Friday, February 8, 2013

A Single Piece of Wood...

That is all it took to forever change my view on woodworking, and more importantly my interest in craftsmanship and artisan made goods. Recently I stumbled upon The Woodwrights Shop with Roy Underhill. In my first eye opening episode Roy was talking about a French fellow by the name of Roubo, or more accurately a book stand that Roubo discussed in one of his writings. This book stand, commonly known as the Roubo Book Stand in hand woodworking circles (which aren't as small as they used to be) is carved and sawn from a single piece of wood. The most impressive part of the book stand is the fact that it has fully functioning hinges that allow the whole thing to collapse for easy storage.

Made from a single piece of Hickory...the heart cutout is not Roubo's original design.

Needless to say I was completely sold on the whole concept. Here is this amazing piece of workmanship that can ONLY be made using hand tools, no amount of rigging or jigging or Tom foolery that normally accompanies power tools will help you turn a single piece of wood into a fold-able book stand. So like most of my prototype ideas I decided that my sweet, innocent, and highly understanding wife was the perfect person that I could make this book stand for...and Valentines Day was coming up after all.

This side profile shows how ingenious Roubo's design really is.

Flash forward several hours in the shop banging dull chisels and sawing (the only handsaw that I had at the time was an old, dull Craftsman panel saw from my father) and I had a quite respectable looking book stand  After some decorative curves, a heart cutout, and sanding I put on a mineral oil/beeswax finish and stood back to admire my very first truly handmade ware.

The detail of the hinges shows how hand tools are the only way to go with this project.

This handmade book stand was the definitive turning point in my thought process on building things. I now spend my time reading about hand woodworking, planning new projects, researching old and new hand techniques, and trying my best to amass a tool collection that most woodworkers would deem useless.

I love the Grain on the Back...and it matches our cabinets perfectly!

P.S. My wife loves her book stand  and actually uses it more as an iPad stand while cooking and baking, not exactly Roubo's original intent but it works quite well. She also took these great photographs of her book stand, so if you like what you see check out her blog to see some really great photos.

No comments:

Post a Comment