Workbench Wednesday – A Douglas Fir Laminated Roubo

Continuing the minor detour from recounting the inventory of my own workbenches, today I will talk about a sweet left-handed Roubo made from, I think, salvaged local Douglas Fir. I saw this bench when visiting our daughter and SIL over Christmas.

My daughter had recounted the tale of chatting with their friend K at church, wherein K mentioned to them that he had built a dream workbench. When asked about it, K mentioned that it was a French-style workbench documented by this guy Roubo that they would have never heard of.

At which point my daughter piped up and said, “Hey, I know that name. My Dad is writing a bunch of books about him.”

“Really? Who’s your Dad?”

“Don Williams.”

She said that K’s eyes got wide with disbelief that the author of the book he had used as guide for building his bench was his friend’s Dad. Small world, huh?

So, while in NorCal for Christmas it was arranged for SIL and me to join K for a manly breakfast from several of the fried food categories. We did and had a grand time of fellowship, then trekked to K’s home nearby for the viewing of the bench.

It was indeed a terrific bench.

There were some innovative modifications, including re-locating the leg vise to the right end reflecting K’s left-handedness. Perhaps the most intriguing modification was the re-design of the double-tenon joint where the leg top joins the bench. Instead of ganging together the single rectangular tenon and a single dovetailed tenon at the top of each leg, K chose to use two rectangular tenons with the one set back from the edge face of the bench, rendering it a fully-housed joint. I was very much impressed.

He also included a sliding deadman, a fairly typical feature of many benches, and a nice slipper to fit underneath the holdfasts.

He is rightly pleased with this centerpiece of his own workshop.

We then went down the road to The College of the Redwoods, where K is an instructor in the cabinetmaking program there. IIRC CoR was the umbrella for the Krenov School 125 miles down the coast, which is now independent of CoR. However, K indicated that the CoR administration is interested in creating a new fine woodworking making and design curriculum to stand alongside their other construction technology programs.

I certainly wish them success in that.