Here are some shots of the bench as it looked when I first got it home. The bench is a little rickety, I'll have to figure out how to make it a bit more stable. The top will need quite a bit of work to clean it off and smooth it out.
This shows a close up of the surface. Pretty rough. The red is not blood. It looks like the previous owner used this bench to do all his finishing.
The tail vise. It's all original and the wood screw still works like a charm.
The front vise. I will have to make a handle since the original one is gone. No biggie.
Here's the other side. I don't know why the tool through is so dark.
Ah yes, what every hand tool workbench needs, an electrical strip. Well, my first restoration will be to remove that thing.
Now to the start of the restoration. Remove the tops and disassemble the base. The base was pretty rickety and the pieces are all warped.
1/04/2006 - Restoration continued.
Here the top has been completely scraped down. This took a few hours since I was dulling out my scrapers pretty quick. Then I put on a coat of Minwax Tung Oil, which is really an oil/varnish mixture. I will put on another coat after the first dries completely. I left the trough untouched, the patina in it looks nice, may change my mind later.
This pic shows the differences in the two benches. The antique bench is 74" long x 24" wide x 32" high.
The top has some really peculiar holes in it. I can't figure out what this bench was used for in order to make all those fine holes.
The tail vise feels pretty solid even though it shows quite a bit of wear. I'm not sure I want to mess with the area between the jaws, it looks very natural even though the faces aren't square with each other. You just don't find nice wood screws on vices anymore.
The face vice needs a handle, I'll turn a new one eventually. The face vice is a little loose in the guides, I will have to figure out how to fix that. It is still very functional, I used it to hold my scrapers while sharpening them.
After I bought the above bench I happened to find an add for a newer Diefenbach bench. I couldn't believe it, I had waited so long to get a bench and all of a sudden there are two that I like. Well, I got the Diefenbach since it is a solid user right away. Drove an hour and a half to pick it up from a lady and what a great experience, she has to be the nicest Michiganer that I've met so far.