Category Archives: Iowa

The «Skottbenk» from Amana, Iowa in measures

The original local Skottbenk at our stand at Handworks 2017

A group of dedicated members of Norsk Skottbenk Union made a trip to USA to see the Skottbenk that Jameel Abraham at Benchcrafted found in Amana, Iowa. Our trip where at the same time as Jameel and his family arranged Handworks 2017, a hand tool and toolmaking event. Handworks is a gathering of like-minded hand tool makers for the beuty of hand woodworking and the tools that go along with it. Traditional Workbenches are a important aspect of this. An important task on our trip was to take measures and documentations of the original Skottbenk found in Amana. Ivar Jørstad have posted in Norwegian about this. You will find all the measures in his post, but for English readers it could be a problem to read his Norwegian. I post the same drawings with English text here in this posting.

A measured photo of the Amana Skottbenk. All meshures are in Inches.

The height are among the higher benches compared to what I know from Norway. The long boards are very short compared to most known benches of this type. It might have been used in Amana Furniture Shop. For jointing parts for furniture or indoor paneling the length would be sufficent. That could indicate the use of this kind of bench in furniture making?

Meashured drawing of the Amana Skottbenk. Drawing by Ivar Jørstad. All measures are in Inches.

All parts of the trestles are made of oak. The two long boards are made of softwood and looks like white pine or something similar. I do hope that this could inspire woodworkers in USA to make their own Skottbenk based on this old original bench in Amana.

Oppmåling av Amana-skottbenken Measures of the Amana-skottbenk

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I mai 2017 var en gruppe norske tømrere, snekkere og en smed på USA-tur blant annet for å besøke arrangementet HANDWORKS 2017. HANDWORKS er en håndverks- og håndverkermesse der produsenter av håndverktøy, forhandlere av gammelt verktøy, produsenter av håndlagde tregjenstander, håndverkere og entusiaster møtes.
Arrangementet gikk av stabelen for tredje gang i år, og for om lag ett år siden hadde Roald Renmælmo fått melding om at det sto en gammel skottbenk som utstillingsbukk for tekstiler på Amana Woolen Mill. Arrangøren var blitt oppmerksom på hva det kunne være etter å ha lest om skottbenker på bloggen http://www.skottbenk.com. Tanken bak besøket på messa var å ta benken nærmere i ettersyn, vi skulle lage en ny benk og vise hvordan skottbenker brukes, og vi ville selvfølgelig se på alt det spennende de andre drev med og solgte.

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Vi var spent på hvilke mål benken hadde, først og fremst med tanke på om det kunne være brukt norske tommer. Amana var en tysk bosetting fra 1850-tallet, men kanskje kunne noe knyttes til norsk eller dansk tradisjon. Men norske tommer stemte dårlig, så med tanke på at det kanskje er noen i USA som vil lage en kopi er måla oppgitt i engelske tommer/inch.

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Skottbenken er i sin helhet bygget av eik, med unntak av langborda og lektene som er festa oversida av langborda. Langborda er av bartre som kan minne om furu. Hva årsaken til at det er lagt på lekter fant vi ikke noe godt svar på, kanskje de som brukte den ønska en høyere benk.

 

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Gjennom beina i bukkene går det lange bolter med firkant-hode og skive for å holde dem stabile. Ellers er et av beina reparert med skrue og bolt der skruen går gjennom. Langborda er festa med blanke treskruer med spor.

About the Norsk Skottbenk Union trip to USA

Our stand at Handworks 2017 in Amana, Iowa.

We are back in Norway after almost two weeks touring Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa in USA. For most of us it was our first trip to USA and it was a very nice experience for all of us. We have met a lot of skilled craftsmen and made many new friends on our journey. The first four days we spent in Grand Marais, a small city on the northern shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. There we met Trond Oalann that had a class making a Norwegian kind of timberframing, «stavline» at North House Folk School. On our stay here we had some demonstration of planemaking, splitting and hewing logs and forging plane irons and chisels. Peter Henrikson at North House let us have some pices of white pine so we could start to make a new Skottbenk for our demonstration at Handworks 2017. We did also assist Trond and did some work with his students.

After our stay in Grand Marais we drove down to Folklore Village near Dodgeville in Wisconsin. I had read about Aslak Olsen Lie (1798-1886), a woodworker from Reinli in Valdres in Norway who moved to Wisconsin with his family in 1848. Here he built his new home in 1848-49 and this house is now under restauration by Nels Diller who works for Folklore Village. We got to meet the director Terri Van Orman and the carpenter Nels Diller and could see a lot of original materials and logs from when Aslak built his home more that 160 years ago. Some of the preserved floor boards seems to have been made on a skottbenk, but we could not find a bench in that area. You can read about Aslak Olsen Lie in the very interesting book: Snikkaren Aslak Olsen Lie : bygdekunstnar i Valdres og Wisconsin. It might be available only for Norwegian readers?

We left Folklore Village and drove to Vesterheim in Decorah, Iowa. We arrived in the evening 16th May and could participate in 17th May celebration in Decorah the next day. It was still time to make a visit to the museum collection at Vesterheim. Darlene Fossum-Martin from Vesterheim guided us through the very interesting collection of tools and workbenches in the Painter-Bernatz Mill and the building in the Open Air Division. We even got to se some of the furniture collection where they had a cabinet attributed to Aslak Olsen Lie.

After our stay in Decorah we drove to Amana where Handworks 2017 where arranged. This was the main reason for us to go to USA in the first place. It was caused by a tip from Jameel Abraham at Benchcrafted who had found an old original Skottbenk in Amana. At Handworks we found a lot of hand tool enthusiasts from all over USA, Canada, UK, Australia and Norway. It was great to meet all the nice people we only had seen on various blogs and instagram. We went straight down to Amana Woolen Mill and found the old local Skottbenk. Then we finished the new Skottbenk we had started to make in Grand Marais.

It was a lot of things to see and do at Handworks and you might get an impression on Instagram #handworks2017. I recomend the YouTube video of the presentation Roy Underhill had on saturday at Handworks.