Glue up the top

Glue Up and Building the Base – Low Cost Roubo 2

Now that we have the wood acclimatised to our workspace, it’s time to get building! One of the hardest things about building a first workbench is actually the lack of a workbench to build it on. That’s in keeping with woodworking in general – one tool begets ten others. Anyways, if you don’t have sawhorses to work on, you can use any stable table (that you don’t care much for). I built this one on an old IKEA coffee table. Again, make sure you use something you don’t care much for, because you will be getting glue, dings and holes on it. The first step of course, is the glue up.

Once the crosscuts are done to rough size (based on our earlier dimensions), it is a good idea to plane off a thin shaving or two from each board, even if they are perfectly square, just to give the glue a nice fresh surface to stick to. You could square each board at this point, or wait till after glue up. For dimensional lumber, I prefer waiting till after. This is because glue ups are rarely perfect, and the wood will move on you later, so planing before means losing a good .5″ at least.

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A surprisingly sturdy coffee table

Use a healthy (or unhealthy) amount of glue and clamps, and make sure to layout your clamps beforehand so that once you’ve glued up each board you are ready to go before the glue starts to dry. Once the lamination was complete, I got to work with my no.5┬áplane to bring the top down to flatness.


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A well tuned plane with a sharp blade will make your life a lot easier

At this point I don’t worry too much about getting the top perfectly flat, as I will likely have to flatten again later on in the build. With the top done, I move on to the base. The same principles apply, plane the boards lightly, use a lot of glue and a lot of clamps, and once the glue up is complete, plane the surfaces down.


The stretchers ready to be marked

I made a couple extra short stretchers, just in case something went wrong when cutting the tenons.

Now on to marking. Get your marking gauge, square, and pencil out, and take your time – this is a crucial part of building anything. A good principle for tenons is to make them about 1/2 – 2/3 of the stretchers. I made the shoulders 1″ wide on the wider dimension (3.5″) and 3/4″ wide on the shorter dimension (3″). This would give me a nice square tenon that was large enough to be strong, but should also give the leg mortises enough wall strength at an inch thick on either side of the tenon.

Another important tip is to mark your waste – when you’re working on a repetitive task, it gets easy to cut on the wrong side of the line. Next time we will be cutting the tenons and chopping out the mortises!

Marking the tenons and mortises

Take your time when marking and measuring

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