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.
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
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