When I stopped in at Baltimore recently to visit Jennie Alexander, I returned a book I had borrowed a year ago, thus creating good credit. So I borrowed two excellent German books on tools. Gunther Heine’s Das Werkzeug des Schreiners und Drechslers and Schadwinkel, Heine & Gerner’s Das Werkzeug des Zimmermanns.

Among the many things I have been copying out of these is this engraving by Heironymus Wierix, the title page to a book concerning the childhood of Christ.

H. Wierix, title page, c, 1600

H. Wierix, title page, c. 1600

Thus, here is yet another image of a  sixteenth-or-seventeenth-century workbench, this time Flemish.  Here the bench hook is clearly evident, but there is no holdfast, nor holes for one. Also, like the Moxon bench & the Felebien bench, the top overhangs the faces of the legs. This has always seemed counter-productive on a bench with holes in the legs for holdfasts. In the Wierix bench it’s less of a problem, but how you use this bench to grab stock against the legs is not immediately clear…

I tried cropping the picture so we could come in on the bench & some of the tools a bit. This is the first illustration I can think of that shows the tools piled/stored on the stretchers of the bench frame. 

Wierix, workbench detail

Wierix, workbench detail

Years ago, Alexander sent me a series of photocopies of the engravings from this set. As I recall, there are several scenes of Christ, Joseph & the angels working various timber projects.

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