Some great observations on workbenches that are not to be missed. I no longer have a proper shop, so as I continue to minimalize and lighten my possession load, I’m glad to see that the Roubo’s bench isn’t the only game in town. An enormous amount of things I have built, from furniture to boats, houses and tool chests, have been constructed across two well made saw horses.
Just a few years before the turn of the century (1998), American woodworkers began to be obsessed with weight. A picture appeared in “The Workbench Book” by Scott Landis. The picture showed Rob Tarule, planing away on a reproduction of a “Roubo Bench”. It was weighty and nicely joined – the race was on.
Since then, weight has been the watchword. But, alas, as with so many things in life, we may have allowed ourselves to be mislead. And, I’ll say it now, me too. Three hundred, fifty pounds sounded like a good weight. We appear to have identified weight with stability. And, believe me, brothers and sisters, they’re not the same thing!
When one looks at the illustrations in “L’art du Menuisier”, it becomes obvious that these were to provide information about how the work was accomplished in Monsieur Roubo’s atelier. Note that there are no dimensions on the benches…
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