The French Oak Roubo Project III

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People of Earth: If you want to make a workbench that exceeds all your functional and aesthetic desires, I have but one recommendation: The French Oak Roubo Project III. The building session runs from Oct. 14-18 in Barnesville, Ga., in the well-equipped (vast understatement) workshop of Bo Childs.

Registration for this event opens this Friday, March 1. It costs $5,195 for the week and the materials. This is cheap.

The raw material is impossible to come by – thick, well-seasoned French oak. The benchtop will be one slab – no glue-ups. The hardware will be the Benchcrafted good stuff: the Classic Vise, a Crisscross, a Benchcrafted Planing Stop and two Crucible holdfasts.

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After one week of work you will have a completed bench, and you will be done building benches for the rest of your life. Read all the details here.

Yes, it is time to sell your plasma, your platelets and that gold-nugget jewelry from your Matlock phase. The supply of this massive old oak is always in question. Every time Jameel and FJ at Benchcrafted finish one of these events, they say: That’s it. There’s no more. Somehow, Bo seems to scrounge more.

Aside from the crazy hard labor and teamwork needed to build these benches, the FORPs end up being about building bonds – as well as workbenches. It’s a mentally and physically intense week that you will never forget. And this will be my third one.

If you can scrounge the money and make the time, you won’t regret it.

I hope to see you in October. I know a great fried chicken place just down the road from Bo’s. So bring the Lipitor.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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25 Responses to The French Oak Roubo Project III

  1. Brad says:

    How long has the oak been drying? What is the finished thickness?

  2. KEVIN HEDIN says:

    awesome sauce!

  3. jglen490 says:

    Wow! Awesomeness.
    That would, I’m sure, be an experience of a lifetime, but I’m more like the $175 bench or at best a Holtzapffel kinda guy.

  4. Steve says:

    Oh gosh! French oak erotica, time for a cold shower.

  5. Mike Cundall says:

    I can say that FORP 2 was amazing. I loved, I would do it again, and have offered to be a volunteer. Just so much fun in a cool place. Bo Childs is a fun host and the machinery…I often said to folks that I may not have deserved to do the build, but I could do it, so I did. Not a regret to be found. Oh, yeah, that I’m not doing this one.

  6. Ken says:

    I live 30 miles away from Barnesville. My head is spinning.

  7. Stephen says:

    Chris, Somewhat related question that has been bugging me with regards to using a wet slab for a bench top: how do you handle the undercarriage since it won’t shrink? Estimated from the shrinkange listed on wood database, a 24″ green top will shrink by 1-2″. Do you make your undercarriage narrower by that amount so that when dried the undercarriage is square and true, or do you just periodically plane down the legs to keep them coplaner with the edge of the slab?

    Thanks,
    -s

  8. Brian G Miller says:

    OH MY GOD ! If only…

  9. Blefty says:

    I’m curious as to an average weight for these benches once completed.

  10. Is it EVER the right time to sell your gold-nugget jewelry from your Matlock phase? I don’t know…

    Regardless, for the third time in a row I’ve not the time nor the funds. 😦 Please blog much about it again, Chris, for the onlooking jealous wallflowers.

  11. jim44444 says:

    It looks like a great project and an even better experience.
    However, you and I have a different definitions of cheap.
    ” It costs $5,195 for the week and the materials. This is cheap.”.

    • When I build these benches for customers using these materials, I charge $8,000 to $10,000. So $5,195 is not cheap. It’s DAMN cheap. You are fed and you get a lot of instruction. And you might make a friend.

      • John Hippe says:

        I agree that this is a great value. I work for a training company and we charge north of $3200 for a week-long training course — and nobody gets an amazing workbench at the end… 🙂

    • jenohdit says:

      The Lamborghini is a bargain at $450,000. A Bugatti would cost you $1.7 million. Makes me feel like a fool for wasting $1500 on a truck that gets me everywhere I need to go and hauls almost everything I need.

  12. LOU says:

    You will need a shipping company and a lot of friends to get that home and in your shop.Or would it be shipped as two parts, the top and the leg assembly.

    • No, you don’t. I move them in a small SUV and do it all myself. It’s about moving stuff with your mind instead of your back.

      • steve says:

        Precisely. Thank you Chris. I use to move furniture for a van company many years ago and I remember watching, learning and working with a seasoned energetic mover who knew how to move furniture with no strain. Use the weight of the furniture and other moving accoutrements.

  13. Steve C says:

    That would be awesome to be able to show up.

  14. ja says:

    Oh man. I actually need to make a new bench, but shipping that thing back to New Zealand might prove problematic. My search for local slabs will have to continue.

  15. Daniel says:

    Wow! Just Beautiful pieces.

  16. Steve says:

    I saw the YouTube video on FORB I (I think). Looked like an amazing experience. If only I hadn’t just finished my Douglas Fir split-top roubo…

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