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JOEL Joel's Blog

A Quick Update On My Last Blog On Mortise Benches Etc.


A Quick Update On My Last Blog On Mortise Benches Etc. 4Shortly after I posted this blog entry on mortising benches I got an interesting email.

"Re. your recent blog posting. I am an academic librarian and we have the Illustrated London News in our collection. I've tracked down the image and am in the process of getting a high res scan of it. I'll share when it's ready. Would indeed make for a nice reprint to hang on the shop wall.

I had to look through six months worth of the paper- all of those gorgeous etchings. It was a very pleasant half an hour or so.

Best wishes,
William Claspy"

Since that email William has scanned the image and posted a high res image (in focus) his blog. Click on the picture in his blog to see it. His is also selling high res prints of the picture for a very nominal fee.

One of the cool things about research in the days of the internet is that together we can unravel puzzles like socks. Each comment, each step forward, unravels the puzzle a little more. My own post might have started it but less than a week later I have learned from William and the other people that posted comments a lot more about the topic, about safety tips, and that using a bench for mortising was a lot more common than I had thought. One commenter even figured out the missing source for my original thought about a mortising bench.

Note: The picture above is the same one as I used last week - William's blog has the crisp clean image.

Join the conversation
12/03/2012 Fred West

I really enjoyed your post on this whole topic. In addition my own thanks to William for the beautiful picture he posted on his own blog.

12/03/2012 Peter Tsiorba-Guitarmaker
Nice scan. I love the huge windows, which I'm sure were a must, as electrical lighting was still in its infancy, and not really practical.

I am curious what those fixtures hanging from the ceiling are? One in the foreground, and one toward the back wall. Are they gas lamp lighting, or something else?

Thanks for sharing the prints!
Yes - they are gas fixtures.
12/03/2012 Daniel
A copy of the original is also available from I have bought prints from them in the past.(I have no connection to them).
12/03/2012 michael mays
Joel,this was a great article you found the other day.and now the photo William has brought to everyone's attention, is just awesome, at least for me. i ordered a copy for me as soon as i read Williams post.
thanks to all for sharing
12/04/2012 Guy Rivest
Very nice representation of the trade as it was practised in that era (great scan too).
Jim Kingshott talks about this device (and shows one) in his DVD on "Mortise & Tenons" and if I remember well, he called it a "mortising stool".
12/05/2012 Badger
I just ordered a print from the link, I'm going to add it to my Roubo Poster, and the Studley poster over my desk at home. I wish I had wall space in my shop to hang these, but alas I do not.

Thanks for sharing this find, and thanks to the kind gentleman who tracked down a hi res scan and shared it.
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The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.