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When Danny Proulx was about a third done writing his book, “50 Shop-Made Jigs & Fixtures,” he suddenly passed away. He was at a woodworking show in Ottawa, Ontario, doing what he loved to do best – teaching and talking woodworking.

Well, that left me in an interesting spot – I could cancel the book or somehow get it finished. It happened that Danny had one of his students from Algonquin College as an assistant shop worker. His name is Luc Rousseau. I called Luc and asked him if he’d be interested in finishing Danny’s book. There was silence for a long time. Then he said, “I could possibly do it if I had some help.”

After some discussion, Luc and I decided that we could finish the book, with the help of Danny’s father-in-law, Jack Chaters (who was the cameraman at the time). So, I high-tailed it up to Russell, Ontario and met the guys.

As we (Luc, Jack and I) were standing in the middle of Danny’s shop, pretty much in the dark (mentally, not physically. Danny had so much lighting in his shop you needed sun block and sunglasses to enter it.) about what to do next, that’s when we felt it – Danny’s ghost. Danny was a fairly big guy in this life and his ghost was equally formidable. We all stood there and it became clear where Danny wanted us to go. We went into his office and there, in the file cabinet, was his completed outline for this book!

After that, we simply filled in the blanks by building the jigs and fixtures he had already chosen. Luc was very much relieved and Jack started laughing. He said, “This doesn’t surprise me in the least, Danny was so organized that he left nothing to chance – not even his own demise.”

So, under the tutelage of Danny’s ghost and a couple of good guys, we completed Danny’s book.

– Jim Stack, senior editor of Popular Woodworking Books

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Showing 3 comments
  • Tom O'Brien

    I, too, will obtain a copy of Danny’s last work.
    I never met him, and just started reading his books after he passed away, but I wish I had met him. His book on workshop workstations is a jewel. Thank you for completing the Jigs & Fixtures book.

  • Eric

    I’m going to obtain a copy of that book, if for no other reason, to celebrate the group effort you guys put in to finishing Danny’s work.
    If that doesn’t show the spirit of woodworkers, nothing does.
    I bet he’s up there smiling down on all this.

    Thanks and good job.

  • Jonathan Crone

    Thanks for taking the time to write the nice
    post about Danny. I took a class from Danny
    when he was teaching at algonquin here in Ottawa,
    and had valued his email exchanges with me after
    the class answering questions, and also purchases
    from his website.
    I had chatted with him the first day of the
    woodworking show and was sad and shocked to hear
    of his passing that evening.

    My wife and I bought one of the projects from one
    of his earlier books (the computer armoire, its
    actually our living room in the photos in the
    home/office furniture book) and it served us well
    for many years, and serves a friend of ours now.

    Danny continues to be missed. Thanks to Luc for continuing Danny’s legacy.


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