Roubo sharpening bench – part 5


This particular instalment should actually be entitled “The weekend of the plane”.  That was literally the only tool I used all weekend, if we disregard the workbench as a clamping device. I feel as if I’ve been hit by a barrage of no. 8 Jointers.

In the pictures below you can see the setup I used to limit movement of these massive 90 mm x 200 mm x 3200 mm beams in order to do the damage (to myself mostly). Two blocks of wood fixed by holdfasts stop the lateral movement during diagonal work with the scrub plane. Two small blocks of wood screwed to the bottom of the beam hooks over the one end of the bench to stop the beam moving forward during conventional longitudinal planing.


Here you can see how I started off with my shop made scrub plane.


That was followed by this shop made Jack plane and then a Jointer plane.


For the second beam I flattened, I used this Shaw’s Patent (Sargent) for the Jack plane phase. It has a fairly aggressive camber on the blade and worked very well. I recently finished it’s rehab, so this was it’s first job. My tool model also had a ball of a time posing with it. Watch this space for a post on the rehab process.


All three of these boards had some degree of twist in them. You can probably imagine the blood, sweat and tears it took to create three flat and untwisted reference surfaces. By Saturday evening I managed to achieve that.


The next morning I started with the edges. You can see how my bench dealt with this enormous hunk of wood.


A picture of the barrage of planes that tortured me all weekend.



By lunch time on Sunday the wife joined me after her run to help feed the beams to the electric planer. That was a mission in itself, but we managed to get it done in about 30 minutes. The tool model then took the opportunity to do her impression of Puff Daddy.



It was the first time in many years that I chose to rest on a Sunday afternoon, rather than work in the shop. It is not me at all, but planing boards of this size by hand is not child’s play.




Now there are only 5 more edges to do by hand as these beams will not fit through my electrical planer. It only goes to 150 mm in height!! Can anyone remind me why I need a bench like this?

2 thoughts on “Roubo sharpening bench – part 5”

  1. Hey Gerhard,

    I can remind you why you need a bench like this:

    Because you have the wood!

    Sorry that I have been absent from the comments on your last few posts. I have been keeping up with reading them though. You must be getting quite a workout doing all that hand plane work in the African heat.

    I love the planes that you made, they really are beautiful. Whenever you post pictures of them, I remind myself that I need to add a plane making project to my to-do list.

    I’m calling BS though on your wife having gone for a run. She looks cool as a cucumber in those photos, whereas I tend to turn bright red and look as though I’m about to die when ever I run.

    Hope you are all well.

    All the best,


    1. Hey Jonathan

      It is always wonderful to hear from you. Thanks for the reminder of why I needed the bench. Maybe I should consider my actions more carefully in future. I also enjoy those wooden planes, especially when there are truckloads of work to do. They are much lighter than their cast iron cousins. My wife wanted me to point out that she actually did a marathon (not just a run as I stated!) in under 2 hours on Sunday. She did however enjoy your comment quite a bit.

      Don’t worry about the comment thing, I am also very slack when it comes to that. How was the Caribbean excursion? Hope you all enjoyed it with a vengeance.

      Kind regards

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