Office Roubo Leg Joinery

Each leg has double through tenons that will go into the workbench top. I left the tenons about 1/8 inch proud for handling. Will trim flush after final assembly. The outer tenon has a dovetail shape and is open at its narrow face to create a flush surface between the edge of top, face of leg and face of long stretchers. Pretty cool. 

That matching mortise in the top is pretty fragile. Pushing the tenons home did break out the sharp corners in several places. I patched a few, but mostly left it looking rustic.

Stretchers with faces cut. Upper and lower shoulder still to be created.

The lower stretchers have fat tenons which require double pass with my 3/8 inch spiral router bit. I had considerable burning as that bit (since replaced) was rather fried from previous efforts. The burned walls are not visible when assembled and they can’t impact glue bond as I am not glueing the workbench. Semi-knock apart style. Good joinery and plenty of gravity should hold it sound and stable.



Office Roubo, leg stock prep

Stock for legs

I am building a new workbench for my in-office, rainy day woodworking. It will replace one that served me well, but has some shortcomings. Plus, I really was driven to try the classic leg to top Roubo joinery.

First up was milling stock for the legs. I used the 8/4 cherry from Bell Forest Products for the entire project. The bench will use the better part of three of the six boards I received (100 b.f.). The legs are glued up to created 3.5 x 2.75 inch components.

This simple, but robust mini-bench will not have any vise, but I can use my Moxon style vise when that form of work holding is required. Mostly I anticipate using dogs, holdfasts, battens and wedges.

Cornucopia carving

The completed cornucopia carving

My on-line carving instructor, Mary May, created a cornucopia project prior to Thanksgiving, 2017. I did not finish my rendition in time for the annual feast, but enjoyed the process. 

Early stages as I define the outer edges. First with V-chisel and then variety of gouges.

Basswood was used for its workability. After the relief carving was completed I gave it a light spray of shellac and then “colorized” using diluted acrylic paints for a wash effect.

The result was interesting. Not sure if I prefer the natural look or the painted version. From a distance the painted version can almost look like a mere painting, whereas left natural it is more obviously carved.

This was a fun and relatively easy project.

Bubinga Sideboard Top Refinished

Sanding off the original finish

Around 2010 I built a sideboard using highly figured Bubinga. I was still in my experimenting with finishes stage. The top was too shiny for my taste, but I left it that way for a long time. Finally, I decided to refinish the top more to my liking.

Removed the top and sanded with 50 grit paper and proceeded through grits to 220. The original top also showed planer snipe at one end which was only visible in certain lighting angles. The sanding also removed the snipe. Thank you, very much.

Fresh matte finish and snipe removed

Finished with usual varnish/BLO/mineral spirits wipe on/wipe off procedure. Besides being more to my taste, I removed the wince that would cross my face every time I looked at that piece.

In response to Shawn’s query I looked at the original photo gallery (and the actual cabinet). Flipping through the images I see a number of processes that no longer fit my style. The hollow chisel mortiser is gone. Replaced that process with either uncut spiral bit in the router (with edge guide) or by hand with mortising chisel. I do not use a pattern router bit on curves any more. These days I’ll cut close to the line on band saw (as before) and then shape with planes, spokeshaves, rasps and sandpaper.

I do not ever expect to use the hidden Soss hinges again. They caused all sorts of issues. My solutions created rather weak stiles on the hinge sides as I had to round them over to gain clearance. These days I would use knife hinges.

Side pieces surface glued. Note figure on outside piece, more common figure on inner

Shawn asked of rationale for not using secondary wood for non-visible portions such as the case top (buried below the show top). I had enough of the fabulous Bubinga for the show top, sides, drawer fronts and door panels. “Regular” (but still nicely colored and patterned) material for the rest. Pure indulgence. For instance, the sides are built to 1-1/2 inches thick from the figured material on outside and regular, but lovely material, on the inside of the sandwich. That is hidden below the top (above) and the legs (front view), but it was fun to do it that way. The inside surface is visible when you have the door(s) open.

Interestingly the hardwood dealer (Soboba) charged the same for the highly figured material as the regular Bubinga. When I saw it in his shop, I immediately got out my checkbook without a specific use in mind. 

I used Philippine Mahogany for top row of drawer runners (aka web frame). Also used P.M. for drawer sides and bottoms as well as the back ship lapped back slats. Legs of Padauk.


Tortuga Bay, 2006

Palm trees, white sand beaches and turquoise sea

Tortuga Bay Hotel, endowed with miles of stunning, white-sand beaches on the eastern shores of the Dominican Republic, is poised to become a favored retreat for those seeking the truly exceptional. Their commitment to service begins when you arrive at Punta Cana Airport, the world’s only privately built and owned international airport, where you are greeted, whisked through immigration, your bags are collected and you are on a private shuttle. Ten minutes later your personal villa manager is helping you settle in. Responsible for just two villas, he remains just a page away. The attractive staff is genuine and generous with their time and attention, a reflection of the dedication and vision of co-founder and president, Frank Rainieri. His love affair with this land and his devotion to responsible stewardship is manifested throughout the 15,000 acres under his watch.

Frank Rainieri and Tom Buhl at La Yola

While impressive development continues, guests can feel the care taken to do it the right way rather rampant building for the sake of having rooms to fill. Creating their own international airport, partnering with Cornell University on a 1,500-acre ecological research park and providing a K through 12th grade bi-lingual school are just a few symbols of the thought and consideration at work here. Characteristically, the school’s tuition is based on salary, so that sons and daughters of housekeeping attend classes with the founder’s grandchildren.

Oscar de la Renta designed living space

We loved the Oscar de la Renta-designed stylish and spacious villas. A two-bedroom configuration is over 3,000 square feet. The layout is equally comfortable for a quiet evening with family or for hosting a formal reception. Each bedroom suite has its own coralline stone bathroom featuring Jacuzzi bath and glass-enclosed shower, walk-in closet and double French doors opening to the large, ocean-view patio. With only fifteen villas gracing this lovely setting, privacy and security are ensured. Visit and use the Tortuga Bay Hotel link.

Faces of New Orleans, 2007

This colorful character seemed to be everywhere. Later Gastil and I used this image for our I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival chalk art.

I attended the 7th Annual Satchmo Summerfest in New Orleans [August, 2007].  Staying at Harrah’s near the French Quarter, I savored the sounds, sights and people. A jazz mass at historic St. Augustine’s was followed by a second line parade to a multi-stage festival venue that swung all day and into the evening. Great fun.