Roubo Workbench: I Met the Devil…
by Patrick Harper - Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust
…and he lives in the details.
I thought I would have completed the Roubo workbench by now. I’m getting close, but these little tasks add up.
I did finish the shelf. I created 1-1/4″ square ledgers and screwed them to each of my stretchers. These are the only screws found on the entire workbench. The shelves rest on the ledgers. I milled up some of my remaining 2 x 12 stock to make 6 shelf boards. With the shelf boards 4-square, I cut notches in the end boards for the legs. Then I cut my shiplap joints and fit the boards. I had to fine-tune the last board to get the fit I wanted.
I still have to bore out hold-fast holes. Aside from that, I just need to decide if I will finish the bench or not. What do you think? An oil finish will prevent moisture wicking, but might increase the slickness of the top. I’m currently leading towards BLO.
Stay tuned for the project finish.
You can find links to my other Roubo posts here: Project Index
My vote is for no finish at all.
I vote for BLO thinned with mineral spirits.
If you use no finish, you’re more likely to get stained spots and dirty marks all over it. And while it’s just a workbench, you want a more or less uniformly colored surface. Why intentionally make it more difficult to see what’s on your workbench (screws, small parts, etc.) because of a mottled background? You’re probably going to flatten the top again at some point, so don’t waste time or money on a tough finish. A few coats of BLO are a good compromise: little money and effort for just enough protection to keep it from looking like the floor of a movie theater.
I’m really worried most about insects and moisture wicking. I definitely don’t a film finish. I think BLO is how I will go.