This morning I had a 15-minute video chat with Joshua Klein of Mortise & Tenon Magazine about the article I wrote for him on the low Roman workbench.
The discussion ranged from how I became interested in this form of bench to how this workbench might be ideal for woodworkers in apartments or who have disabilities.
You can watch the video in its entirety for free here. And be sure to order a copy of issue two of Mortise & Tenon Magazine, which will begin shipping in about a week. It’s only $24 but contains a huge amount of coverage of traditional work that you won’t find anywhere else. And the physical object itself is gorgeous and worth keeping.
Update on the Book ‘Roman Workbenches’
This book project has taken on a life of its own and has inflated like a pool toy as Suzanne Ellison, Görge Jonuschat and I have dug up new material that hasn’t been published outside academic circles. We have flushed a lot of money down the potty for this project. But it’s a tale worth telling.
So here’s what we’re going to do.
We are going to publish a short letterpress book – about 64 pages – about our research, bench building and conclusions up to this point. That book is already written and we’re going to illustrate it with old-school line drawings from artist Nicholas Mogley. We will do one press run of this book on the vintage letterpress machinery owned by Steamwhistle Press in Newport in February.
Everyone who wants a copy will get one, but once that press run is done, that version is kaput forever.
The letterpress book will be a bit of an odd duck. It’s a book about research, dead ends, bench building, wet wood and cow sex. And it’s written in a loose style that makes academics sneer.
Then, in March, photographer Narayan Nayar and I will fly to Naples (Italy, not Florida) to visit Pompeii, Herculaneum and climb Vesuvius. If there’s enough interest, we will publish a regular offset Lost Art Press book that greatly expands the research from the letterpress book with tons of photos, illustrations and the fire hose of research from Suzanne Ellison and Görge Jonuschat.
I think Roman workbenches have a lot to teach us. And it begins with these two words: Be seated.
I hope you will join us for this odd journey. Even if you don’t, I’ll get some great meals in Italy and climb a volcano.
— Christopher Schwarz