Monday, July 28, 2008

Getting To Know Roubo-Part 1

It's been a couple weeks since I finished the bench, and I've had a couple opportunities to put the vises and workholding to some basic tests. Here's my first observations about the bench. More are sure to follow.

Tail Vise:
I recently reviewed a thin bladed marking knife from Czeck Edge Hand Tool. I did a quick sample joint using hand cut dovetails to test the knife, and in the process the tail vise saw some action. The tail vise is performing just as I had hoped. It works flawlessly. It clamps boards up to 8" wide in the leather-lined jaws with ease, and holds them there without hesitation while cutting dovetails. I love it. There is one issue with the vise, and I was anticipating it. In fact, Scott Landis mentions it in the Workbench Book as the last comment in his write-up of the Powell vise. The problem is with the operation of the screw itself. It's the reverse of what we're used to. This vise is lefty-tighty. And that's the problem. I've only used the vise for a few hours, but in that short time I opened and closed the vise dozens of times. And every time, without fail, I either had to stop and think about which way to turn it, or I flat-out turned it the wrong way. The question is, will I get used to it? Frankly, I don't care, since I don't want to get used to it. The thing is, if it was my only vise, I probably would. But all of the vises, clamps, and handwheels in a shop are all right hand threads. I don't think I'm going to ever train my mind for that one odd movement. So what's the solution? Well, I've already talked to my machinist friend who's looking into Acme screws and nuts, left hand thread of course. So in the next few weeks I'm hoping to have this little issue licked, and then I will have the ultimate tail vise.


  1. So, are you going to have to completely disassemble the wheel vise? I so love your bench. I'm just setting up shop and starting to learn. How about a tutorial on different hand work techniques for us newbies? Either way, you're site is on my list of favorite destinations.

  2. I also would love any advice you'd give on my setting up shop. Feel free to stop by my site and let me know where you think I could improve my approach.

  3. Victor,

    I'll probably swap out the screw and nut only for a left hand thread. The rest of the vise is good to go. If I don't want to cannibalize the existing screw's iron head, I'll have to come up with a new one of those. I'll make a post about it. As far as tutorials on hand work, gosh, there are lots of blogs out there for that. Start by checking out Woodworking Magazine's blog (at the right under "blogs"), then follow their links. It's like a web! ;-)

    Check your blog.

  4. Cool photos! Love the one of the orange cut into sections. I also notice that each section contains little jewels (cells) of sweet juice. Love it! I also love the photo of the oud hidden in the calamatas! Wow! What's for supper?

    An admirer!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.