I was recently given an old cabinet makers work bench by a neighbor
who was moving that she said used to belong to her grandfather in
Germany and was brought over from the old country. It is obviously
old and has not been well maintained. For instance, when I tried to
remove the side vise, the metal guides were so rusted that they would
not come out with out a lot of persuasion.
Not sure what the wood is but there are several sticker still attached
to the underside of the bench on the legs that are in German. I would
like to try and restore this bench but not sure how I should go about
it Some of the apron pieces look like they are a little loose.
Should I try to completly disassemble it and go from there are should
I just clean it up as best I can and continue to use it? I'm not sure
how much work is involved in disassemble or if I could get it to go
back together correctly.
Woodworker's Journal, in one of the last two editions, had two benches
built by traditional woodworkers of note. Ian Kirby and Frank Klausz.
Both had good pictorials and step by step descriptions of how their
favorite types of bench was built.
You could get a pretty good idea of what was involved by picking up a copy
of that issue.
On Fri, 29 Oct 2004 02:07:06 GMT, email@example.com wrote:
No. We need pictures.
I'm sure it'll be worth having though. I've not yet seen an old bench
that wasn't worth having, so long as it was vaguely well made in the
first place and hasn;t been attacked by termites in the meantime.
How is it fastened together ? Last old bench I restored took a lot
of effort to pull its rusted-in woodscrews, but then I could replace
most of them with barrel bolts and I made it easily knock-downable for
No termite damage that I can see. Overall, it appears to be pretty
solid. The legs are traditional trestle design made with approx. 3"
square stock and attached to the cross beams with bolts screwed into a
metal piece that is inset into the cross beam. The top is about 2"
thick with a tool tray recessed on one side. It has a very heavy side
vise on the left front (at least 20 lbs.) and an even heavier end
vise on the right side with square bench dog holes down the front.
Overall size is about 60"X28". The end caps are about 4x3" and have
two metal bolts going into the bench top. It may be made to decimal
measurements because nothing came out exact.
My concern is taking it apart and doing more damage than I can repair.
Just wondering if others had done this and what success they have had.
Thanks for your help.
On Fri, 29 Oct 2004 04:36:04 +0100, Andy Dingley
On Sat, 30 Oct 2004 02:04:26 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
What's a "trestle" here ? Trestles are generally free-standing, so
they have a triangular end profile. A flat top across two trestles is
fine as a workbench, but it's not rigid enough for planing. Most
woodworking benches use a couple of flat "frames" for legs, with long,
deep rails between them for rigidity. If your bench has free-standing
trestles, then I'd think about putting a rail or two between them to
improve this. Lack of rigidity is one of the major causes of
dissatisfaction in a completed bench.
If it's bolted, then you should have no trouble at all.
You could also just use it as it is for a while - see what you like
about it, and what you don't. If it turns out that one leg is shorter
than the other (common, owing to rot) then it's good to know that
before you dismantle for repairs.
I built a traditional bench which I enjoy using very much. You might find that
reproducing the bench is as rewarding as using the original. If you like
antiques in your home, the old bench might be a good cantidate for a clean up
and then used as an island in a kitchen or as a bar in a family room.
In any case a piece of this origin would probably suffer in value from use in
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