Roubo: Assembling the Split-Top

Article - December 4, 2011

Even with a new baby and all the challenges that go with it, the Roubo build continues. Ok so its going a little slower than normal but I am making progress!

From Rough to Ready

The Split-Top Roubo, as the name suggests, features a top comprised of two separate slabs. I used 8/4 stock for everything so there was quite a bit of milling to do. As you can see, I made a wee bit of sawdust. That’s about two loads from the dust collector.

The boards for the top are cut to about 4 1/4″ Wide x 96″ Long while leaving the thickness as thick as possible. Obviously the thicker the boards, the fewer we’ll need to make up the slab. I wound up needing 7 boards for the rear slab and 5 for the front. Later, I’ll have to mill up a couple more boards for the front slab’s dog hole strip and the front strip.

Alignment Help

When gluing all these boards together, it is imperative that we find some way to stop them from sliding past one another. After all, the flatter they remain during the glueup, the less flattening we’ll have to do later. You can certainly use dowels, splines or biscuits for this, but I’m opting for Dominos. Joint strength really isn’t an issue here and alignment is our only concern. And very few things will align two surfaces quite as accurately as a Domino! So I made 4 mortises per joint and slathered on the glue. I really didn’t worry about getting glue in the mortises. A small paint roller made quick work of the task.

Never Enough Clamps?

Once the glue was applied and the stack assembled, I began adding clamps every 12″ or so. The good thing about using such thick stock is that it acts somewhat like its own caul. The clamping pressure is fairly well-distributed so you don’t necessarily need an insane amount of clamps. Well, I guess that depends on your definition of “insane”.

Next step is to plane the top slabs to final thickness and then trim them to length. Stay tuned!

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