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Normally I don’t like to begin a story with a question (or an adverb), but: What Was I Drinking?

When the Northeastern Woodworkers Association came calling I agreed to bring my handmade Roubo workbench (the one featured on the cover of the August 2010 issue) to its annual Showcase in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

This year the Showcase is March 26-27, and it is one of my favorite woodworking shows, both as an attendee and as a presenter.

The show is one-third education, one-third furniture gallery and one-third selling floor, with high-quality vendors. If you live anywhere in the Northeast, it is definitely worth a long drive. (Bring your spouse, the town is charming and scenic.)

This year I’ll be demonstrating hand-tool techniques (surprise) plus discussing the workbench, where it will be on display in a special exhibit of benches at the show.

So somehow I have to muscle this 300-pound bench into an as-yet-undetermined vehicle and trek 700 miles. I am thinking about installing some heavy-duty casters on the bench plus a trailer hitch. Perhaps not.

But it will be worth the effort. I always have a blast at this show. I spend too much money. I learn a lot from the other presenters (this year Peter Follansbee will be there) and the food in the town is quite good.

Check out all the details of the show on the organization’s web site. And if you can’t attend, you can hear me discuss the workbench on the DVD “Build an 18th-century Workbench,” available now in our store.

— Christopher Schwarz

Video: See a video demonstrating how to make 4°wedges.
Article: read a detailed article on how to flatten a workbench’s top.
Blog: Read all of Christopher’s blog entries about workbenches.
To buy: Purchase a wood visescrew from lake Erie Toolworks.
In our store: Purchase “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.”

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Showing 14 comments
  • Mitch Wilson

    If you decide to take the NY Thruway through Syracuse, rather than coming up I-88, and you think you need to take a break before proceeding on to Saratoga, feel free to come on over. I’m a couple of miles from the nearest exit and make some mean coffee. Otherwise, see you Saturday.

  • jon003

    Given it’s new owner, shouldn’t it be called the Daughter of Roubo?

  • idafleetdoc

    What is the wedge shape part on the vise leg?

  • Dyami

    I’ll be getting up there late Friday. Between myself the the rest of us trouble makers, please let me know if we can be of any help moving the bench.

    See you in Saratoga.

  • Ben Lowery

    Disclaimer / Qualification?: I live in Saratoga Springs, but I have zero affiliation with any of these places.

    If I may be so bold, some recs for eats if you’re coming town:

    Breakfast / Coffee @ The Cupcake Lab. A new shop, right behind the Remax building, across Broadway from the convention center. It’s in the back. Little hard to find, but the best coffee in town, especially if you’re looking for espresso. The drip coffee is done on demand and is the best drip I’ve ever had. The owner worked out the drip rig himself.

    Second breakfast at Mrs. Londons. One of the finest bakeries / patisseries’s in the US, the croissants will make you think you’re in France. Enjoy one while dreaming of building your Roubo bench.

    Ravenous is a little crepe and fries place down a few blocks on Phila St. Best fries in the area, and the best crepe you’ll get between Montreal and NYC. They do lunch and dinner and are pretty small.

    Uncommon Grounds on Broadway has the best bagels in town. I find the coffee only OK, though they do roast on site and they have free wifi.

    Dinner. Oh boy do you have dinner options.

    Max London’s is newer tapas-style fare and excellent wood fired pizzas, a great but small draft beer list, and an inventive set of mixed drinks. Maestro’s is personal favorite in town; I’ve never had a bad meal there. Chianti is pretty good, but I’ve only been a few times, some people swear by it.

    Karavalli (on Caroline) is great if you’re looking for Indian. Phila Fusion or Sushi Thai on Phila (same owner, Phila is upscale) are the best in the area for sushi and thai.

    Hatties (on Phila) has some of the best fried chicken I’ve had outside of the south.

    Wheatfields on Broadway is great for pasta and american italian fare. The took on new ownership in the last couple years and it’s made a huge improvement.

    And I really like 9 Maple for after dinner drinks and such. Wonderful scotch list.

    Oh, an old standby, Chez Sophie, closed up shop in the past year.

    Anyway, there’s a good reason I put on a few extra pounds when I moved up here, and it’s not just the chilly weather. 🙂 I’m sure I’m missing a few, but those are the places that really stand out to me.

    If you’re willing to go further afield, there’s some great stuff up in Glens Falls too. Davidson Bros has very good beer, brewed on site, and The Chocolate Mill should really be in Napa. Some of the best desserts I’ve had, and easily the best in the area. They also serve lunch and breakfast. Bit of a hike, but worth it.

    Disclaimer / Qualification?: I live in Saratoga Springs, but I have zero affiliation with any of these places.

  • TimS

    About moving that bench… I use these to move furniture all the time. They are expandable. You may need to find a local flooring installation supplier to buy them.

  • mpn77

    I thought you gave this bench away to an up-and-coming young woodworker?

    What if she is mid-project?!?! This just doesn’t seem right.


  • robert

    I think in true redneck tradition the answer is to tie the thing on top of your vehicle with bungee cords and hope for the best.

  • Andrew

    I thought this was going to be another fancy, schmancy new bench from the 18th century. It’s only a 7 hr drive from here, but knee surgery and 2 kids make that a pretty insurmountable distance.

  • Niels

    Cool! Making plans for “spring break” just got a little more interesting. I was either thinking upstate NY or Cancun, but honestly, it’s a little bit chilly in Cancun this time of year.
    I’m more of a permafrost kind of guy.

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