Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Going against the grain

Tag: sketchup

Roubo Design Update: What I Learned

Roubo Sketchup

The design is complete.  The bench top might be taking longer than I’d like, but at least I was able to finalize the details.  Does anyone want to donate a powered jointer?

I had a few minutes over my lunch break, and was able to finish the sliding dead-man, bang out a vise chop, add a planing stop, and locate my hold-fast holes.  It might not seem like a lot, but here is what I learned.

  1. Planning out all of the details will help you work out problems you might not see otherwise.
  2. I don’t really need bench dogs or dog holes.  A planing stop will work better for me.
  3. I often joint long boards.  A sliding dead-man will make it easy to support long boards
  4. Thinking about how I work allowed me to plan out the location of hold-fast holes before I turned my bench top into Swiss cheese

Back to work.  I hope to have a completed bench top soon.

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index

Sketchup to the Rescue


While reviewing the instructions for my Bench Crafted leg vise, I realized that the location of the tenon for my front stretcher was going to interfere with the mortise of the criss-cross. Bench Crafted provides details on how to work around this if you’re using their nuts and bolts. However, I wanted to stay as traditional as possible and drawbore the stretchers. I quickly turned to SketchUp to see what could be done.

After tinkering around a bit, I discovered that the solution wouldn’t be difficult at all. I need to move the location of the mortise for the stretcher back a bit. I want to have at least half an inch between the two mortises. The original location was 1 1/4 inch behind the front edge of the leg. Moving the mortise back to 2 inches gives me room to spare. I will also need to thicken the front stretcher in order for it to remain flush with the front of the legs.

Leg Joints

Criss-cross Mortise on the left, and stretcher on the right

Crisis averted.

The only thing I have left to do is layout the dog / holdfast holes, and design the vise chop.

If you’re not yet using SketchUp for your projects, I would highly recommend you look into it. The software is free and there’s a great instructional series on

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index

The Venerable Bench Hook

I’ve been spending the past few days working on plans for a bench hook. A bench hook is a simple, shop-made tool that aids in making accurate cross-cuts by hand. It consists of a flat board with a simple hook and fence. The hook catches on the side of your workbench and the fence holds the work piece. It’s a dead simple device. However, it has afforded me the ability to work on some of my lagging hand-tool skills as well as learn some new software. I’ve been hearing some good things about SketchUp, so I thought I would give it a try. I think I’ll be using it a lot more in the future.

bench hook2