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Our Split Top Roubo bench plan is based on Andre Roubo's bench from Plate 11 of L' Art du Menuisier, with the added capabilities of Benchcrafted vises.
We developed this plan so woodworkers could build a bench using our Tail Vise and Glide Leg Vise without having to figure out all the details. Simply follow the measured drawings and construction notes and our vises will fit perfectly.
The Split Top Roubo is widely used by professional furniture makers, teachers and schools, as well as amateur woodworkers. It excels at holding work in the three most necessary positions: for working edges, faces, and ends. The Glide Leg Vise excells at working the edges of boards.
The Split Top Roubo is constructed with massive components. The tops are 4" thick by 87" long. The legs are 3-1/2" thick by 5-3/8" wide with the remaining base elements 3" thick and 1-3/4" thick. The complete bench weighs upwards of 350 pounds. It does not move under the most rigorous woodworking activities. The bench can be built entirely with 8/4 stock if desired. We recommend using hardwoods like ash, hard or soft maple, or beech for their mass and durability.
Outfitted with the Benchcrafted Crisscross, workpieces of different thickness are clamped and repositioned quickly and easily without having to change the position of a parallel guide pin.
Working the ends of boards is also possible with the leg vise, coupled with the sliding deadman and a holdfast (we use and recommend Gramercy Holdfasts.) Although we prefer the Moxon vise for these operations. The sliding deadman is also useful for supporting the ends of long boards when working on edges. The right leg also features holdfast holes for even more versatility.
The Tail Vise is ideal for working the faces of boards, with work held between dogs. You can also do mallet work while using the tail vise, since the wagon vise design maintains the robust structure of the top surrounding the vise.
The first dog is positioned directly over the leg, and allows clamping of very short pieces. This is handy for holding narrow boards across their width for certain operations. An access hole in the leg allows the dog to be pushed up conveniently.
The Gap Stop runs down the middle of the bench between the two top sections and features gaps for storing tools.
The Gap Stop protrudes above the bench about 1/2" (you can make the Gap Stop any size) and is excellent for working boards across their width. There is no better setup for adjusting tenons.
The Gap Stop fully supports the work, allowing the workpiece to be rapidly repositioned for the next tenon. Notches in the Gap Stop allow it sit flush with the tops when the Gap Stop is flipped over and engaged over the base's upper rails. Remove the Gap Stop entirely to clamp work directly to the top between the two top sections. If you prefer an uninterupted surface, simply build a solid Gap Stop. The Split Top Roubo can also be built with one continuous top.
3/4" holes are strategically placed throughout each top section for holdfasts and other accessories.
The base elements are joined with drawbored mortise and tenon.