Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Roubo in Action

I thought it'd be fun to put together a little video showing some of the capabilities of my version of the Andres Roubo German Cabinetmaker's bench. In the video I use the different vises, including the Benchcrafted Tail Vise, for some basic operations including face planing, edge planing, and sawing and chopping dovetails. I got a little over eager with the planing footage. Sometimes it's fun just to make shavings when my planes are singing. There isn't any commentary, and just a few subtitles. The video kind of speaks for itself, I think. I couldn't resist adding a little background music towards the end to toast not only the German heritage of this bench, but also my own German heritage.

Roubo Bench Video


  1. Jameel: I watched the video and enjoyed seeing your personalized way of working with planes. The subtleties of how you handle the plane, the finesse of the motions, come through clearly and should be inspiring to those who want to master the tool. Very cool. Keith

  2. Very nice! You surely have sharp planes and very robust bench. Could you introduce your planes a bit more? Are they records, stanley or other? How about the blades?

  3. Jameel,

    I just linked this to my own blog. This is a great video. Those 8ft shavings coming off the edge are outstanding. I guess you solved the bottom shelf interference problem with your sliding vise by just removing it when not in use? Elegant, simple, I like it.

  4. Thanks Keith. I love working with planes.

    My bench planes are pre-WWII Stanleys. I've replaced the irons and chip breakers with Lie-Nielsen products.

    I haven't solved the interference problem. You'll notice I don't have much junk on the shelf. I'm working on developing a vise without the parallel guide, so I can use both the slider and shelf to their greatest advantage.

  5. Jameel,

    Thank you very much. First for sharing your experiences with making your amazing workbench, and also for posting this great video. I am a cabinetmaking student and I am always looking for videos and lessons on woodworking, but I don't often find videos of craftsmen at work. Watching you work was very inspiring and educational.

    Thank you and keep it up!

  6. Hi Jameel,

    Interesting and informative blog. I like the workbench a lot too. Personally, I don't have room in my shop for those huge vices, but you seem to have plenty of space! By comparison that is.

    Almost forgot! What is it you use to lubricate the soles of your planes. Looks like candle-wax, but when you drop it on the bench it sounds as if it's a piece of wood!


  7. Thanks Ian. Making the video was a hoot!

  8. WOW very nice bench and come u never put the rollers on the slider.did u put leather on the jaws.and did u ever think of putting a magnet on the dog over the leg. do u ever think u will publish a plan for this bench. luv it dave

  9. There isn't room for rollers under the slider's parallel guide, since it ends right at bench's rail. Yes, the jaws are lined with leather. You can get plans for the bench (minus the additions I made) from

  10. Very Impressive (both bench and skills).

    I much prefer the handles use used on your dog vise than the "T" handles I used on my paired vises, which can interfere with each other.

    I'm curious if you've done anything special to guide the leg vises other than close fits on the screws and parallel guides? There appears to be very little racking when you clamp the vertical board at the end of the video. I like this a lot!

  11. Check out this post for info on the mechanism I came up with for the leg vise.

    It doesn't work on the sliding vise, but that one works fairly smoothly too, although not nearly as effortlessly as the fixed leg vise.

  12. Great idea!

    To solve your shelf sweeping problem, did you consider using the scissor mechanism to keep the jaw parallel?

    I think it was in Chris Schwartz's book where I swaw this illustrated.

    I don't know how this would affect the "springiness" of the jaw - I suspect it'll have to be pretty heavily built to give you the solid feel you get with the parallel guide you have now.

    Another idea, if you can come up with another way of supporting the jaw, would be to curve the parallel guide, possibly with a sharper bend near the jaw end to make it stand up more vertical when the vise is used for thin stock, which I would guess is its normal function.

  13. I'm actually prototyping that vise right now. If it works out, we'll be producing it along with the tail vise.


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