Luka Biondich, Wood Carver

My husband stumbled upon an estate sale he hadn’t charted on his route. He followed  handmade signs to a ranch-style house, but the sale had already ended. The hosts were kind, however and let him take a last look at all that remained. He bee-lined for the garage (his favorite place to pick) and saw this great wood working bench.

woodbench

It is very well built with wedged mortise and tenon style leg joints making it easier to take apart (which is fortunate since it’s a beast and weighs a ton).

mortise&tenon

It has a dog hole surface to hold or clamp the wood in multiple areas.

dogholes

And each table end has a vice, one large and one small.

vice

smallVice

It’s definitely been used. A LOT. But stands sturdy yet, which is why my guy couldn’t pass it up. But before leaving, the niece of the man who had both made and owned the work bench included a newspaper clipping about her uncle. Turns out the gentleman’s name was Luka Biondich, a Yugoslavian political prisoner who spent 12 years in Communist labor camps, which is where he learned his skill at woodworking. He eventually made his way to California where he crafted and sold tables, sofas, mirrors, and other fine pieces. Two of his patrons include Barbara Streisand and Carol Burnett! He must have been quite the artiste.

Luka Biondich woodworker artist

So glad something he made and used is now in our garage. There’s nothing better than finding a great piece with an awesome story attached. And hats off to the owners who let my husband pick, even after closing time.

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