Saturday, August 31, 2013

K. A. Almgren Silk Mill

Approaching the end of our trip I was taken along to see the K.A. Almgren Silk Mill in the Stockholm suburb of Slussen.  The facility is a Jacquard silk production loom from 1862 and what I found particularly interesting is that local crafts people still use the facility to make silk so, unlike many other historical museums, you can talk to people who know how the equipment is used.  The Jacquard loom uses a chain of punchcards to drive the headles and create different patterns automatically, greatly increasing production speed.  This type of museum is fascinating to me because it shows how a very sophisticated product can be produced from fairly simple materials.  Most of the equipment is timber framed and made by hand.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Nordisca Museet

The last time I was in Stockholm I ran out of time to visit Nordiska Museet which was a mistake.  The museum has a fantastic collection of all things Nordic including everything from old wooden spoons and bowls to modern design.  Definitely should be the number one priority for any visitor.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mora knivar

I had wanted to visit Mora to learn more about the history and tradition of Swedish toolmaking and carving.  Unfortunately the Mora factory isn't really set up for visitors and the best I could find was a Darlana horse factory with a Mora Knivar outlet shop.  The pleasant surprise was that Anders Zorn museum with, without doubt, the finest carved spoons I have seen.  I knew precisely nothing about Anders Zorn before my visit but it seems he collected many examples of local crafts including buildings.  The museum has Sweden's oldest house built in 1237 and a furnished clock makers house from the 1700's.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I had the pleasure of visiting Sören Gustafsson in his workshop at Björnlunda last week.  Sören seems to have the local market for schnaps cupboards cover.  I get the impression that every Swedish man must have a schnaps cupboard when he retires.  The thing that really caught my eye was his home made nykelharpa.  Sadly his wife would not let him play it for me.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Eskilstuna stadsmuseet

As part of my endless fascination with workshop equipment I dragged everyone along to the Eskilstuna city museum which has one of the best turn of the century workshops I have seen. Of particular interest was the only oval cutting lathe I have seen.  I assume it works like a rose engine but I will need to do more research to confirm.

In addition there was an exhibition of Eskilstuna knife makers with a remarkable variety of examples including folding knives from the 1700"s

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Motala Verkstad

Interesting band saw made in 1906 with a laminated timber frame on display at the Motala Verkstad museum Sweden.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fartyg, fartyg, fartyg

Ships, ships, ships.  Goteborg is the place to go if you are interested in maritime history.  The city is a living maritime museum.  We were based near an area called "Masthuggets Torget"  which translates as mast cutters square. The Sjöfarts Museet or shipping museum was worth a visit to see their collection of figure heads and models.  The highlight, however, was the public transport system.  Our 24 hour ticket allowed us to spend the day riding the ferry around the archipelago.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Danish modern

Driverless trains, glass buildings, beer drinking before 10am.  Am I in the future?  Actually I'm in Copenhagen and was lucky enough to be able to visit the Danish Design  Museum, or as it is more correctly known, the museum for industrial design and applied arts.  A surprisingly varied collection including some very fine and old examples of marquetry.  As you would expect the chair collection was also very interesting.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


A beautiful day in Roskilde with light breezes perfect for a relaxing sail.  Our boat was a Faeroese fishing boat powered by ten oarsmen and women and a cotton lug sail.  Apart from the rock ballast and thole pins one of the things I found interesting was how the sail was managed.  The foot of the sail was tied off on the gunnal on each tack and the shape the sail controlled by two lines from each end of the lug spar.  The sail was reefed from the top and tied to the lugg spar.