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Old time Benches, Alf , And Wood Central

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SlimShavings

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Alf
There having quite a discussion at Wood Central (Hand Tools) about the "Old time Benches". Since i know you frequent there and since you live in the "old Country :D . Was wondering if you had any links or information on the old time work benches. Before Power tools
 

Alf

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Slim,

Links, er no. Info, well not much. Most of my books are 20thC, that being where my interest lies; aimed at the hobbiest; and often post-war to boot. That means the bench designs in them have been influenced by the continental designs, by limited space and/or maximum flexibility and designed to make as little unlicensed wood as possible go a long way. However, taking a look at Salaman I see the following, which may be of interest:

Since the 18thC, a Vice with a long, vertical, wooden cheek has been common in this country (leg vice I assume?), either attached to the front of the Bench or standing separately - the Post Vice.
On the Continent of Europe an additional L-shaped Back or Tail Vice was fitted to the right-hand end of the bench top. (Benches so fitted are usually called German Benches.) <snip of using same with bench dogs for holding work> It may be wondered why the great convenience of this device for holding the workpiece never seems to have been fully accepted in this country. (too many Adam's about? :wink: )
The most commonly seen bench as far as I'm concerned, is the basic joiner's bench, often of two slabs with a shallow tool well between, a deep front apron and a metal face vice at the left-hand end. Apart from the metal vice, I should think it's pretty much unchanged for hundreds of years. And it lives on in professional joiner's workshops up and down the country; I would also say "in schools", but alas, not any more. :( To give you an idea, here's the bench at Finch's Foundry in Devon, which was used for general joinery, coffin-making and wheelwright work:





The business was going right until the 60's IIRC, so there's no telling when it was made.

As a rule I stay well out of bench design discussion; my view would not be a popular one. Seems to me you so often hear the gurus say "oh, I use that type of bench because it's the one I was taught on". Well could it be that the perfect bench design is the one you take time to get used to..? :wink:

Cheers, Alf

Who doesn't have the perfect bench either, but is used to it.
 

SlimShavings

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Thanks Alf
Your opinion seems to be justified as that is what all the disicussion is about.
It was brought about by those who use hand tools only. (I use them to finish but not to prepare) They were dicussing the design as it pertains to working the wood from start to finish and they way it is held. They felt that something had been lost in the design as to "comfort" and ease of use when using hand tools only, now that we have "lectric" tools. I can see their point . Sometimes it seems there is no good way of holding a piece when your flattening and or molding. Most benches are just to short. It will be interesting to watch :D
 
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