Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Bench #3 - Finis
It's finally done. And I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. The bench, so far, is everything I was envisioning it to be. There are a couple issues here and there, but nothing of concern. No bench is the "perfect" bench. Although I would have to say that Andres Roubo has come mighty close. As I was watching the movie "Master and Commander" earlier this week, I was admiring the construction of the inside of the captain's cabin and thinking about the tools and benches that were used to create these examples of fine woodwork. The cabin is located directly at the rear of the ship, and the windows are all built around a compound curve. This is no Hollywood set though. This tall ship was built as a replica of an 18th century Royal Navy frigate. And in the movie, it was used as the HMS Surprise. After a little Googling I discovered the original HMS Surprise, was actually a French-made boat (the Unite) captured by the British and renamed "Surprise" for the way in which the ship was taken. Andres Roubo wrote his treatise on woodworking around 1770. The Unite was built in 1794. What does all this have to do with this bench? There's a good chance that the original curved windows and panels I was admiring in the movie were built using a bench very similar, if not outright the same as Andre Roubo's bench. I happen to have built Roubo's German Cabinetmaker's bench from plate 279 (perhaps it's my German blood that influenced my decision), but this bench is 100% French at it's heart. I think Roubo would be proud to know that over 2 centuries later, his design is still being used, and enthusiastically at that. Thanks to Scott Landis' "The Workbench Book" for introducing me to the Roubo bench. And thanks also to Chris Schwarz for rekindling my interest. I'm looking forward to many years of work on my new 2008 Roubo German Model.