Roubo Split-Top Woodworking Bench

I have decided to take the plunge and make a new woodworking bench for my new micro-shop at home. I began by roughing out the dimensions in Fusion360 so I could know approximately how much wood I need. I haven’t designed my joinery or even settled on exact measurements but I’ve got my worst case scenario here.

This let me go out an purchase my lumber. I went to a nice design shop in town that purchases in bulk and resells to local makers. I picked up over 110 board-feet of White Oak and somehow fit it in my sedan.

I’ve labeled up the lumber on our new project rack and I’ve begun orders for the next step (thick-stock ripping blade, glue, etc). I’ll let it sit in the space for a couple weeks to acclimate to the shop’s environment and then go to town on ripping pieces down and building glue-ups for the major parts.

This build is going to be fun :).


What are the dimensions of your top and legs? Check out Christopher Schwarz’s workbench book. He has plans for a Roubo bench with details on the joinery.


Nothing is final dimension in my design, but the depth is 16" (not the 18" you’d expect) with a 3" top. I’m stuck to 16" based on where it will go (50sqft shop). I’m looking at a total length of between 5’6" and 5", mostly depending on if I go with a tail vise (I’m leaning toward yes right now).

Legs are roughly 4" wide. This is a small but massy bench :).

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My current plan is 4" thick top, 18" deep and 72" long. Legs will be 5 to 6" square. I have the Benchcrafted tail vise and the Benchcrafted Criss-Cross leg vise and all my wood which, unfortunately, is buried under a few hundred pounds of other wood. Just need to get a few round tuits to get started but they have been on back order for a while.

I’ve got a knock off of the benchcrafted criss-cross leg vise, but almost as nice; it actually is way better than I expected it to be.

I’ve gone back and forth on leg thickness; I can always pick up a few more boards if I change my mind :-P.

I’m also trying to figure out some silly aesthetics, like if I want to do an accent strip, because, why not :).

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I’ve been thinking about a contrasting stripe and a few other aesthetics because, why not. This will likely be my last workbench so it would be nice if it were aesthetically pleasing and brought me a little joy every time I used it.

My plan at the moment is oak legs, because I have some 3" thick oak slabs that have left air drying for about 25 years (15 while in my possession and 10 from the fellow that gave them to me), mainly because I don’t really like the look of oak. I have some nice, clear, wide, 3" thick slabs of Western Maple that have been air drying for about 18 years that I plan on using for the benchtops. My leg vise will likely be either maple or walnut with some sort of design laser engraved into it.

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@Hekseskudd has been doing some work on some large slabs of spalted western maple lately if that’s your thing.

I probably just need to sit down with a set of markers and just see what would make me happy to look at for hours on end :). Feels almost like I imagine it is getting a tattoo…

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Mmmm… spalted maple…

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I just talked to Jon, he’s got a few chunks to save for you.

Here’s the project holding up my bench… (Only the sides are assembled, glued mortise and tenons. I’m going to do threaded inserts for the shelves so it can be flat-packed if needed) Sorry for the rotated view, I don’t have enough long clamps to keep it vertical, haha… (yet).


Love the design!

I shared a Google Drive with you that contains a bunch of Roubo workbench stuff. Let me know when you’ve downloaded them so I can free up the space on my Google Drive.


My physical copy of “Workbenches” came. Once I’m done with this, I’m happy to lend it out. I’ve made and unmade a lot of decisions since I got that book, and I’m bound to make and unmake more.

Here’s where I’m at with my design. It weighs in at about 200lbs without hardware/chop. For a small work bench (only 4.5 feet long) it is pretty heavy, but I honestly wonder if it is heavy enough.

The insert can flip around and become a planing stop. I might add an upper rail for a deadman later, but probably avoid a deadman to begin with.

I’ll be adding a shelf, but I just haven’t drafted it up yet.