Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A New Roubo and the J. Kirkpatrick Bench

This week at Benchcrafted we're building a new version of a Roubo bench completely outfitted with Benchcrafted vises. We do build benches on commission from time to time, and this particular client wanted a solid top, not a split-top. He also gave us some liberties with certain aspects of the bench. So for this bench we're building the base entirely from some very nice 12/4 Ash that we've been holding on to for a few years. There will be no laminated parts in the base of this bench.

In Andre Roubo's bench description from "The Art of the Joiner" the legs for a typical bench are about 3" x 6". (read more about this at the Lost Art Press blog, where Chris Schwarz and team are working on an English translation of Roubo's monumental text) Lots of Roubo benches being built feature legs that are closer to 5" x 5". The one Roubo to rule them all utilizes legs in this dimension and it works quite well (our prototype Roubo was built with them) However, this requires a lamination for most stock, extra preparation labor and time. This does add some weight to the bench. A wider leg like the 3" x 6-5/8" legs on this bench will increase racking resistance along the length of the bench, and additional short upper stretchers drawbored to the front and rear legs will make the end assemblies even more rigid.

See the engraving above from Roubo. The bench in the lower half of the picture shows legs that look more square in cross section, while the bench on top features legs that look more rectangular. This bench will also feature a knock-down base using Benchcrafted Barrel Nuts. Look for more info here later this week.

In the meantime, grab a cold drink and head over to the Talk Festool forum where Jim Kirkpatrick has been documenting his Split-Top Roubo build in great detail. Jim's unique use of Festool equipment is reason enough to take a look.

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