Roubo sharpening bench – part 12


By 18h30 yesterday evening the bench was finished and in it’s place. When I say finished, it means that it is adequate for it’s intended use over the next year or so. It will simply function as a stand for my drill press, a permanent sharpening station, grinder and a few more things. Once my shop get’s expanded, it will receive a holdfast vise and start functioning as workbench.

I used my Disston no. 12 to saw off the the protruding through tenons, wedges and drawpins. As you can see, I left quite a bit in tact in order not to damage the bench surface too much.

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The rest of the protrusions were planed away with my Lie-Nielsen low angle Jack plane. I find this to be the best plane for end grain work like this, especially when used with a toothed blade.

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I then used a Stanley Bailey no. 3 smoothing plane to get rid of the toothed blade’s characteristic finish.


In this picture you can see that my crosscut saw did chew a bit of the leg in this case. Fortunately this is the side of the bench that goes up against the wall.


While I had the bench in a convenient position I screwed the cleat to the bottom of the long stretchers.


The Marx-Roubo bolts were covered up with inlayed chunks of perfectly quarter sawn Scots pine. As you can see, the inlayed pieces were initially 1-2 mm proud of the surface. After the glue dried, it was planed flush.


I decided not to do a proper flattening of the top as it is not necessary at this stage. Seeing that the bench will only be used as a table for now, I thought the top could happily move with the changes in humidity and settle down over the next year or so. Once I need to start using it as a proper bench, I can then do that fine tuning.


After a treatment of Tung oil and turps. I decided to leave the top beams at full length at this stage. By the time it becomes a proper bench, I might add breadboard ends on both sides. Currently it is 3370 mm (just over 11′) in length.


The next task is to finish off the preparation of the shelve boards. Here you can see my Lie-Nielsen no. 48 in action. It is one of my favourite tools.


Pewa is a bright young Namibian whom we are helping to realise her dream of becoming a Medical Doctor. She is currently staying with us while writing her final school exams. She took a break from her studies to help me to get the bench to it’s home for the next little while.



Here we are in the process of clearing the area allocated for the bench.



While the helpers took a break I quickly treated the underside of the bench with the mentioned potion.



It just so happened that our friend Heidi turned up at the right time to help us with the tricky resettlement procedure.



Once the bench was in place, Pewa and I started to populate it with paraphernalia.


6 thoughts on “Roubo sharpening bench – part 12”

  1. Wow that bench is massive! Heck of a sharpening bench (Who me overbuilt things?) but since it is cleverly a future bench, it is a tour de force, bravo!

    Give our best to Pewa, tell her to dream big, if you believe in your dream, good things can happen. The world could sure use more doctors, you go girl!
    Good on you and your family to give her a helping hand. The world could also use more Gerhard for sure…I mean it

    Best regards
    Bob and Heather .

    1. Hey Bob

      Thank you for the encouraging comment. I will tell Pewa. She already wrote Biology and Business Studies, but will only finish the exam in mid October. So far everything went really well.

      I am now busy with the shelve boards, but the pressure is off as the bench made it into the shop. Last week it sat outside the shop which made me nervous as we usually get a few drops of rain around this time of year. Luckily it did not happen before we got the bench to safety.

      Have a wonderful day and send my regards to Heather.

  2. Her Gerhard,

    Wow, that is awesome. Well done!!! I’m really impressed with how quickly you got it all together. That is a sharpening that Didi’s kids will never wear out.

    On another note… How come there are always girls in your shop? I must be doing something wrong. I went out to my shop this evening and had a good look around… not a girl to be seen.

    Perhaps woodworkers are just sexier in Namibia?

    Best wishes to the family,


    1. Hey Jonathan

      Your comment made me laugh with a vengeance. Sexy is not exactly how I think of myself these days. I should probably not tell you then that a girl almost halve my age turned up the other night with a bottle of single malt Whisky to just have a look around the shop and chat about all the old tools. It is clearly something to do with the charm of the shop and the old world romance/values that intrigue the chicks, not my looks, I am quite sure of that.

      Thank you for the laugh and send my regards to your family.

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