Woodworking with Will Myers


Building a Roubo Bench - Getting Started

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I had made up my mind to do as much of the bench with hand tools as possible.  I was very pleased with the result but I kind of felt like I had cheated for using a router on the very first step.  Have I gone the hand tool route on this step would mean starting with an adz and working off the very high spots, then moving to planes. 

In the interest of time, the router was the only way to go.  Most references to using a solid slab for a bench top say you should use the heart side as the top and turn the bark side down.

If the top moves, it will crown toward the heart which is easier to plane out later down the road.  By orienting the slab this way if it were to crown later it will not open up the faces of the leg joints either.  Hindsight is always 20/20, if I had the chance to saw the slab again I would not have the pith of the tree in it. 

My thinking at the time was to put the other side up because it was clear with no knots for the entire length and width of the slab.  One other thought, I did not wax the end grain to prevent checking.  My thinking at the time was by not waxing the end it would help the slab to dry faster.  If I had known there would be a 15 year hiatus I would have waxed it.  I think it would have helped dry more evenly and prevented a lot of the checking of the ends.

Well on the way to making my new Roubo workbench, I was thankful to have such a beautiful piece of wood to work with.  My wheels were constantly turning as I thought about seeing each step of this project unfold.  Not only was I excited about the project of building my own workbench, but all the things I would use it for once it was finished. Now with this part complete, it was time to turn to the legs which we’ll cover in Part II.

Will Myers

My name is Will Myers. I live in northwest North Carolina with my wife and two daughters.  I am an amateur / hobbyist woodworker.  I enjoy hand tool woodworking but I do use power tools for monotonous tasks sometimes.

I have always been drawn to woodworking.  As a child I had a love for making things and sometime in my teenage years I discovered Roy Underhill and his show “The Woodwright’s Shop”, this really fueled the fire.

My favorite thing about hand tool woodworking for the most part, is the simplicity of the tools themselves, yet the feats that can be accomplished using them.  Being able to accomplish a task with precision and control that a lot of power tools cannot, and maybe most of all being able to produce projects by your own sweat and ingenuity.

If you have any comments, please email me at

October, 2011

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