Work bench, 85+ years in the making

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Project by RoundestRock posted 07-03-2011 12:12 AM 5469 views 11 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I guess you could say this was a family project. The top of this workbench came from an American Elm tree my Grandfather’s brother planted in 1935. My Grandpa then transplanted the tree to his farm in 1940. My Grandpa passed in 2003 and my Grandma had to move from the farm in 2008. The trucking company that bought the farm had a history of leveling everything and putting it all in a landfill. Then they add pavement, and as the song goes, no more paradise.

Anyway, I couldn’t let such a magnificent specimen go to such an end (over 24’’ diameter, 20+’ straight trunk, 70+’ of tree all told). So with permission I fell, milled, and dried the wood myself. I had a yield of over 800 board feet! Once dried I hand planed the wood and fitted each joint. This took a good deal of my free time for a year. The top came out at 24’’ X 90’’ X 4 1/4’’. I made a point NOT to flatten the underside so it would be obviously hand made. It weighs almost 300 Lbs. That’s just the top.

For the legs I ran across an excess sale on jatoba for $2/brdft. It came in 3/4’’ X 6’’ planks. I laminated those to triple thick for strength and weight. The crotchet is laminated paduke that was left over from another project. I put the frame together with 5/8’’ X 8’’ bolts so it can be disassembled for moving. Total weight is between 500 and 600 Lbs. I still need to add the dog holes and a clamp rack to the bottom, but otherwise it’s done (at last!).

I think my Grandpa would be proud. I know I am.

-- I only WISH I could do this for a living. Problem is I don't want to sell anything I make!

34 comments so far

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3998 days

#1 posted 07-03-2011 12:16 AM

Very nice. Hope ya dont have to move it often

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View RichSoby's profile


24 posts in 3083 days

#2 posted 07-03-2011 12:20 AM

Sweet! Nice piece of family history there! I agree, your Grandpa would be proud!

View scarpenter002's profile


617 posts in 4441 days

#3 posted 07-03-2011 12:32 AM

Wonderful job and an even better story. I must agree that your Grandpa would be proud.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott in Texas

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3554 days

#4 posted 07-03-2011 12:43 AM

There is no doubt in my mind that your Gramps is bragging to all the angels on how well you made this and how proud he is of you! Well done and great use of some cherished wood that has a history!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 3174 days

#5 posted 07-03-2011 12:44 AM

Good story and a great bench. You should be proud.

Gee, how come nobody grew me a tree?


-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3845 days

#6 posted 07-03-2011 12:51 AM

Oh yeah! That is one nice workbench and alot of history. Looks too nice to use. Great job…

View karl roth's profile

karl roth

17 posts in 3552 days

#7 posted 07-03-2011 12:54 AM

goSh ! that is impressive !! beautiful bench and great story to go with it


View Don W's profile

Don W

19365 posts in 3104 days

#8 posted 07-03-2011 12:55 AM

that is so cool. The bench and the story. I made my top of elm cut off my dads farm, but don’r think anybody actually planted the tree. How did you m ill the lumber? Looks like a new milling machine in front of it. I always wanted one of those.

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

View jevarn71's profile


83 posts in 3696 days

#9 posted 07-03-2011 12:57 AM

That’s some serious growth after the transplant between 1940 and 1950! Must have been some good soil at the farm. Great looking bench!

-- Jason, JEV Woodworking

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 3176 days

#10 posted 07-03-2011 01:05 AM

Nice story and work. Making memories out of memories…

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View DantheWoodworker's profile


18 posts in 3056 days

#11 posted 07-03-2011 01:46 AM

That is very beautiful. It is also a great story. Thanks for sharing.

View ChrisCarr's profile


196 posts in 3435 days

#12 posted 07-03-2011 02:35 AM

You should be proud of yourself. Thats an awesome story and accomplishment !

View FlairWoodworks's profile


71 posts in 3075 days

#13 posted 07-03-2011 03:08 AM

Nice bench. Are you going to add dog holes?

-- Chris Wong -- --

View SawdustDon's profile


17 posts in 3091 days

#14 posted 07-03-2011 03:14 AM

Beautiful bench and story. I especially liked the dated growth ring cut.

-- Don

View Tim Kindrick's profile

Tim Kindrick

369 posts in 3090 days

#15 posted 07-03-2011 03:18 AM


-- I have metal in my neck but wood in my blood!!

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