#SSBO or Shop Stool Build Off - Roubo Edition.

Roubo workbenches have become pretty ubiquitous among the internet and woodworking blogosphere. It seems if you haven't built at least one of the variety (split top, french oak, slope top, petite, LVL,  low rider, plate 11, or binary) then you just aren't one of the cool kids. 

{warning: some of those Robo varieties may not have been written about yet}

So what's a guy with Roubo envy to do. Well you wait around for a guy like Chris Wong to introduce the concept of a group internet build centered around making a shop stool in a weekend. When I cast around for ideas for a new shop stool I landed on the concept of a Roubo shop stool. Now I could have a Roubo all my own and suffer envy no more. 

The real challenge was to document the whole build online. I chose to use my page on Facebook which cross posts to Twitter. What follow is a recap of the day on Facebook 

(Starting about 0945 Central Time) 

So I slept in a little later than I expected but it's all good. I was just out to light a fire in the shop and I've just made my morning coffee. Getting ready to roll. #SSBO

These are the five parts I laminated up in preparation. They've been in clamps for a week waiting for today . #SSBO

 #SSBO four luscious and lovely laminated legs plus one seriously stacked seat.  White oak. 

 #SSBO Plans and plan of action hanging up and here we go. 

 #SSBO planing one edge of the seat flat so I can square the rest on the table saw.
 #SSBO Seat squared on three sides, I left the top rough to sculpt later. 

 #SSBO surfacing finished on the legs and seat. If I just stack it like this can I be done? It's cold out here. (For the record Chris Wong answered me back on twitter and said "No!" so I kept at it) 
 #SSBO calling an audible in the design. On paper I had the legs flairing out at the bottom. It didn't look right. Changed up to some stepped cloud lifts. And moving forward.  
 #SSBO leg shaped roughed out on the bandsaw. Now to layout the "Roubo" tenons. 
 #SSBO I've really gotten to like using a sector and dividers to layout things. Dividing the board into thirds is so easy this way. 
 #SSBO cutting the angles on the infamous Roubo tenon. 
 #SSBO Tenon accomplished/ :) pondering a lunch break but I think I'll hold off a while. 

 #SSBO directly laying out the mortises from the already cut tenons. 

 #SSBO mortises at the ready. 

 #SSBO drilling out the mortises in the seat. 

 #SSBO Mortises accomplished. A little dry assembly. Then lunch. 

 #SSBO A littler tweaking is needed but I think I'm on the right track. 

 #SSBO marking out the mortises for the stretchers

 #SSBO tenons cut with the waste split off the stretchers

 #SSBOFirst stretcher mortise and tenon fit. 3 more to go. 
 #SSBO stretchers all fit together for a dry fit. I was going to sculpt the stretchers some but I kind of like how them as is. 

 #SSBO the Roubo bench has holdfast holes in the legs. So does my Roubo shop stool. 

 #SSBO How do you make your own dowel pins? Instead of paring the edges with a chisel to fit into my doweling plate  I sharpen them with a construction pencil sharpener. 





 #SSBO the day started out around -930 with some coffee. It ends 13 hours later with some good bourbon. 
I will admit. 16 mortise and tenon joints. half of those the double Roubo dovetail style was ambitious for one day in the shop, but I wanted to push my own envelope. I've always been a little haunted by the stories of the amount of output the masters of the past were able to accomplish. I wanted to push myself towards that goal. Not speed for speed sake, but efficiency and economy of movement. Those are important things to strive for. 

Now I have to carve out some time tomorrow to sculpt the seat, give everything an final sanding, and apply a coat of finish.

Ratione et Passionis


  1. Nice work. I have to say, it looks even better than your plan.

  2. That was awesome! I could hear subliminally the "A Space Odyssey" playing in my head as you took that picture of the sun shining over the seat of your stool! Very nice!

  3. Your design came out really nice. I am extremely impressed that you could make that many joints in one day. It must have been intense.

  4. Well done Derek.
    Now that you've set the mark how will you top it.

  5. Nice work! Your bourbon looks good too!! :-)


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