I was traveling through Vienna for work, so I decided to spend Saturday at a couple of museums, specifically looking at furniture and woodworking displays.
The first stop was the Museum of Applied Arts. It’s less than ten minutes walk from the main Vienna train station, right on the canal. It’s a really nice looking facility, both inside and out.
They have quite a bit of what I thought was interesting furniture. The photos I took aren’t the best, as the light was fairly low in most areas.
I liked this classic drop-leaf table, especially the double pull out supports.
While the style of this table doesn’t do much for me, I really appreciate the design. It’s actually two tables, the top being a tray to use on a couch or in bed. I think this is a great idea for a small space, I’ll design something of my own to build in the future.
The most interesting piece was this Mackintosh cabinet. This and his other work had a huge influence on the arts and crafts movement. I was tempted to open it and look inside, but I’m sure there’s a prison in the basement of the museum for those who do that.
I also liked this table, which I believe came from a Viennese telegraph office. It looks a lot like the designs people are producing today.
A 90-year old desk with some stained glass inserts. Again, this could easily fit into today’s designs: gray / charcoal wood, simple design, smaller footprint.
A forerunner to the modern Adirondack chair, used as a piece of living room furniture.
I found out Vienna is where bentwood furniture originated. I’m not a huge fan of this style, but there was a lot of interesting work on display.
My next stop was the Kunst Historisches Museum, about 15 minutes walk from the city center. They have a number of exhibitions – I mainly spent time in the musical instruments.
I’ll start out with the favorite topic of every woodworker – and the one that baffles everyone else – clamps. You can never have too many, or too many different kinds. These custom edge clamps for violin making are as interesting as the instrument itself (maybe more!)
This workbench is over 200 years old, and it looks pretty much like a modern one does.
Same with the lathe. It may have different power source, but other than that, same design as today. The treadle and flywheel are as effective as an electric motor.
I’ve started to learn how to build stringed instruments in the past couple of years. I thought things like double neck guitars and other creative design were very recent. I was wrong. It looks like about 300 years of history there.
The last interesting woodworking thing I saw was this backgammon set. I may build one of these as well.
I’d much rather be home in the shop on a Saturday than traveling for work, but if I have to be away, this is a nice way to spend it.