A couple times a month, I get an e-mail from Mark Firley. Inside the e-mail is usually a sarcastic comment plus a link to an album of the pieces of antique furniture he photographed recently.
Firley, an active North Carolina woodworker, spends a lot of time at auctions, antique stores and in museums. And whenever possible, he takes photos of the pieces he sees, including their construction details (especially the drawer dovetails).
I have begged the guy to start a blog that contained his furniture photos. I even gave him the drop-dead perfect name for it (no, I won’t spoil it for you). He says he is close to starting a blog. If you see him, kick him in the pants for me.
(If you’ve ever taken a class with Roy Underhill then you probably have met Mark. I think he’s taken every class Roy offers.)
In any case, today Mark sent out a link to some furniture he’d spotted while in Nashville. There was some wacky stuff in the grouping – including a German piece and a very very late campaign chest.
But what caught my eye were the two wackiest workbench bases I have ever seen. Both of the workbenches have trestle bases. While, that’s not so unusual, what is weird are the stretcher(s) between the trestles.
One of them )above) has the widest stretcher I’ve ever seen. And part of the mondo stretcher acts as a parallel guide for the leg vise that is (wait for it) in the end-vise position. I’ve seen drawings of benches with leg vises on the end, but they are pretty rare in the wild. And this one is all kinds of crazy.
The other workbench uses two applied stretchers to hold the spindly-est trestle legs I’ve seen on a workbench. I wonder if it is stable.
Keep it up Mark.
— Christopher Schwarz