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View Bob's profile

Antique Workbench Project "help"

by Bob
posted 08-31-2016 11:26 AM


23 replies so far

View Robert's profile

Robert

3403 posts in 1874 days


#1 posted 08-31-2016 12:04 PM

I’ve never seen a bench top NOT glued together. So yes, I would start with the top by gluing the top up Its possible it was originally glued and it failed, especially if it was hide glue and got exposed to heat or moisture.

I would use the rods as clamps but after that, they aren’t needed.

You may want to attach the top to the base with lag bolts or such. Depends, you may not need to.

Same thing with the base.

Nice antique bench! Good find.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

3320 posts in 3170 days


#2 posted 08-31-2016 12:13 PM

That is a very old bench – seriously cool. It may not have been glued, if it was, it was probably hide glue.

I would tighten the bolts and see where you go from there.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View onoitsmatt's profile

onoitsmatt

428 posts in 1570 days


#3 posted 08-31-2016 02:51 PM

Awesome bench. Nice find! I think you are doing the right thing by doing the research before starting. Gluing is a good odea but gluing it up wrong or poorly would be a difficult mistake to undo. Try to be patient (which can be difficult when you are itchy to start using it ).

Dbray may be right to just tighten it up for now while you figure out the next move.

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8305 posts in 3192 days


#4 posted 08-31-2016 03:05 PM

I would bet it was never glued. If it had been glued with hide glue it would still be one very solid piece. It doesn’t simply fail when exposed to moisture or heat. You would almost need to boil that kind of glue joint to make it fail.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

3110 posts in 2566 days


#5 posted 08-31-2016 03:44 PM

I think it is very possible that it was never glued up. Looking at the top especially second picture. I don’t think it was glued. I would tighten everything up and see what happens. A lot of benches were located on the legs with dowels. The weight of the bench top held it in place. This the craftsman to disassemble and move the bench easily sometimes from job site to job site.

You could take the rods out and check for glue residue. I’m with shipwright hide glue doesn’t just fail because of moisture it takes heat and moisture..

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16130 posts in 3012 days


#6 posted 08-31-2016 04:05 PM

I have one just like this.

Tighten everything up as best you can, with the bolts as located. The base will stabilize quite a bit, but adding glue there will be a big improvement. I think the top resting in dowels is fine; mine does, it’s not an issue. After all, it’s original that way and all the use it’s gotten thusfar speaks to it being an effective construct.

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

View KelleyCrafts's profile

KelleyCrafts

3717 posts in 1133 days


#7 posted 08-31-2016 04:37 PM

Very nice bench. Would have a fine spot in my shop, enjoy that thing.

-- Dave - http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

3320 posts in 3170 days


#8 posted 08-31-2016 07:27 PM

If the pieces are 2” thick or better, Paul is correct, there is no glue. Wasn’t thinking of the total thickness.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Bob's profile

Bob

6 posts in 1028 days


#9 posted 09-01-2016 01:59 AM

Thank you all very much! I will be starting by some disassembly and investigation. The top is 2.5” and I noticed today there were some attempts at repair or maintenance. Nothing destructive but, someone has pre-drilled and installed some screws and nailed some areas that should not be. Should be simple to address those issues. I will be asking some more questions as I need to address other issues. It is really a great help having all the replies I got to my query! Gives me a lot of confidence going forward. I only looked at the construction briefly, I was more concerned with how complete it was when I picked it up. There are dado grooves on the top and bottom, I am assuming there was a sliding board with dowel holes (I do not know the correct term). The vises both work but could use some attention. One seems to be hanging lower than it should. Thanks Again, I really appreciated it!

BC

-- BC67 SFD

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

6227 posts in 2659 days


#10 posted 09-01-2016 02:03 AM

That old bench has some great character. It’ll be a great friend to you over the years I’m sure.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16130 posts in 3012 days


#11 posted 09-01-2016 02:06 AM

Sliding deadman.

Keep us posted!

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

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2837 posts in 2690 days


#12 posted 09-01-2016 11:45 AM

Beautiful! Please don’t sand all the patina out of it. I’ve cleaned a couple of those up just with 0000 steel wool dipped in liquid stripper – it takes off the grunge but leaves the age and any random paint splatters or rings from old cans etc that you want to keep for posterity sake if you don’t work it too hard. Do an area, wipe it off with a rag and move on. Enjoy it.

View Bob's profile

Bob

6 posts in 1028 days


#13 posted 09-02-2016 01:49 AM

Thanks again everyone, for those interested the bench is 2.5” thick, thanks for the “sliding deadman” (I probably should have figured that out on my own :) and I would not dream of sanding the age off of it! Just want to get it back to solid and have it functioning properly and smoothly again. And, I will take your suggestion of 0000 steel wool and stripper. Will post as I progress. Thanks again!

-- BC67 SFD

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

6227 posts in 2659 days


#14 posted 09-02-2016 01:53 AM

Please Bob. Show us the final result that you are satisfied with! I want to know! I need to know. I love those old world benches. I want to build one and am studying all I can find.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16130 posts in 3012 days


#15 posted 09-04-2016 07:16 AM

Hey, bob.

Here’s a familiar sight for you…

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

View Bob's profile

Bob

6 posts in 1028 days


#16 posted 09-06-2016 11:51 PM

WOW! That does look like mine! Great looking Bench, Smitty!

-- BC67 SFD

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7789 posts in 3308 days


#17 posted 09-07-2016 01:29 AM

IMO, I would be seriously tempted to disassemble the top, run the top pieces through a planer and reassemble. Just me, and I know it sounds like sacrilege however…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

6227 posts in 2659 days


#18 posted 09-07-2016 06:31 AM

smitty that’s a really cool bench. Sure wish I had one.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16130 posts in 3012 days


#19 posted 09-07-2016 12:18 PM

The challenge in flattening tops like these lies in re-wickering the vices once the top would be thinner. Like the soles of hand planes, bench tops do not need to be absolutely flat to work well. They just don’t. How flat do they need to be? Work on it awhile and you’ll know if it’s flat enough, that’s all I’m saying. I did some smoothing plane action on the bench above, to knock of some high spots that kept boards from sitting flat, in work.

But then even with rehabbing old tools, I’m a ‘less is more’ kinda guy.

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

View Bob's profile

Bob

6 posts in 1028 days


#20 posted 09-07-2016 03:24 PM

I agree Smitty. I have a bench I built that I wanted the top to be very flat and true. In my case I will not need this bench to be dead true. I do understand the desire to disassemble and true all the pieces, but if I wanted to do that I would probably use the old bench as a template and make a copy. I would need to buy vises, but in my case I want this bench to show it’s age.

-- BC67 SFD

View KelleyCrafts's profile

KelleyCrafts

3717 posts in 1133 days


#21 posted 09-07-2016 04:34 PM

I’m jealous of all of you guys. In the west we don’t see stuff like that. I think my next bench will be this design. My current Paul Seller’s style is great but I want a different face vise and add a proper tail vice/wagon wheel. I would be happy to restore an old one like this for nostalgic purposes and as a user of course.

-- Dave - http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View Bob's profile

Bob

6 posts in 1028 days


#22 posted 11-20-2016 09:43 PM

Well, some things have changed in my life and I am going to be selling this workbench. If anyone on here is close to me and would like to make an offer I would like someone who can really use it and appreciate it to get it. I am really not sure what it is worth, so first come first served. Let me know and thanks everybody! BTW I am not have any devastating health issues or anything like that but just need to let some things go.

-- BC67 SFD

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

3320 posts in 3170 days


#23 posted 11-22-2016 03:26 PM

If I had the room, I would make an offer – nice bench.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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