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Ye Olde Worlde Workbench

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Lonsdale73

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With a few us contemplating new benches I was delighted to stumble upon this:

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Bod

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Interesting narrow, any idea what was made on it?

Bod
 

Lonsdale73

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Bod said:
Interesting narrow, any idea what was made on it?

Bod
Sorry no idea. Found it an antiques and restoration place, one I must have driven by dozens of times yet never noticed before.
 

Simon89

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That’s lovely piece. What would that cost if you don’t mind me asking.
 

Lonsdale73

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Simon89":35hfko09 said:
That’s lovely piece. What would that cost if you don’t mind me asking.
Again, no idea. I was driving home from a disappointing meeting when this caught my eye:

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I stopped to ask if I could take a photo and while looking for someone to give permission I spotted the bench. I can try to find out for you if you like.
 

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Just4Fun

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Simon89":1p1ugdrs said:
What would that cost
That type of bench is about the only type of WW bench you see around my neck of the woods. Old ones sell for around the 100 euro mark; some more, some less. I paid 100 euro for mine and wish I hadn't.

A couple of things to be aware of if you consider buying one:

Check the vices to see if the screws turn easily. Some grease or wax can improve the turning if the screw is round but I have seen them where expansion/contraction of the wood over the years means the screw becomes oval which would be a harder problem to resolve.

Check the height of the bench. Many seem to be surprisingly low. Perhaps people used to be smaller or perhaps a lot of these are from old schools, but even for a short-buttocks like me these benches can be too low.

Think about how you would actually do whatever it is you typically do using a bench like this, particularly these vices. For example, when I do dovetails or tenons I always end up with the wood further out of the vice than I would with a record type vice (so that I can tilt the saw) and I don't regard that as a good thing.

Make sure the bench you buy has bench dogs with it. Many of these benches have square dog holes that are both tapered and stepped. I imagine it might be difficult to make or buy new dogs.

The example shown in the photos looks to be in poor shape to me, even if you ignore the woodworm. I would not consider it myself.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Just4Fun":2lopegp2 said:
Check the height of the bench. Many seem to be surprisingly low. Perhaps people used to be smaller ...
Yes, people were shorter. The benches were often lower (or so I've read) because they were designed for or used in industries which used much larger timbers that would now be worked by machine, not by hand. The carpenter/joiner/shipwright etc. needed to be able to lean over the workpiece to chop mortices etc.
 

Argus

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I had a quantity of waney-edged beech from the great blow-out of 1987......an ill wind that blows no man good, as they say.

From that I made one of those benches about 25 years ago; albeit with different dimensions. It has metal vice-screws, big square dog-holes and is minus the tool-well There are basic plans for this type in Scott Landis's book on work benches.

Still in use and it will see me out. Hopefully it won't turn into a prop in a shirt-shop or a fancy kitchen.........
 

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sunnybob

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Everything else apart, that particular bench is riddled with woodworm. Burn it! :shock:
 

Alpha-Dave

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sunnybob":1pv5u1mp said:
Everything else apart, that particular bench is riddled with woodworm. Burn it! :shock:
That is my reaction to it too.
 

AJB Temple

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Hmmm. If we burnt everything with woodworm holes in it, we would have precious few antiques or old timber framed buildings left. Generally it is treatable. Rarely is it active - usually it is old and harmless and easy to give yourself some peace of mind with treatment (though some think the chemicals are worse than the worm in the long run).
 

sunnybob

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AJB Temple":30wl6l3l said:
Hmmm. If we burnt everything with woodworm holes in it, we would have precious few antiques or old timber framed buildings left. Generally it is treatable. Rarely is it active - usually it is old and harmless and easy to give yourself some peace of mind with treatment (though some think the chemicals are worse than the worm in the long run).
I've heard this argument so many times. Words like "rarely" "generally" "usually".

I listened when I first started woodworking. Then I found worms all over the workshop from an old plane that hadnt shown signs of worm in over a year.

I shall ALWAYS burn wormhole wood and will no longer buy anything that has worm holes. And always recommend that course of action. Up to the owner on "how lucky do you feel today"?
 

sunnybob

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Because there were little dust piles under the holes in the plane where it sat in the rack. And then when I sawed the plane up to check found some still in there.
Since implementing my scorched earth policy (2 1/2 years now) not one single hole anywhere.
 

AJB Temple

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Bob, does this mean if you were offered a 15th Century carved oak chest, that had worm holes, you would burn it? It is very unusual, in my experience, to find ancient furniture or timber framed buildings without worm activity. Conservation is about dealing with it effectively. I often find that the areas attacked by worm in old furniture, are the softwood areas out of sight, that have been used for things like corner reinforcement. Chances are that they will have been precautionary treated several times.

I would not buy this bench though. It is nothing special, it does have worm quite extensively not just in the screw threads but in the top too, and I dislike the vice type.
 

sunnybob

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No. I wouldnt burn it because I would not accept it even as a gift.
Unless of course i could unload it to some else at a profit without having to have it on my premises 8) 8) 8)
 

Cheshirechappie

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*sigh*

Wish I hadn't mentioned 'character' woodworm holes, now! It was only intended as a slightly tongue-in-cheek throwaway comment in passing. Didn't mean to divert the whole thread. Sorry, OP.

That's still a classic (if rather shaky and worn) example of a European-style cabinetmaker's bench, though! James Krenov and Frank Klausz are two well-known users of, and advocates for, that style of bench.
 

sunnybob

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It was me that started the woodworm discussion, fear not. :roll: 8)

But the bench although obviously old, seems to have nothing of value to redeem the woodworm, so my opinion (which can be ignored at will) is still that it would be better served keeping someone warm.
 
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