Watchmakers bench

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  • #49098
    mclark3617
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    Got my hands on a bench the other day and noticed three holes about 1/2 in dia on the face of the top. Im sure if there there its for a reason but im stumped. Does anyone have an idea of what these were used for?

    #58219
    david pierce
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    • Topics Started: 90
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    McLark,
    I can not see the holes in the picture. If they are in the back they were probably put there to run wires for electrically powered accessories. This would include your lathe motor and foot pedal, work lamp, demagnetizer, a flexable shaft tool, etc. I am afraid to ask what you paid for your bench because I bought one a few weeks ago and it was a real budget buster. If you got a good deal on it you are very lucky; nice bench!
    david

    #58220
    mclark3617
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    The lathe is sitting right in between two of them the other is about six inches in from the right side. There right on the edge almost like you could put a dowe pin in them and use them for arm rests
    And not sure how good a deal i got but i gave 350 for it,,,seemed like a better than average price compared to other ones

    #58221
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
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    That seems like a very good price for a very nice bench Mclark.

    Bob

    #58222
    mclark3617
    Participant
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    Thanks Bob, can you shed any light on what the holes may be for?

    #58223
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Hi Mclark,
    I am only guessing as I don’t really know. I gave it some thought while on a walk and thought of a couple of possibilities (both probably incorrect). Possibly a way to extend the apron by plugging in a removable, portable apron? Seems like some type of small catch in front of the lathe to hold gravers etc. while turning might be of help. Also may be holes to hold different types of wooden filing blocks? Again probably not for that but might be handy to use for something similar. One of my benches has smaller holes to hold the base of a pivot polisher.

    Bob

    #58218
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Mclark,
    I didn’t see your earlier post about those holes maybe being there for an arm rest. That sure sounds like a good possibility.

    Bob

    #58224
    mclark3617
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 28
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    I was just curious if there was a specific purpose, but more than likely it was for all the above and anything else you can think of. Ill find a use for them im sure.

    #58225
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    OK, I see them now. They run parallel to the bench top. It could be an accessory hole to hold a wooden block used to saw parts with a jewelers saw. Who knows?

    #58226
    arutha
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    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    Going on from Bob’s apron theory, some guys used to pin the apron they wore to the desk, that way and parts that fell off of the bench would land in the fold of the apron.
    I dont know how deep those dowel holes are but I am not sure even if they were quite deep they would be enough to supprt arm rests? It certainly is a bit of a mystery but mystery aside, what a beautiful desk and I am quite jealous :)
    Paul.

    #58227
    mclark3617
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 28
    • Total Posts: 181

    Thanks guys, i loke it, but it looks like someone just varnished over the old finish and im gonna probly strip that of and try to bring it back. The holes are about 2 1/2 inches deep and .460 dia thats about 11 1/2 mm, im guessing there for accesorys like, if i look at the two under the lathe they seem to be centerd on the lathe,,,maybey lathe tools or catch tray, if i look at the others, using the same middle hole they seem to be centered on the work area over the catch tray. Seems like it was for more than one thing and designed to be removable.

    I dont know how well you can see, but it seems the old or original owner scratched a scale into the catch tray,,,handy?

    #58228
    peggy332014
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 20
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    I have no idea either! But for me… that’s where all those spare parts I can’t figure where they go… would be conveniently dropped down there… only to have to go find them later! 😆 😆 😆 😆

    Joking aside… that’s a nice vintage table! Congratulations on the find!

    #58229
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    The holes are there to support the end of a tapered ring mandrel. A ring after being rough formed (usually with pliers) and silver soldered is out of round. To make it round it is put on a tapered mandrel and tapped into shape with a hammer. The mandrel can either be held in one hand and hammered or supported on one end in the bench hole.
    david

    #58230
    maitai11
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 62
    • Total Posts: 428

    Hi Clark,

    I, too, like the bench. It’s a real beauty – but I, like others (and, I saw you say this also) would refinish it – albeit, I really don’t know where I would start, but there’s all kinds of great information out there for you to learn, if you don’t know already.

    Of course, there’s also our resident wood man – William. But he’s a busy guy, busier than most, I’d imagine…still, I’ll bet he could send a link or two to get you moving in the right direction.

    Good luck, and, please post pics of the finished product! The holes you’re asking about can be anything from a place to put doweled armrests, to the “extended catch” Bob mentioned, but probably not for a vice or anything like that. If they’re equally spaced and planned to mirror each other, I’d almost certainly say it’s one of the two (rests or catch extender).

    Best,

    Tim :)

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