News from Norway


It’s no secret.  I’m intrigued by the skottbenk.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the skottbenk, it is a simple machine used for jointing long boards for things like flooring, clapboards, etc.  And, if you’ve ever tried to joint an 8′ long board on a power jointer, you’ll immediately see the value of the skottbenk.  It seems to be unique to Scandinavia, specifically Norway and Sweden.  It is a design that has been around for centuries and even Leonardo DaVinci found the skottbenk so interesting that he drew up an “improved” design. But, for some reason, the skottbenk is not commonly seen in the U.S.

A Sketchup file on the type of skottbenk that Roald Renmælmo uses is available on his blog  In the same post, Roald provides a video showing the use of the skottbenk. Many readers will find the planes used in the process of particular interest.

I’ll be starting mine, as soon as the weather “breaks”.


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4 Comments on “News from Norway”

  1. premodernbloke Says:

    So, how does one get the two runners straight?

    • D.B. Laney Says:

      My guess would be that they hew the “long board” planks to a “snapped” line with a carpenters axe (these guys are very good at axe work), then finish them with a jointer (trying) plane. But I’ll raise the question with Roald and ask him to answer on the comment section. So stay tuned and thanks for the question

    • Hi premodernbloke
      The long boards should be as straight as possible to work as they should. I have posted on the blog about this:

      As it is in Norwegian I will try to explain in English as well.

      The boards are common about 2″ by 8″. To get them straight you will have to get a 2″ by 9″ or more. First you will have to get the wide side flat. I use a okshøvel first and then a jointer. It is long but the method are the same as on other joinery. (winding sticks and sighting) Then I would use a chalk line to mark i straight line on the side that are going to be up. If it is a lot of wood to remove I would use the axe first, then a okshøvel and then a jointer. It is important that it is square to the side. When the boards are mounted on the skottbenk you would have to adjust them. I use my eye and sight along the top of the boards. I use a long and fine set jointer to adjust. I will get the boards very close to straight with this. Then I can test the straightness with trying to joint the first board in the skottbenk. When the board are jointed with a skottokse in the bench, I can turn it upside down on top of the longboards and see if there is an opening. Then I adjust with some jointing on the longboards and repeat untill I am satisfied.

      The long boards could be ut to 8 meters long. On shorter longboards it is easier to get them straight.

      • premodernbloke Says:

        Thank you for the explanation Roald (and Mr. Laney for soliciting an answer to my question). I am quite interested in this and I believe that a slightly scaled-down version of the skottbenk would be quite applicable for jointing longer boards for furniture in addition to its traditional use for flooring. I am planning on building one this summer as I need to make some doors for my workshop that will involve jointing long tongue-and-groove boards.


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