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 Post subject: A tale of two benches
PostPosted: 30 Dec 2017, 17:02 
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A brief history.......

17 years ago I moved house, my previous place had a double garage with my machinery in it and a converted brick built stable in the back yard as my workshop. I built myself a workbench, it was a direct copy from a set of plans from Good Woodworking magazine dated Dec 1994 issue 26, it was really nice, solid beech top, double screw Veritas full width end vice, 2 sets of dog holes running the length of the top and a underframe of oak and mahogany......then I got married and moved......

The new place had nothing, not even a shed in the garden so all my kit went into storage and the bench went under a tarp in the garden!, it didn't survive to well....fwd 17 years and after rebuilding and decorating and saving cash I've finally gotten round to building a workshop and equipping it. The old bench is beyond repair, the top has suffered badly but the under frame and legs survived without a blemish!. The top has severe water damage and has bowed badly.......tbc

pete


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PostPosted: 30 Dec 2017, 18:18 
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So the new shop needs a workable bench, the original underframe is in as new condition and will be re-used, so a new top is needed. Whilst doing some contracting work at a local swimming pool last week I was in the pump room when I spotted a bench buried under a pile of junk. My interest was raised so I dug it out and after a brief conversation with the pool manager who didn't want it and was grateful for me taking it away it was on the back of my truck and off back home to the new workshop!!

It had a really crappy bodge job cupboard on the underframe, on one end a couple of bolt holes from a metalworking vice, a bit of a bow to the top, various oil and varnish stains and a few pin holes but on closer inspection it was an Emir solid beech top 65mm thick.......don't need the frame but with a bit of tlc I shall be able to refurbish the top and install it on my original frame......result !!!!!!....cost me £0.00 !


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PostPosted: 30 Dec 2017, 18:32 
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The Emir top has a date of Feb '86 on the underside, looks like I have unearthed an oldie, I wonder what stories it could tell?.
So the top is bowed across the top from front to back and needs flattening. I did think about running it through the table saw into 300mm wide sections then through the thicknesser but decided instead to do it the hard way and plane it flat by hand.


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PostPosted: 30 Dec 2017, 18:41 
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Left hand end has had the breadboard end(?) removed. I'm cutting it down in width by 35mm so I can add a decent sized skirt on the front face ( don't like the look of the Emir benches without skirts on , purely a personal thing) then re-instate the end timber. The right hand end has been cut off to reduce the top's length and also get rid of the vice holes, again I'll be re-instating the breadboard ends.


Pete


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PostPosted: 30 Dec 2017, 18:46 
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There's nothing like a freebie!

I'd have been very nervous taking a plane to a second-hand surface like that. I may have just whizzed a belt sander over it first to show up an errant nail head, or embedded shards of steel or whatever. But it looks great now, and it clearly didn't nick your blade or you'd have mentioned it. Don't make it too pretty now, will you. Remember, it's a workstation, there for abuse.

I'd be looking for some tenons into that breadboard end, not just a small tongue like that (see above! :) )

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PostPosted: 31 Dec 2017, 12:06 
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What a great happy ending! That big chunk of beech would have been so expensive to buy new, or so much more work to make yourself from fresh boards.

I do feel your pain for not having a bench for 17 years though. When we last moved home, I was very fortunate to be able to spend the first week making a bench and sorting out a workshop - which then made it so much easier to do the hundred and one jobs which needed doing on the rest of the house. Next time, you'll know what to do first!

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PostPosted: 31 Dec 2017, 16:56 
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What a stroke of luck - what leisure centre is this? Do they have unused woodworking equipment lying ll over the place? !!


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PostPosted: 31 Dec 2017, 17:24 
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AndyT wrote:
What a great happy ending! That big chunk of beech would have been so expensive to buy new, or so much more work to make yourself from fresh boards.

I do feel your pain for not having a bench for 17 years though. When we last moved home, I was very fortunate to be able to spend the first week making a bench and sorting out a workshop - which then made it so much easier to do the hundred and one jobs which needed doing on the rest of the house. Next time, you'll know what to do first!



I've spent the intervening years working off a Wickes workmate, trust me its been painful at times :roll:
Pete


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PostPosted: 31 Dec 2017, 17:35 
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Stanleymonkey wrote:
What a stroke of luck - what leisure centre is this? Do they have unused woodworking equipment lying ll over the place? !!


Not that I've noticed , our place does a lot of contracting to local authorities and schools and you'd be surprised what we rip out, a few years ago I did a extension/ conversion on a local school and took the old science lab out.......the worktops were solid mahogany, 600mm wide :D

Pete


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PostPosted: 31 Dec 2017, 17:43 
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17 years with no bench???? :shock: My b.i.l's gone the other way - 35 years as a ship's joiner and 10 years as a craft teacher and he and my sister have just bought a £1,500,000 luxury house sitting on a hilltop north of Auckland ..................... with no workshop and nowhere to put one. :( Must be out of his tiny mind.


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PostPosted: 31 Dec 2017, 17:45 
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Weaversdad wrote:
Stanleymonkey wrote:
What a stroke of luck - what leisure centre is this? Do they have unused woodworking equipment lying ll over the place? !!


Not that I've noticed , our place does a lot of contracting to local authorities and schools and you'd be surprised what we rip out, a few years ago I did a extension/ conversion on a local school and took the old science lab out.......the worktops were solid mahogany, 600mm wide :D

Pete

Mad that at some point someone said "We need worktops. Solid wood. Make it something expensive while you're at it. The kids will appreciate a nice hardwood to engrave their names on and stick gum to".


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PostPosted: 06 Jan 2018, 15:24 
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The plans you followed for your original bench were written by my dad (also called Pete) and the bench from that article is sitting in my basement waiting for me to find the time to modify it to suit my needs. It too has suffered with poor storage over the last 12 years or so since I inherited it, although not as badly as yours. the top is of hard maple and is solid but the joints have opened up so my plan is to add some extra material to add a little more thickness, remove the rear dog holes and move the tool well to the back.
I have already cleaned up the veritas twin screw vice and will mount this to the front. I think I want a wagon vice on the end but haven't decided yet.
I will post some pics on here when I eventually get round to starting!
Nice to see pictures of work inspired by my dads articles, thanks for sharing.

Joby


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PostPosted: 06 Jan 2018, 19:06 
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J0by wrote:
The plans you followed for your original bench were written by my dad (also called Pete) and the bench from that article is sitting in my basement waiting for me to find the time to modify it to suit my needs. It too has suffered with poor storage over the last 12 years or so since I inherited it, although not as badly as yours. the top is of hard maple and is solid but the joints have opened up so my plan is to add some extra material to add a little more thickness, remove the rear dog holes and move the tool well to the back.
I have already cleaned up the veritas twin screw vice and will mount this to the front. I think I want a wagon vice on the end but haven't decided yet.
I will post some pics on here when I eventually get round to starting!
Nice to see pictures of work inspired by my dads articles, thanks for sharing.

Joby


What a brilliant post :D
I've still got my copy of good woodworking that had your dad's article in it, I've revisited it since starting the bench rebuild. What a really nice piece to inherit. Best of luck with your project, I'd love to see some pics of your dad's bench as, it is now.
Pete


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PostPosted: 09 Jan 2018, 21:16 
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What a brilliant post :D
I've still got my copy of good woodworking that had your dad's article in it, I've revisited it since starting the bench rebuild. What a really nice piece to inherit. Best of luck with your project, I'd love to see some pics of your dad's bench as, it is now.
Pete[/quote]

I've got various pieces of his and the magazines with the build articles in, its a nice little reminder to have. I will post some pics when i get round to clearing it off, it is currently acting as a bookshelf for all my woodworking books!

Joby


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