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Workbench Identification

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freeflier

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Hello,
I would like to construct a workbench using two identical cast iron end-pieces, one of which is shown in the picture. I recovered the end-pieces from my late father-in-law's property, where they were buried behind one of his tumbled down sheds.
My problem is that I do not see how the top would have been originally constructed and fixed; also any bracing parts.
I have searched the internet for anything of similar construction, and done a 'Google image search', but without success.
I am hoping that someone may recognise these 'bench-ends' and/or give me some ideas how I may use them.
I am guessing that each end weighs in excess of 50 kg. Their overall dimensions are 750(H) x 660(W) mm. There are 6-square holes on the top surface, each measuring approximately 19 sq mm. There are no manufacturer's markings on the frames. The blue paint finish looks to be original.
Any advice would be appreciated.
I appreciate that I may be better off building a timber bench from scratch for my woodworking projects; but, even so, I may like to use them to build a dedicated large-scale vice-bench.
Thanks,
Peter
 

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marcros

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I would expect them to have been on a machine base, although I may be wrong. Nowadays they are popular for dining tables where there are not large forces causing racking.
 

AndyT

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Well, I reckon it's quite an old idea but I see no reason why it shouldn't work.

This is from a popular guide to woodwork and other DIY, published in 1891.



Thomas James Syer patented a rare (and collectable) device for holding work on the bench, a swinging seat to attach to a bench, and a quick release vice, but this is the only reference I can find to his composite iron and wood bench. Not exactly the same as yours - his has sloping legs at the back - but the general idea is there.

This link should lead to the rest of the book, to read online or download.

https://archive.org/details/everymanhis ... 7/mode/1up

I suppose it's possible that your ends might have been part of a lathe or other piece of similar machinery. Whatever the source, some chunky timbers and some bolts should see you sorted.
 

AndyT

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Ok, these are closer to what you have. This is from the 1935 Buck and Hickman catalogue.

benchlegs.jpg


They were still there in the 1964 catalogue ( 44s for the all-steel, £5 7s or £6 7s for the Improved model) but they had been dropped by 1971.
 

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Inspector

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I don't know what the origins of those are but they resemble industrial work tables made of sheet metal. https://www.uline.ca/BL_3853/Industrial ... bench+legs. So get a top of your favourite solid, plywood, MDF or a solid door and the same for a shelf on the lower leg. Lag / bolt with washers through the square holes and the same for the smaller ones on the lower cross brace and see if it is solid enough for you. If it racks a little, put some cross braces from the two tops or a sheet of plywood across the back of the shelf to the top.

I think they will make great bench legs even if only for a lathe.

Pete
 

freeflier

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Hi, marcros, AndyT and Inspector,
Thank you all very much for your replies and insight. Being a 'newbie' I was half expecting a load of derogatory comments – such, would appear to be the way with the internet. I am so pleased and encouraged to find that this forum is frequented by genuine and helpful individuals.
It will take me a few days to take on board all of the advice and information, but I will get back to you with my progress.
With thanks and happily,
Peter
 

AndyT

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You're welcome. I reckon you have the making of a good bench there.
 
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