Djurgården Meets Rome

The “Skansen Bench” as low “Roman” workbench

More than a decade ago, Christopher Schwarz built the “Skansen Bench” as an “I Can Do That” project for Popular Woodworking Magazine; this link will take you to it on the PW site. Skansen, located in Stockholm on the island Djurgården, was the first open-air museum in Sweden. The bench itself is modeled after one from the Älvros Farmstead (a group of buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries that are now part of the museum); Chris saw it in the book “Making Swedish Country Furniture & Household Things” (1990, Hartley & Marks)

The Skansen Bench is a sitting bench, and for years was alongside the dining room wall in Chris and Lucy’s former house. I remember dropping my purse on it just about every visit. Upstairs here, it served as a sort of hall table for a while, then as seating.

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

But since 2010, he’s built quite a few more low benches specifically as workbenches, including the Saalburg bench and Herculaneum bench that are included in “Ingenious Mechanicks.” So you’d think that when he needed a low bench to demonstrate working on them for Colonial Williamsburg’s Working Wood in the 18th Century conference, he’d have one handy.

But no.

The Herculaneum bench now lives in upstate New York.
The Saalburg bench is on loan in central Ohio.

So, Chris combined workholding from both of the low benches from “Ingenious Mechanicks” on the Skansen bench. I’m betting he keeps the new-model Skansen in the shop; he’s been using it a lot to shave chair spindles while sitting (that’s what the stepped block insert is for – the one most people in the conference were asking about).

So now you know the sources behind the Swedish Roman low workbench. (If you decide to make one, do check with your home’s other occupants before summarily cutting into a seating bench and liberating it to your shop. We cannot be responsible for the consequences.)

— Fitz


No votes yet.
Please wait...