On Saturday our postman left a note: There was a package for me, but they couldn’t leave it at my house. I had to go to the Post Office and sign for it personally. I’m annoyed (and a little concerned , it sounded a lot like the way I was served with a lawsuit when I was once sued). But I went down, signed the yellow paper without getting handcuffed and was rewarded with a box from Canada.
A.J. Roubo (the name on the cover) had hit town.
Surprisingly, the box was a bit small, and soon I knew why. It had only one of the three volumes I’d ordered (the other two are on back order , the saga continues). This volume, “Le Menuisier Ebeniste, Section De La III” is plenty meaty enough , 273 pages of text plus an additional 60 plates at the back. This volume doesn’t contain the chapter on the early workbench I built, though it does have plate 279 and the text that discusses the “improved” German workbench with a tail vise and a sliding leg vise. Yes, a sliding leg vise. I’ll be posting more on that little detail in a future log entry.
I think the section on the German bench is the first section we’ll take a stab at translating. It might be a rough translation. It might not be exact. But it could be interesting. Our managing editor, Megan Fitzpatrick, has a couple friends, one who specializes in old French languages and another native French speaker with literature training. (Note to self: Hiring a managing editor who’s a doctoral student in English literature does have its advantages.)
I’ve spent a few hours looking over the plates and have already found some very interesting things that were going on in France in 1775. A wooden-stock plane that appears to have variable pitch (55Ã?Â° up to 90Ã?Â° and with a toothed blade). Plus a couple other iron-soled planes , one that looks like a precursor to all the English miter planes and a nice looking scraper plane that could be an infill (these are all on plate 281 for those playing our home game).
Also interesting are many of the drawings that show the Roubo bench that I built in being used for a variety of marquetry functions. How the holdfasts and planning stop were used together to secure large panels is interesting, plus how the holdfasts held jigs to the bench. What’s also interesting is what’s not in these plates. One reader commented that he’s never seen battens in use with holdfasts in early drawings. (Battens are something I advocated in my article on building the bench , and still do). None of the plates show battens in use. Though I’ll also hasten to add that none of these plates demonstrate planing face grain or edge grain. They’re all about marquetry.
I think that’s enough speculation for now. I’ll post more when we have something you can use.