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Herreshoff’s table

On the oldtools mailing list I mentioned an account of American yacht designer L Francis Herreshoff’s drawing table in a book by the English yacht designer Uffa Fox. A few people wanted to see it, so here it is.

This is from Uffa Fox’s second book (London: Peter Davies, 1935), pages 353-354.

FRANCIS HERRESHOFF’S DESIGNING BENCH

Almost all seamen’s idea of bliss is to leave the sea and live on some farm inland, but though this is their dream, when they realise it they are never able to endure it for more than three months, and soon they are by the sea again.

Most yachtsmen do not have the opportunity of seeing enough of the sea, and so their spare time is devoted to dreaming about it. Eight out of ten yachtsmen dream of some cruiser or racer they would like to own. Though all would like to, only about half of them put their dreams on paper, and though many a dream ship is planned and drawn by yachtsmen, very few of these amateur designers have a good bench or board to work at. So the plan of Francis Herreshoff’s designing board will enable many to have in their homes, far from the sea, a table or bench on which they can design their dream ship in comfort, and this is most important, for the better tools a man uses the more able he is to produce good work, and such a table as this in any yachtsman’s study would be a constant source of delight to him.

Side view of the bench

Francis Herreshoff, besides being one of the leading designers of the world, is a man with a lot of practical knowledge, for during his apprenticeship he went through practically every trade, and so has a sound knowledge of wood work, and it is difficult to conceive a better table than the one shown here. The top, which is 9 ft x 3 ft, is a good size to work on and also is not too cumbersome. Underneath the top there is one big drawer in which plans can be laid for the night, and when not being worked on.

The plan and table of sizes explains itself, and any amateur carpenter could build this table from them without any great difficulty, and then he would be happy evermore, for when not actually sailing he could be drawing his dream ship.

See also a high-resolution scan(151KB jpg) that includes large scale details and a list of materials.

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Revised 22 May 2015

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