This tool began as a question: What the heck is under A.J. Roubo’s workbench?
Right under the benchtop up by the crochet is something that looks like a tool. It looks like it has a couple angled cuts. Because most of the tools shown in this plate show up elsewhere in the engravings in “l’Art du menuisier,” I began poring over the other images in his books.
Plate 14’s Fig. 4 wasn’t an exact match, but it had a similar shape to what was under the workbench. After reading up on this square, I became intrigued and decided to make a few and use them at the bench.
The tool looks like a miter square, but it’s far more useful than that. It also marks 90°, and the angled cutout in the blade is fantastic for checking a board’s edges for square.
According to Roubo’s text, this square was usually made in walnut, and it was cut from one piece of wood. This, of course, makes it fragile and subject to wood movement, which would ruin its accuracy. And making all the angles perfect from the get-go is tricky.
So after a bit of thought I decided to use some modern technology to make the square geometrically perfect from the start, make it immune to wood movement, and increase its durability.
The Crucible Bench Square has a blade that is made from 1/4” Baltic birch that is laser cut so it’s dead-nuts accurate. Then it is joined to a maple stock that is machined on a CNC to fit perfectly and make the whole tool accurate. Each square is then hand assembled. It is supplied without a finish, like most wooden bench tools.
It is designed to start square and remain square. And because we know it’s a handy tool, we’ve added a hang hole so you can keep it close under your workbench.
We’ve just finished up the parts for the first 400 squares and they have gone to a shop in neighboring Newport for assembly. In the next few weeks we’ll have them up for sale in our store. My guess is the retail price will be about $27.
Yes, you absolutely could make this square for yourself. And if that’s your inclination, please go right ahead with my blessing. But if you want yours to be perfect (for woodworking) right from the start, our squares will be available.
As always, all our tools are made in the U.S.A.
— Christopher Schwarz