Monday, February 18, 2019

The French Oak Roubo Project III

After four years of catching our breath, and pining (oaking?) for another week building the sweetest benches with great people and amazing French oak from the Jefferson Administration, we're excited to announce The French Oak Roubo Project III!

If you're new to the "FORP", click through here to read up on our previous coverage of the first two FORPs. Once you have a look at that, come back here for all the nitty gritty.

The Wood

Once again Bo Childs has unearthed another lost cache of massive white oak in France and shipped it across the Atlantic to his shop in Barnesville, GA. Most of the thinner timbers Bo sources goes for high end flooring, but after discovering what is perhaps the last of the really thick, really wide Jeffersonian Quercus Alba in the northern region near Normandy, Bo has decided that this wood should be made into legacy benches by enthusiastic woodworkers.

In fact, these timbers are so massive and suited to Roubo-style bench making that every bench at FORP III will feature a one-piece, monolithic slab top, unlike at past FORPs, where getting a one-piece top was simply a luck of the draw. Now everyone will go home with the best top possible.

The Specs

Every FORP participant will be supplied with a Benchcrafted Classic Leg Vise with Crisscross Solo, Benchcrafted Planing Stop, and a pair of Crucible Tool Holdfasts to install into their bench during the project. Tail vises or wagon vises (even our products) will not be part of this build. If a participant wishes to add a tail vise once they get back home, that is of course their choice. But no accommodation for these vises will be made or considered during the build.

Each bench will feature a one-piece top of massive French oak, 6" nominal thickness (they usually finish out around 5-1/2") 20"-24" wide, and between 7' and 9' long. These variable dimesnions are necessary to yield tops that don't needlessly waste this precious material. Final top width and length will be determined on site at the time of the build. Participants will choose only their bench height.

Each participant will be supplied with all the materials needed to build the bench as illustrated in Roubo's Plate 11, with hardware noted above.

The Venue

Wyatt Childs is nestled in the countryside near rural Barnesville, GA and as a full-time millwork and cabinet shop specializing in working with these amazing timbers, the equipment and layout that Childs' offers is unequaled for this event. We'll have access to a vintage Oliver Straitoplane which mills the tops flat and to thickness in just one or two passes. Make no mistake, this is a hand-tool bench, but we'll be using a tonnage of heavy iron to get the job done in five short days so we can focus on the fun part of cutting joints. The massive lumber warehouse full of super wide European and N. American flitches (they are for sale) plus Bo's open-air displays of anvils, wrought-iron gates, granite watering troughs and the antique showroom will make you think you walked into Roubo's personal supply house. The shop we'll be using is a brick structure with high ceilings trimmed in yellow pine. The old-world vibe at Wyatt Child's is very real.

The Enthusiasts

Just who you'd expect. Abrahams, Brese, Childs, Fitzpatrick, Hoffman, Miller, Myers, Nelson, Schwarz, Williams, and perhaps some others of note.

The Date

October 14-18, 2019

Oct 13, Sunday evening :
Schwarz's Educational Sausage Fest and tapping of the proverbial keg at Wyatt Childs.

We build from 8am to 6ish, or until we drop. Thursday evening at the shop: BBQ and open house for friends, family and alumni.

Friday: everybody stops after lunch to clean up and load up/crate up your benches and tools. No exceptions.

The Food

A delicious, hearty, catered lunch that will leave you full and satisfied. Jenny, a local professional chef has delivered our lunches since FORP I and they are always excellent.

The Details

Price: $5195 for everything listed above. We have room for 20 participants. Skill level required: if you're a rank amateur, this event is probably not for you. If you've got basic woodworking skills, there will be plenty of expert help and advice among the enthusiasts. We will instruct you. Tool lists will be provided to participants after registration.

What's not included: Transportation, lodging, or freighting of your bench should you wish to ship it home. Wyatt Childs will assist with getting your bench on a pallet and arranging pickup via freight carrier.

Early next week we'll post the day and time when registration will open.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below, or fire off an email to us at

photos by Narayan Nayar


  1. The link in this post redirects you back to this post. Also, what skill level is required to register? Can final assembly be performed at home for easier transport?

    1. It actually links to the category "French Oak Roubo", if you scroll down you'll see all 41 posts we've made about the FORP over the years, this post is simply the most recent and shows up at the top of the results.

      You should have some experience under your belt, but there will be help and instruction if you get stuck. Yes, you can assemble back home.

  2. Fantastic! This event is great for those who like memorable lifetime events and enjoy having a source of inspiration every time they work in their shop!

  3. You all had to put the pic of me lounging, or en-repose! Fantastic time, well worth the effort, time, expense. But all of those come back better than four-fold when you have a bench that will last more than your life and the memories you will have for the rest of yours.

  4. Very interested. Very likely I will sign-up, drive my Super Duty down and drive the bench back in its bed.

    Question on hand tools: Are we going to need $5k worth of Lee Nielsen tools to get this beast done? I have decent but limited collection of hand tools and will probably need to up arm a bit. A suggested list of hand tools would be appreciated.
    thank you and looking forward to this.

    1. Not at all. Your regular set of hand tools is all that's required, plus a couple less common tools that you probably already have. We'll provide a tool list to participants.

  5. Hi guys, I'd be traveling from The Netherlands and would need the bench shipped back overseas. Is there a way to do that? Better to try to source a slab here (but miss out on the experience)? Thanks from a military officer stationed In Europe.

  6. Wyatt Childs ships from Europe regularly, he can assist you with shipping your bench back no problem.

  7. How quick does this usually fill up? I'm very interested, but not sure I can swing that down payment as soon as you open registration. Thanks!

    1. The past two filled within a couple minutes.

    2. Safe to assume that this already filled up, then? Or by some miracle would there be room for another?

    3. Yes. Email us to be added to the waitlist.

    4. Yes to your first question, sorry.

  8. Really, great your french oak roubo project. I also buy wood tools from toolsbros and work on my wood projects.


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