French Oak Roubo Project: Day 2


Raney ”Miller” Nelson slides his bench leg into the cradle on the Tannewitz 36” band saw. The task: Push it forward to cut one of the dovetails on the top of a leg for his workbench.

He pushes forward. He gets to the finish line and pulls the leg backward. But instead of pulling the jig back, only the leg comes back. The leg drops out of the jig and jams the blade in the joint.

The 36” band saw begins screaming like an owl trapped in a revolving door.

Before anyone can turn off the saw, there is a sound like a gunshot. Several students soil their pants (or use the sharp sound as an excuse for soiling their pants… again). And then sparks begin to fly out of the band saw as it makes its screaming death braking procedure.

After five minutes, Raney and I exhale. We wait for band saw to spin down before we open the wheel covers.

Five minutes more pass. The saw is still spinning.

I go off to cut the joints on my legs.

Five minutes pass. The saw is still spinning. Raney walks away to work on his legs. Somewhere an entire episode of “Hee-Haw” is aired. The saw is still spinning.

I forget entirely that we broke the blade, and Don Williams comes up to ask if anyone is going to change the dang blade. Raney checks it. Still spinning.

Tuesday was joinery day in Barnesville, Ga. We cut mortises in all the legs – I got the distinct pleasure of this job and became intimate with the pneumatic controls on the mortiser. At one point, Justin Leib (one of the bench builders) asked if he should leave me alone with the beast for some pneumatic consummation.

Other highlights:

• We cut the tenons on the tops of the legs.
• We surfaced all the stock for the stretchers.
• We flattened most of the benchtops with a planer.
• Most of the students did a crapload of handwork on their components.
• Raney broke a band saw blade.
• We ate fried chicken.

On Wednesday we should finish a lot more joinery. Jameel “Jamal Alabama” Abraham and I hope to experiment with a timber-framing band saw to cut the dovetail slots in the top.

And, with hope, that Tannewitz band saw will finally spin down so Raney can change the blade.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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9 Responses to French Oak Roubo Project: Day 2

  1. jarvilaluban says:

    Great post. Way better than Benchcrafted coverage.


  2. robert725 says:

    Great post. Too bad it gets pushed down by some crap from 1749. This type of post is the heart and soul of, and the reason I and others read, this blog.


  3. paulobro says:

    Hey, no need to explain it; I suppose I well understand the reasons. But no escape finding it quite ironic, when the going gets tough prominent advocates of light and noiseless hand tools shamelessly and enthusiastically embrace noisy and o-so-very-heavy mastodonic machinery…


  4. gburbank says:

    Extreme machine woodworking! Brought to you by Iron Age Machinery…I chuckled at the six man jointer team, and thought perhaps it would be easier to flip the jointer and run it over the edge of the plank. But it probably was a 16″ oliver or northfield, so maybe (just maybe) a handplane would have some service here. Gotta dig the straitoplane, though. Nice and flat now, huh?


  5. I don’t lightly throw the word “jealous” around these days.

    I will give it a toss here, though.


  6. Kevin Thomas says:

    I’m sorry. I’ve never heard an owl scream while stuck in a revolving door, before. Is it bad?


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