1880s Counter #1: What is it, what you gonna do with it?

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 01-13-2020 04:10 AM 476 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of 1880s Counter series Part 2: Okay, What Exactly Do I Have? »

Here we go again…

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, no, not really stormy. Or even night. But it was dark. And wet. My son was with me, along with my dad and daughter, in October of 2018 to discover and salvage whatever millwork we could find in a 135 year old commercial building in a nearby town. The brick structure was slated for demo; the roof had leaked for years, all the windows in the rear were bricked shut decades earlier, and the upper floors had been vacant at least a couple of generations. One part of the middle floor was rotted through. It was safe, but caution was the order of the day.

After finding a unique door and claiming it, my son spotted (via the flashlight app on his iphone) a bar, or counter, along a back brick wall. Think something like this:

Only, not as nice. Here’s the only (bad) picture I took of the piece when it was still in the building.

At that point, it was already upside down. And that pic is of the end cap that survived. Now, I can’t say “Let’s start at the beginning” because, well, this blog post is the first. What I’m saying is, it’d be nice to show you more of the counter together, but I can’t. We got it out from under bricks and other building detritus, and got it to the door. Then we got it partially out the door and into the hall. But only one end. Too long to get into the hall and stand up, for the trip down the stairs. So we had to take it apart. Beat it apart, really.

Oh, and did I mention it wasn’t complete? One end was there, the other was cut off and the ‘return’ was nowhere to be found. Not complete, and rotten in places. Yep, wet and crumbly. But there was something about it that captured my imagination. After the beat-up and take down, the parts were carted across town to my dad’s shop space. And there it sat for over a year. In early December of last year, I resolved to do something with it. And that has “something” has been proceeding to the point a blog was in order. So, here we go.

Next installment, pictures of the pieces as they sat in dad’s shop space, waiting for their turn in the sun as it were. And, more talk of what to do with this thing. In other words, maybe answer the questions in the title of this installment?? Yeah, I know. But these things take time. Until then, thanks for looking.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

8 comments so far

View poopiekat's profile


4559 posts in 4341 days

#1 posted 01-13-2020 04:20 AM

Great find! Anxious to see what you do with it, Smitty.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View theoldfart's profile (online now)


11055 posts in 3058 days

#2 posted 01-13-2020 04:46 AM

I’m visualizing bellying up to the bar and having a pint of stout. Should I wait till your done?

Looking forward to the blog Smitty and thanks for posting.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Don W's profile

Don W

19428 posts in 3174 days

#3 posted 01-13-2020 10:28 AM

We’re going to need more beer

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View JethroBodean's profile


169 posts in 1619 days

#4 posted 01-13-2020 06:00 PM

I’m willing to buy the first round of beer. Waiting with bated breath to see what your product looks like .

-- I am not much of a woodworker, but I'm great at making sawdust! -- Jeff

View HokieKen's profile


12002 posts in 1745 days

#5 posted 01-13-2020 08:11 PM

I’m willing to drink the first round of beer :-) Looking forward to reading Smitty!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View AnthonyReed's profile


10120 posts in 3047 days

#6 posted 01-13-2020 11:11 PM


-- ~Tony

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16339 posts in 3225 days

#7 posted 01-14-2020 12:26 AM

Thanks everyone. And the second installment is up and open for your perusal!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View chrisstef's profile


18027 posts in 3613 days

#8 posted 01-15-2020 01:52 AM

This one feels smokey. Im going scotch boys.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

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