubo-style Ash Workbench

The time has finally arrived. After almost two years of dreaming about building a workbench for woodworking, and sitting on a cache of wood for the project for nearly a year, we’re building a Roubo workbench. This style of bench is named after André Jacob Roubo, a French woodworker who lived during the 18th century and wrote a massive three volume series on the subject of working wood called L’Art du Menuisier (The Art of the Joiner).

One of his particular drawings of a workbench design has become newly popularized by the likes of Christopher Schwarz and other current day woodworkers. Lost Art Press, a small publishing outfit is actually translating Roubo’s writings into English. Schwarz’s book on workbenches and blog probably helped catapult the Roubo design to the point where you can find many, many images and videos of different people’s own Roubo workbench designs.

Having only been recently exposed to this type of workbench a couple of years ago, it’s hard to imagine wanting to build anything else. The beauty of the Roubo workbench lies in the sheer simplicity, versatility, functionality, and heft of the design.

Roubo Workbench Plans

Split Top Roubo design by Benchcrafted

The Split Top Roubo design by Benchcrafted

Last winter I wrote about the quest for a proper workbench. I won’t repeat everything I’ve already said there. Not much has changed sine then. We have a hearty stack of ash lumber and access to plans for building a split top Roubo workbench. I was hoping this would all happen last spring, but you know how it goes… we got really swept up in our work and commitments. We’ve made the workbench a priority this winter, though. It’s on. We are steeped in it right now.

We’re following the split top Roubo plans from Benchcrafted (pictured to the right), which are very thorough and thoughtful. The thing that sets this design apart is the ability to knock down the bench. Why does that matter? Well, since we haven’t found our permanent landing place yet, we’re going to have to eventually move our bench another time, or two… And because this sucker is going to weight several hundred pounds, it would definitely be preferable to break it up and make eventual transport easier. The fact that you can knock the bench down doesn’t mean it’s any less stable, though. If Greg’s bench built to the same specs is any indication, this thing should be rock solid.

If you’re interested in learning more about classic workbench design, check out Schwarz’s Workbenches: From Design and Theory to Construction and Use. It includes much about the history and theory of workbench design, plus plans for building two different styles of bench.

For the DIY  split top Roubo workbench plans by Benchcrafted (this is the one we’re building), see here. The plans are very high quality and easy to read.

UPDATE: Check out pictures of my finished ash Roubo workbench here!

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