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The Roubo workbench we built for Issue 4 has been greeted with both interest and healthy skepticism. Most people wonder how they would perform certain operations without a shoulder vise, twin-screw vise or metal face vise. They question whether you can really do everything you need to do in a shop with such a dirt simple workbench.

I was skeptical at first, too. But after a couple months of working on the Roubo, I don’t think I would trade this bench for any other. It exceeds my every expectation and excels at every workholding task I throw at it, whether I’m wielding a router or a router plane.

This fall, you can take the Roubo bench for a test drive yourself. The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association has graciously agreed to let me bring the bench to the organization’s national meeting in St. Charles, Ill., on October 20 , 22. I’ll be showing how the bench works for a wide variety of hand and power operations. And you’re welcome to come give it a whirl yourself, too. Plus, I’ll be handing out copies of our magazine, answering any questions and sneaking off to snag a few tool deals myself.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association (M-WTCA), then I strongly urge you to become a member (it’s an amazing value, really) and attend this meeting in particular. From my conversations with the organizers, this national meeting should be a most excellent one.

The association is an astounding resource for anyone who is interested in hand woodworking , it’s not just for collectors. Every time I hang out with the hardcore from M-WTCA I get a thorough education in some tool (this week I spent some time in Chicago learning about oddball stuff for a brace).

Plus, the tailgating must been seen to be believed. If you buy your hand tools on eBay, it’s easy to spend too much money or wind up with a tool that is not in usable condition. At he MWTCA tailgating (and in some of the motel rooms) you will see more tools than you have ever seen before. And the prices are fair.

If you end up going to the meet, please do stop by our booth, try out the bench for yourself and let us know what we can do to improve Woodworking Magazine. Plus, if enough readers are there, we can perhaps organize a visit to a local watering hole.

Christopher Schwarz

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