My rusty high school French has been getting a workout this week. I’m slowly consuming bits and pieces of the book “Les Rabots” by Pierre Bouillot and Xavier Chatellard. It’s a beautiful monster of a tome about planes – 352 pages of densely packed information on the
history, manufacture and use of handplanes.
And it’s all in French.
I picked up the book this summer in Paris to gain more of a European perspective on the tool. Mike Dunbar also has a copy, and that lucky chairmaking Francophone has read it all and reports on it on his blog.
In addition to relearning my French, I’ve also picked up on a couple interesting details on workbenches shown in the books, and I have
sketched them up for you.
The first one is from an engraving showing a shop in the suburb of Saint-Antoine. Two of the benches feature the board jack shown in the drawing above. The board slides in and out of the notches and can be moved up and down depending on how wide a board or panel you need to support.