The Sarcophagus

May 22, 2018

This is my Moravian work bench. It’s splendid. All I know about it’s prior history is that my father obtained it when his father’s friend Emil died, and Emil’s friends lived in apartments and couldn’t take it. Emil was a metalworker, and how he came to possess this splendid product of Moravian workmanship in Queens, I don’t know.

I call it the Sarcophagus because its about as big as tomb furniture; visit U Penn’s online catalogue and see what I mean.

It’s made of maple, and it breaks down for portability. Hah! It takes two men to lift the top off. But then the legs can be detached from the braces with a tap of a mallet. It’s the kind of thing you hope to do only every 30 years or so. The work surface is held in place by gravity; slots in its belly fit over the legs. Most benches have round holes to accommodate traditional blacksmithed or modern spring clamps, but the Moravians had their own ideas, and their peg holes are square. The original pegs are long gone, and I’ve made my own. I don’t use them much but they make a nice wood library; the wenge and imbuye are imports, and the white thing is Corian, but the rest are local wood, in some cases very, very local. The lilac is from Spring Street. The choke cherry is from Graham Avenue. The black walnut may be from Highland Avenue. The holly is from… Mount Holly.


This is the heart of the operations at Sondra Flite Artworks, and when the day comes to hang up my chisels, It will become the world’s biggest end table.