neil cummings


So, I'm slowly learning to live with less, and experimenting with how to consume fewer resources. As part of these processes I'm making some of the things I might need or want, not in any dogmatic 'alt-right preppers' kind of way - I'm not about to be refining ore and forging weapons. Principally I'm trying to be more conscious of what might make life joyful, but not at the expense of others. Sharing what I've learnt is also important.


I'm finding that I'm making spaces, furniture and things, mostly inspired by Enzo Mari and the idea of using simple hand tools, everyday skills and readily available materials.

I've made things like a table, bed-base, even laid a floor and installed a bathroom. The more I learn the more confident I've become, and I realise I need a workbench to make fabrication more comfortable - currently I'm working on two trestles.

Although in keeping with the more with less ethos, I don't want to make something that is 'only' a workbench, something that has limited utility or that needs its own space, the bench needs to be more flexible and able to contribute to....... everyday life.

Browsing online I disappeared down a black hole that is 'Roman Workbenches', long story short, I found an article and project by Christopher Schwarz, and adapted some possibilities to make this - above.

It's based on a hybrid/fantasy medieval/roman design with a few tweaks. Its a low - 50cm high, super strong-and-stable bench. The splayed legs are made from cut down pick handles - beech I think, with wedged tenons, the top laminated pine 2x4's planed flat, with holes drilled for various plastic stops; bench 'dogs'. I found the dogs in the street, on a broken and abandoned commercial folding workbench.

The dogs combined with wedges means you can hold-fast all sorts of timber, and with clamps, boards are easily held too. Cheap, simple and so far useful for sawing, marking out and planing. I can move it wherever I'm currently working, you sit, sometimes comfortably to work and its serviceable seating at the table, indoors or out.


Related projects include a bamboo bicycle and some market stalls, I tried to grapple with the possibilities offered by jigs and I've have written more generally about things.


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