Most of you know how much I like Andre Roubo’s “L’Art du Menuisier” , probably the best and most complete books on woodworking from the 18th century. Heck, I’ve even considered taking up my French studies again just to be able to read it (more on that later).
However, getting copies of Roubo in this country has been nothing less than frustrating. I got a couple modern reprints through a bookstore in Quebec. And several French web sites carry them (with ghastly hoops to jump through to get them into this country). And all of my efforts to get a reliable and reasonable source in North America have proved fruitless.
Thanks entirely to Joel Moskowitz at Tools for Working Wood, reprints of all five volumes of Roubo are now available for sale. These books are immense fun to page through, even if you don’t read French. That’s because the plates , hundreds and hundreds of glorious line drawings , will teach you more about furniture, marquetry and hand tools than I can. Plus you likely will be inspired to build one of Roubo’s benches once you see them in use throughout the book. That’s what sold me.
The volumes sell for $70 to $90, which sounds like a lot, but it’s worth it. When I was importing these from Canada, that’s about what I ended up paying (maybe a bit more once you included international fees). These books will be with you forever, and who knows how long they’ll be available.
The other news is that we have some more exciting news about Roubo that we’ll be announcing on my personal blog this weekend, LostArtPress.com. This is a personal project that I and another woodworker have been slaving over for a while. So do drop by LostArtPress.com this weekend and check it out. I think you’ll be glad you did.