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.

Skottbenken. Bilete skanna frå artikkelen til Arne Vennevik i Årbok for Namdalen 1981

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.


Explore posts in the same categories: Nicholson workbench, traditional workbench


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7 Comments on “If you don’t know your hyvelbenk from a skottbenk – you should”

  1. Google Translate does a decent job. Not perfect but extremely easy to use.

  2. Jeff Branch Says:

    Thanks for pointing that site out. I scanned it and hit the follow button. Could not get it to translate, pretty cool none the less.

  3. You could use google translate and get decent results but there are a lot of special terms that is difficult. On the blog Høvelbenk there are a few posts in English that you can find here: http://hyvelbenk.wordpress.com/category/english/

    So far there are no posts on the Skottbenk (jointing bench) blog in English. As there are hard to find information about similar workbenches in English speaking countries the translation is difficult. We have found some American patents of “Skottbenk” and present them on this post: http://skottbenk.wordpress.com/category/geografisk-plassering/usa/
    The patents are mainly the same as on a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci (http://skottbenk.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/den-forste-skottbenken/)

  4. […] from USA, Belgium, Canada, UK, Portugal and Germany. This might be coused by a post on the blog, A Woodworker`s Musings that led the readers to both this blog and a related blog, Høvelbenk. There was also some […]

  5. […] parts of the world. About a year ago  Dennis Laney wrote a post about the skottbenk on his blog: If you don’t know your hyvelbenk from a skottbenk – you should. It is not easy to explain the use of the bench and to translate Norwegian terms to English. Dennis […]

  6. Until I found a reference to your blog here:https://hyvelbenk.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/hovelbenk-og-jarnklo-pa-lesja-bygdetun/ I didn’t know such a bench existed. Now I’m wondering why they aren’t a fixture everywhere?

    • D.B. Laney Says:

      I couldn’t agree more. They make unbelievably good sense. Anyone who ever tried to joint a twelve foot board with a hand plane or handle a similar size board on a power jointer will immediately see how useful the device is. The guys at hyvelbenk.wordpress and skottbenk.wordpress are doing great work. More North Americans should follow both of these blogs. Thanks for your comments.

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