I was formerly suspicious of people who had clean workshops, probably because of my own slovenly habits. I get busy and forget to clean up all the shavings, as I produce gallons of them regularly. And please, don’t even mention the sawdust, which I am currently trying to transform into mushroom spawn–a new project.
Then my wife Melanie Jane, who should be up for beatification for putting up with all this grunge for years, bought me a copy of a French woodworking book, Le Bois. That just means wood, but the subject of the book is actually Swedish treen, aka kitchenware, though there is also a chapter on making Afro combs–seriously. I wasn’t aware that the French were into that.
Although the book was written by two Frenchmen, it was first published in Swedish. It must have done well, as barely a year later the French edition appeared, which is a good thing, because I read very little Swedish. It is an excellent book, with excellent photography. And then, there it is–a picture of almost the same workbench that I have.
That bench is a bit longer than mine, but otherwise identical. I assume it is a standard issue Swedish schoolhouse workroom bench-every school has to have one room full of these, and every student has to learn slojd–that’s crafts. They certainly turned out a winner with this young woman.
The very tidy workbench belongs to Moa Brännström Ott, who is a noted young Swedish woodcarver of the Willie Sundqvist variety. Judging from the few shavings at the base of her bench, I doubt that she is turning out pieces of this magnitude:
This 8 1/2′ long piece of Eastern Red Cedar was meant to be a workbench, but turned out looking a lot like a bar–hence our name for it is “work bar.” I’ll put it to work tonight cheering on the Crimson Tide, and cursing the despised SEC refs. They would call a ten yard penalty on their own mothers for holding a baby.
Win or lose, tomorrow will be the same as today–round stuff needs to be flattened, flat stuff needs to be rounded, and raw stuff needs to be cooked. That’s how we keep going on.