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Reader Litcritter just received a Christmas present from hell. Check out this old workbench. Complete with vises and clamp-holes, this bench has seen its share of action. Litcritter gives us the low-down:

Christie’s folks brought this up with them when they came for Christmas, and if it were my only gift, I’d be ecstatic. Here’s what we know about it: It belonged to her great grandfather, who was a hospital administrator in Michigan. The hospital he ran provided occupational therapy for shell-shocked vets returning from WWI, and it likely came from there.

The blue tape is the labels Christie’s dad made so we could reassemble it. It will quite likely never be this clean again.

We’re not sure it would be any more useful cleaned it but we’re positive it would lose some character if he polished the ol’ tank up. Besides, half the fun of having a rig like this is making a mess with it. Looks great to us just the way it is.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]


15 Responses to Xmas Loot: A “New” Workbench

  1. Gordon says:

    Is it my imagination — or too much holiday cheer — but doesn’t the light projecting through the back tool tray onto the shelf under the bench look like a laser? Maybe this bench isn’t so old after all, maybe it’s the original laser bench…

  2. Frank Townend says:

    Great gift.

    For future reference Sean, the round or square holes used in conjunction with the vise for clamping are called “dog holes”. The metal or wood pegs used in the holes are called “dog pegs” or “bench dogs”.

    In engineering a “dog” is a tool that prevents movement or imparts movement by offering physical obstruction or engagement of some kind. It is a metaphor derived from the idea of a dog (animal) biting and holding on.

  3. paganwonder says:

    One of the coolest gifts I have ever seen.

  4. Old Coot says:

    I just hope that he’s a regifter and has my address. Beautiful.

  5. akb427 says:

    Why do you say “present from hell” ?

  6. Dave H says:

    I’d hit that with a coat of Johnson’s paste wax just to protect it and not touch anything else on it. It appears to be ready for business. What a beauty! Congrats, they must really ,really like you.

  7. txinkman says:

    Oh please, let me at it for a restoration. I’ll pay shipping both ways. But it’ll probably take a couple years. What a great gift!

  8. John says:

    Thought you fellas might like to see these plans for a similar table…. all sketched up in 3d for your drooling pleasure. Enjoy my fellow sultans of saws!


  9. aaron says:

    before assuming, i’d first check the key surfaces to make sure they’re flat. if not, (hand) plane the top and vise faces and throw on a coat of BLO and it’ll be entirely useful.

  10. akb427: The “present from hell” confusion is understandable. I’m a TX transplant and learned that here “[insert item] from hell” means AWESOME. 🙂

  11. paganwonder says:

    @John- thanks for the link- HNY!

  12. themark says:

    What a great gift. However… I would be all over it restoring it to it’s original beauty, but to each his own. Enjoy!

  13. dee says:

    I have been on the hunt for one of these old workbenches forever! Very uncommon in Australia. Finally one popped up on ebay for a song. My partner and I lovingly call it “The Heavy Thing”. Once we’ve restored it we’re going to use it as a kitchen island – it has oodles of character and charm… however we didn’t expect to be so big! Its 2.6 metres in length.. just have to find a kitchen large enough to house it!! Cheerio!

  14. Poppyo says:

    They & U are right. It’s a beauty. Just as is, but slightly cleaned up would be OK. Imagine how sturdy this one is to have lasted so long. Could be worth more than I could offer to a “Museum of Tools”. But if I lived close enuf, I would probably keep upping my offer until you couldn’t refuse. ‘Cuz I can’t imagine what shipping would cost–by any method. But the wife equivalent wouldn’t let me even try to make space in our too-filled double garage (w/ both cars parked outside). Congratulations. Invite every friend you have over for projects.

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