Family Heirloom

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Project by Jerry Spencer posted 04-19-2020 02:32 PM 1087 views 2 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few of years ago my cousin was cleaning out his parent’s house after they both had passed. He can across this workbench that his father had in the basement. More to the story, his father bought it from the local school system after they went though a consolidation. My uncle was 94 when he died and he had used this bench in high school shop class, my cousin and I also used it when we were in high school shop class in the sixties.
Since I was the only woodworker in the family he gave me the bench to restore and keep. As you can see from the after and before pictures, it was in sad shape. Finally after sitting in the back of my shop for three years, I decided to redo the bench.
The bench is made of maple, the top is two inches thick, and was made to come totally a part with bolts, nuts, and beadboard ends. I had to replace many drawer slides and drawer parts (10 drawers in all) The top came a part in five pieces and was able to run it though my planer after removing countless nails. Of which I’m guilty of adding some of them! The center tool slot was rotten and replaced. I added five inches to the legs , so it would match with my table saw height. The bench also has a large Columbian wood vise that I have disassembled, cleaned, sanded, and is ready for the paint that I ordered for it.
I did a little research on the bench and found that it made between 1900 and 1911 in Muskegon Mi.
When finished, I applied a light Summer Oak stain and several coats of linseed oil.
It’s a nice addition to my shop.

-- Jerry - Ohio

19 comments so far

View recycle1943's profile


5483 posts in 2736 days

#1 posted 04-19-2020 02:38 PM

golly Jerry, what a find and what a gift. The beautiful restoration on it still leaves it in a used condition appearance and yes it is a nice addition

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View LeeRoyMan's profile (online now)


1830 posts in 841 days

#2 posted 04-19-2020 02:40 PM

Nice restore with a great story
Glad you are able to keep it, and use it.

View WhattheChuck's profile


463 posts in 4675 days

#3 posted 04-19-2020 02:55 PM

Awesome! Looks like it was set up for two students. Did it have vises?

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View Jerry Spencer's profile

Jerry Spencer

148 posts in 3928 days

#4 posted 04-19-2020 03:12 PM

Hey thanks guys for you comments.
Yes Chuck it does have a vise and I completely forgot to add it. Thanks for reminding me and I just added it to the story.

-- Jerry - Ohio

View MrWolfe's profile


1598 posts in 1238 days

#5 posted 04-19-2020 03:43 PM

Great restoration.
Love the history behind it (and in front of it).
Very Cool.

View pottz's profile


17473 posts in 2099 days

#6 posted 04-19-2020 04:04 PM

to have a bench with that history that you will still use is priceless.beautiful restoration,good for anther hundred years.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Peteybadboy's profile


3496 posts in 3064 days

#7 posted 04-19-2020 06:23 PM

Awsome job, real nice story too.

-- Petey

View Brit's profile


8329 posts in 3957 days

#8 posted 04-19-2020 08:32 PM

Nice save and a sympathetic restoration. Well done sir.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4691 days

#9 posted 04-19-2020 09:06 PM

You did a great job Jerry plus the fact that your family and yourself have such a great connection to this bench. It looks wonderful it’s a real treasure for sure.


View Foghorn's profile


1240 posts in 501 days

#10 posted 04-20-2020 01:04 AM

Love it. Great provenance. Would love to have something like that in my shop.

-- Darrel

View AJ1104's profile


1322 posts in 2774 days

#11 posted 04-20-2020 01:52 AM

WOW. I love a piece with a story! This bench has it’s life history written all over it’s top. You have an amazing piece and now it will continue to live on. Great restoration and great save, enjoy using it.

-- AJ

View Phil32's profile


1442 posts in 1018 days

#12 posted 04-20-2020 02:11 AM

The structure appears to be bolted together from leg to leg. Is that the case? Threaded rods with nuts at each end?

-- Phil Allin - There are woodworkers and people who collect woodworking tools. The woodworkers have a chair to sit on that they made.

View swirt's profile


6267 posts in 4086 days

#13 posted 04-20-2020 02:28 AM

Nice safe. Looks great and will continue to work well.

-- Galootish log blog,

View BurlyBob's profile


8984 posts in 3380 days

#14 posted 04-20-2020 03:01 AM

Very impressive and really great your keeping hold of a family treasure.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3653 posts in 4827 days

#15 posted 04-20-2020 06:13 AM


Great story and nice restoration!


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

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