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WORK BENCH - Used for Marquetry in Denmark!? - A Mystery!

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Project by Roman - THE BOOTMAN posted 09-16-2016 04:01 PM 2375 views 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just wanted to share this post and perhaps some of you LJers can share some light on this unique workbench.
Over forty years ago my cousin asked me to pick up a workbench which was stored in his basement. Where he got it is obscure and since he has passed on I shall never get the complete story.
Apparently the bench came into this country from Missouri, where and when I don’t know. There is a pencil marked date of October 1941. My cousin told me that it was used by a craftsman who did marquetry for the Danish nobility. Picture 4 shows a makers mark showing name , town and country. How this bench landed in Missouri is a mystery. Picture 5 is some of his work.
The bench is slightly over 7 feet long and 33 inches wide at the widest end. The construction is old school with tongue and groove joints, no nails. Picture 2 shows a bolt end for a rod that extends the length of the table. This keeps the table together. The members are 4×4’s, species unknown to me.
The upper trough was used for storing the glue, possibly glue pots. The bench was covered in spilt glue when I got it. The lower shelf was a storage place for veneers.
The bench is totally collapsable by removing the cleats at each end, the leg members come apart and the top lifts off from simple dowels. The top is solid and heavy as my old back can attest too!
It has been used very sparingly and has remained in storage for many years. I hope to find a good home for it be it a museum or an honest old-style woodworker. It would be a shame to have it go to a landfill. Over my dead body!!!!
Enjoy!
Roman, the Bootman!

-- Roman:... These Boots Were Made For 'Talkin'!





19 comments so far

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3287 posts in 1658 days


#1 posted 09-16-2016 04:09 PM

What a wonderful old bench. I do hope you find a good home for it.

View Richard W. Hyman Jr's profile

Richard W. Hyman Jr

701 posts in 1065 days


#2 posted 09-16-2016 04:53 PM

This suggestion may sound silly, but what about shooting pictures of it over to the New Yankee Workshop? As much work as he’s done in his shows replicating the look/style of antique carpentry I’m betting at the very least you may be able to get some background/history on it or at least pointed in the right direction…maybe even find it a good home. Just a thought. It is a great looking historical piece.

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

View TZH's profile

TZH

523 posts in 2533 days


#3 posted 09-16-2016 06:04 PM

Richard W. Hyman Jr, I like your idea.

What a wonderful piece of woodworking history!

TZH

-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

View Frustrator's profile

Frustrator

61 posts in 442 days


#4 posted 09-16-2016 07:17 PM

Nice bench, looks like most scandinavian benches except the rounded over corner.
Find it a little hard to see all the letters in the Name? Can u spell it out?

View ralbuck's profile

ralbuck

1700 posts in 1659 days


#5 posted 09-16-2016 07:47 PM

Fantastic old bench and the suggestions above are all good!

-- just rjR

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7031 posts in 2191 days


#6 posted 09-16-2016 07:52 PM

Mads might be able to help. Shoot him a PM.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View Roman - THE BOOTMAN's profile

Roman - THE BOOTMAN

763 posts in 2079 days


#7 posted 09-16-2016 08:14 PM

Hi Frustrator, All I can read is as follows,

GRAWE
SVENDBORG
DAN——-D

Hope somebody is Scandinavian and can read the letters
RH

-- Roman:... These Boots Were Made For 'Talkin'!

View jcees's profile

jcees

1010 posts in 3192 days


#8 posted 09-16-2016 11:54 PM

You indeed have a Danish bench. More broadly, it’s a Northern European cabinetmaker’s bench. The top is either beech or maple. It is very dry. The joinery is separating which is a symptom of too many wet to dry cycles. It would most likely make a great serving table in a trendy neighbor’s home. Not a bad way for a serious tool to retire.

Call your nearest antique shop and have them come and take a look at it. Don’t let it go for less than $500. They’ll bump it up to $1200 in their shop then put it on sale for $999 and it will sell to just the right hipster. Or maybe a Steampunk.

-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View jcees's profile

jcees

1010 posts in 3192 days


#9 posted 09-16-2016 11:56 PM

Also, I noticed that it had sled bases “sistered” to the bottom of the original height sled base. Pretty cool and well done too.

-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View gtpreacher's profile

gtpreacher

93 posts in 2658 days


#10 posted 09-17-2016 03:53 AM

Maybe you should send the photos to Christopher Schwarz through the Popular Woodworking Magazine Site. If anyone will know about that bench he probably will, since he’s done more research on workbenches than anyone else I know about.

-- Phil, North Carolina

View Knappen's profile

Knappen

45 posts in 1298 days


#11 posted 09-17-2016 04:39 AM

I’ make a quick serch on google serching on Grawe Svendborg, and it seems that the original owner was a Cabinetmaker named Willy Karl Max Grawe. He emigrated with family from Denmark to Utah in 1950. He died in Novembe 1973 in Edmonton, CA. His wife also died in 1973. They had a daughter who died in 2014 in Bellingham, Whatcom, Washington, USA.

Here’s a link to a short biography: https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/1427112

-- Knappen aka Ole - I have to try everything at least once.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5558 posts in 879 days


#12 posted 09-17-2016 04:53 AM

Put that puppy to use.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Frustrator's profile

Frustrator

61 posts in 442 days


#13 posted 09-17-2016 07:39 AM

Nice bench, looks like most scandinavian benches except the rounded over corner.
Find it a little hard to see all the letters in the Name? Can u spell it out?


Hi Frustrator, All I can read is as follows, GRAWE SVENDBORG DAN——-D

Hope somebody is Scandinavian and can read the letters
RH

- Roman – THE BOOTMAN

Im living in Sweden, bout 150km from denmark, Close enough? :)

Knappen posted intressting info i think.

For what the bench is worth, similar ones is given for away for free or about 500kr (80$) on the Swedish Blocket (about the same as your craiglist).

Here is an article with info about Grawe, IF it’s the right One.

https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/1427112

Edit, same link as knappen posted.

View mafe's profile

mafe

10989 posts in 2482 days


#14 posted 09-17-2016 02:54 PM

Send you this message:

Hi,
First of all I have to say I love this type of bench and use it my self.
No doubt it came from Denmark since Svenborg is a Danish city.
https://www.svendborg.dk/
The WGRAWE, could be W Grawe, then that would probably be the maker / company and would then be a German name, we have many Danes with German roots.
Is it writen at the same place and with same marking?
DAN———Danmark perhaps, that is how Denmark is written in Danish.
You can read more in my blog here about my own bench:
http://lumberjocks.com/mafe/blog/series/5711
Best thoughts and congratulation,
Mads

I can see frustrator found the missing link. ;-) Kind of cool!
Smiles.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

22547 posts in 2260 days


#15 posted 09-17-2016 03:18 PM

I’d love to have it even though it probably needs a tune up – or maybe it doesn’t.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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