Martin Weck is a second-generation tischler ("carpenter" or "joiner" in German), working alongside his father and older brother in the family firm, Tischlere Weck. They do design/builds in everything from retail to residential to furniture. And while their work is beautiful…
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…they were not exhibiting at Holz-Handwerk. But it is there that we came across a piece of Martin's work, one that was designed not to be seen by clients, but by tischlers like him who travel to job sites—and oddly, it was the centerpiece in the booth of a German insurance and occupational safety organization. Here's what it is:
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You're probably wondering what the heck it does and why he designed it. On jobsites Weck often has to work with large sheet goods and large pieces of wood, and he found that commercially-available portable workbenches were too narrow to hold the sizes he works with. The fixed height of these benches was also unsatisfactory. Thus he designed this Multifunktions Holzbock v2.0, a knockdown workholding- and tool-organizing rig.
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Weck's Holzbock is height-adjustable and contains a storage area for tools. It's wide enough to safely support workpieces with stability. Since its pieces nest within one another and it breaks down dead flat, it takes up a minimum of space in transit and is easy to transport to the job site.
An optional cam clamp Weck designed. The clamp locks into grooves cut into the supports... ...and can be used to securely hold stops or workpieces.
His invention, which he had designed for his own use, began to arouse attention. "At various jobsites, other workers started asking me about it, asking where they could buy it," he says. He began providing free CAD drawings of his design so that those with access to CNC mills could create their own—"so the whole industry can benefit from more order and safety on construction sites"—but for those without a CNC mill, he sells them on the Tischlere Weck website.
As for how it wound up at Holz-Handwerk: A fellow named Norbert Vistula works for an organization called BGHM (BerufsGenossenschaft Holz und Metall or Wood & Metal Professional Cooperative), which is a kind of cross between OSHA and an insurance company for Germany's woodworking and metalworking industries. As part of his job he regularly audits tischlers in the field to observe their working practices. While visiting the Wecks, he spotted the Holzbock and noted its benefits: It held large pieces firmly, without slipping while being worked on; the height adjustability prevented ergonomically poor posture during operations; getting the tools up off of the ground and organized reduced the chances someone would trip over something; and it was easy to transport and set up.
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Vistula nominated the Holzbock for BGHM's annual Security Prize Award, and it won. The prize was personally delivered to the Wecks' shop by BGHM's Franz-Dieter Thoma, who said:
The idea for this mobile multifunctional Holzbock is exactly the issue that we are pursuing with the security prize. The prize is an incentive for employees in wood- or metal-processing companies to step up and [devise ways to solve] issues of occupational health and safety. We hope that many more workers follow this example and contribute with their own practical improvements to work safely.
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Hence, Weck's Holzbock took center stage at BGHM's booth at Holz-Handwerk. Congratulations, Martin!
It says: "Innovative solution of wood. More safety on construction sites - an excellent idea!"