The Roubo Build Begins!

Do you remember almost three years ago when I bought ~500 board feet of southern yellow pine? I have finally gotten around to putting it to use. After moving this pile

six different places, it’s is time to finally make a bench out of it. One key (besides finally getting a large block of time) to getting this project going was the most recent acquisition for the garage, the Harbor Freight dust collector:

My shop vac has done a yoeman’s job in the shop, but it is in no way capable of handling the amount of chips I needed to create with my jointer & planer. I’ll have a post later on the DC and my plans for it.

Speaking of those chips, I made a metric crap ton of them. Actually, it was about 30 cubic feet of pine sawdust. After sorting the rough pile to pick out the pieces with the least twist, I jointed one face and one edge of all the “mostly straight” boards. I even found some cool mineral staining on some of the boards.

After a face and an adjacent edge were jointed, I planed each board to thickness. I didn’t bring every board to the same thickness, but rather planed just enough off to get a flat surface.

With those S3S boards, it was time to start my glue-ups. The plan was to do smaller glue-ups of four boards each, then combine those and see where my width would be. I chose the thickest boards I had left in order to reduce the total number of boards I would need for the top.

After letting the glue dry on three slabs of four board each, I had to surface the fourth side. I waited until after the first round of glue-ups  in order to reduce the number of times I was walking back and forth around the planer! I first ran each slab through until it was flat on that fourth face. Then I ran all three slabs through the planer to bring them to the same thickness, which was about 4.5 inches.

I had ~22 3/4″ of width when those three slabs were clamped together. Since my goal for the top is 24 inches, I needed a little over two more inches. That was more than any single board I had in the pile, so I planed to down my two skinniest boards to about 9/8″ each.

With all my pieces now ready, It was time for the massive glue-up. In order to best distribute the clamping pressure on the last two individual boards, I sandwiched each between two of the larger slabs. This left the whole top glue-up as slab – single board – slab – single board – slab, as seen above.

Next time I’ll talk about squaring off the ends and flattening that massive slab!

Wood Gloat – Southern Yellow Pine

Tonight marked another step towards building that seminal rite of passage in the woodworking:  building one’s own workbench.

Today we have a plethora of resources on the ins and outs of workbench design, not the least of which is Chris Schwarz’s book Workbenches:


Not only do we have this book, but several other instructional sources for building our own benches. There have also been several bloggers who have shared their experiences while building their benches (just to link a few).  I’ve been following and reading all I can in preparation for constructing my own bench.

Part of that preparation has been looking for a bunch of wood to use for the bench top.  I’ve made a regular habit of combing Craigslist every couple of days to see if I could find that hidden gem of an ad offering the impossible.  I think I found it.  Tonight I bought (literally) a truck load of southern yellow pine – a Schwarz bench top favorite:



That’s forty-two 10 foot 2x6s and six 12 foot 2x6s.  I got the whole lot (almost 500 board feet) for a ridiculously low price of $125!  There’s probably enough wood in there to build two nice workbenches.  As I was unloading the boards out of the truck, I couldn’t help but wonder if I should build a 10 foot long bench with a 6 inch thick top!

The biggest negative with a score this size is I don’t really have a whole lot of room to store the wood until I can get to actually using.  While there are projects in progress in the garage (especially big ones like the crib), I have resorted to the Wood Zealot’s storage system – my dining room floor*!

*Note – this storage location is wife approved.