Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What Do Our Workbench Designs Say About Us?

Mine says I'm bottom-heavy.

But really, it's more than that. Our benches are often a reflection of our personalities.

Maybe you used reclaimed lumber because you're concerned about wasting our natural resources. Maybe your bench is basic and functional because it's a tool, not a piece of furniture.

We've all seen workbenches that are so beautiful we'd be afraid to work on them.  Or, heavily used, well-loved benches handed down from generation to generation.

This is an old 18th- or 19th-century
 French workbbench I saw in an
 antique store. 
Early woodworkers didn't have the leisure time that we do, so they built their benches to fit their needs, not necessarily their desires.

And yet, I have seen antique benches with a bit of flair added to them, much as you might see in old wooden planes that sport a bit of chip carving.

My bench will be solid, sturdy, and practical, but will have some decorative elements. However, the biggest thing it will reveal about my personality is that I always try my hardest, but fully embrace imperfection. I'm leaving the dents and dings and gaps alone. I'll even point them out to people.

My personality is exactly the same. What you see is what you get; I don't hide a thing.

During this community bench-build, I'm seeing woodworkers personalize their workbenches even if they're working from a set of plans. I think that's a big part of why we love to see others' benches. It says something about the builder.

So, what does your bench style say about you?