If you don’t know your hyvelbenk from a skottbenk – you should
Most handwork aficionados in the U.S. practice what might be referred to as “the English system”. The style of our tools and workholding devices pretty much follow a pattern that has been developed over the last three hundred years or so, largely by practitioners who speak English (well maybe a few speak French). But brothers (and sisters), there are a lot of other ways to skin that old cat.
If you’ve ever tried to dress and joint any heavy plank, you know that it can be a tough job, very tough indeed. Well, in the Scandinavian countries, heavy plank construction has been widely used over the centuries and the Norsemen have developed planing benches specifically for the task, the skottbenk.
The photo above was “borrowed” from the blog Norsk Skottbenk Union. If you’re interested in handwork, workbenches and woodworking history, you need to go to this website! Now! (As soon as read the rest of this post).
The planes that are used in this process are of particular interest, as, for the most part they are “two man” designs. There are planes for jointing, tonguing and grooving. These are the hyvels. More on planes and workbenches is to be found at Hyvelbenk.
Both of these blogs are written by professional woodworkers and historians. Both are packed with excellent photography. The blogs are written in Norwegian, but it’s amazing how much information you can pick up from photos. Maybe, with a little encouragement, the writers will help us figure out a way to translate so we can all benefit from their research and the information they are presenting.
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