Go see Roald’s Vasa photos of the wooden bench hook

UPDATE: I wrote this, then kept going further & further on Roald’s blog, which he does with Tomas Karlsson. It’s amazing stuff. You like old benches – get to it! Great stuff, Roald & Tomas – I’ll keep watching http://hyvelbenk.wordpress.com/

here’s what I wrote first:

This ol’ world just keeps getting smaller & smaller…

Back in 2010 I wrote a bit about 17th-century workbench fittings. In that post https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/workbench-fittings-17th-c-style/ I mentioned the wooden bench hook used for sawing and other tasks.

Here’s my all-time-most beat-up version, since then replaced..I shave pegs on mine in addition to backsaw work, etc.

I had never seen a period example, nor even really a good image of one. There’s a sort of miter-box version in Moxon, with his characteristic lousy detail engraving. But today I got this comment from Roald Renmælmo from Norway:

January 16, 2014 at 9:31 am e

I was inspecting the Vasa bench deadman this week in Stockholm. I was also trying to fit it correctly. In my opinion the front surface of the stiles and the Vasa deadman are in the same plane. It might have been mounted wrong earlier?

I did also find at wooden bench hook from the Vasa wreck. It was 24″ long and had also been used as a simple “mitre box” for small stock. I will post some pictures of that on my blog soon.

Roald Renmælmo, Norway

And so he did, so head over to Roald’s blog to see the excellent photos of this bench hook/miter box. When I get my shop back up & running, (more on that hideous story later) I hope to make a new version myself.

Thanks, Roald. I’d mail you 25 cents, but it would cost more than that to get it to you!


6 thoughts on “Go see Roald’s Vasa photos of the wooden bench hook

  1. Interesting, I wish I could read it, I’ll have to attempt a Google translate. Still it’s interesting the rough texture of the work surface, as well as the grain orientation of the base counter to the modern norm, but agreeable to the fence and hook grain

    • I am sorry to say that Google translate might have a problem with the translation of the technical terms. Both english and norwegian are rich languages, there are a lot of words. Only a small part of the words are commonly used and understood by google translate. Our intention with the blog is to actualise old words and language related to joiners and carpenters work and tools in norwegian and swedish. That will give Google translate a hard job. We might consider to write some posts in english (or translate) as there have been an increasing number of english readers lately.

      About the rough texture of the work surface. The wreck of the Vasa warship sank in its first trip in the year 1628 in Stockholm. It was rescued 333 years later. These years on the bottom of the sea has done a lot to the surface of the wood. I do believe that the surface was smooth in 1628.

  2. Hey Peter!

    This looks very useful. I use a traditional cobbled together ch hook, but a long one would be even more useful to get the business end out beyond the tail vice and thus I could saw downwards instead of flatly.

    Thanks for the link, interesting blog, and a good way to check out some Norwegian words that Google struggles with.

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