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    chris mabbott

      I’ve been taking the opportunity during the new year to redo my work area, the main thing I wanted to do was to improve my work bench.
      Main reason, it’s too low, so I find myself bent over like a dog doing something to a football 😆

      I was looking around for a long time for a work bench that suited me, aesthetically, when I came across some chaps who were selling some of the contents of an old convent, this was about 8 years ago.
      They had lots of stuff, even the old iron gates, which I ended up purchasing and fitting to my driveway and main gate.

      They also had three of these tables which were originally used as dining tables for the nuns in a main hall. I would guess and say that this bench is over 100 yrs old, the pig iron pins that hold it together are the old forged type and there are bolts, with unknown thread, with square nuts holding the cross beams.
      The thing weigh a ton, it’s almost like iron 😆 but as mentioned, it’s a bit too low and it was in need of refinishing which I’ve been putting off for years.

      I found a Carpenter who does artisan work, he restores old pieces, and he is going to make some leg extenders to raise this up to a comfortable height. He’s also making me a new work bench to mount my lathe on, hopefully this will be ready by next week..

      So over the weekend, which was a holiday here, the three kings or Xmas the movie part two, I decided to hump this beast outside for a sanding and refinish.
      The carpenter gave me a product which is not a 100% varnish but a mixture that contains oil, and is colorless.
      The top was a bit uneven so I used a belt sander, lightly, to try and even things out, then I used an orbital type with various fine grades of sandpaper..
      I wasn’t too fussy about a perfect finish because I want it to still look old and funky, which I think it still does.
      I also pre treated it for wood worm before the product..

      Anyway, it turned out how I envisioned and I’m happy I did it, and as I admired my handy work, as we tend to do :D
      I couldn’t help thinking about the life it led before this incarnation as a work bench. I also wished that I’d purchased the other two tables.. 🙄

      With this varnish type product it really looks original, I was considering oil only, but I decided in the end for the better protection of the varnish type product..

      Here’s a B4 and after..


        It’s great work, Chris…

        Did I ever tell you’re kind of weird? Nun’s? Hahaha just kidding…I’m kind of a little jealous that you find these little treasure troves of purchasing heaven.

        But I can really see where you’re coming from on the height thing. Right after I started, I went from a table about that height, to a full 10″ raised mini bench – and I have had NO problems since. Good going on getting that raised, you should notice immediate improvements.

        And good job on that refinish. Yeah, there’s something romantic about old square nuts and unknowable-quantity bolt threads, for sure. Handmade.



        bernie weishapl

          Well done my friend. Really nicely finished and should serve you well.


            Looks good Chris, be careful or some of that nuneryness may wear off on you 😆 I have found that getting all my benchtops the same height is a benefit, all mine are 35″ at the top surface. William


              Very nice table Chris, it really looks great after your treatment. Wonder how it will look with the leg extenders!

              Looking forward to see pictures of your renewed work shop ;)


              chris mabbott

                Thanks guys.

                William, that’s what i’m raising this one to, 35 inches (90cm) I basically just kept putting blocks on the top to try it, so I’m relieved to hear that this is a decent working height. it’s currently sitting at 29 inches (76cm) which has been causing a bit of nerve pain in my leg as my butt is forced back about 2 feet from the table edge. Hope that’s not too much info 😮

                I’ll post some shots Jan, I spoke with him today, the carpenter, and he’s going to make 4 new longer legs and attach them to the old ones, then lenthen the originals, he figures just extending the legs with blocks is not sturdy enough.. He’s the wood guy so yeah ok, fine by me..

                I’m getting the other work bench made to 42 inches (107cm) in height by 2 meters length. That’s the same height as the milling stand which is pretty comfortable, not much bending over. Us old guys have to preserve the back for other, more important duties, like cooking, dishes, shaving the head, ya know 😆


                  Hey Chris, did you ask him if he had a leg stretching tool?


                    AAWWWHHH Im just pulling your leg :D

                    chris mabbott

                      William, where ya been hiding buddy, I’ve missed ya :D Nice to see you back and pulling my leg bone again. ;)


                        Chris, been hiding here right in plain site in the shop…… Really busy for the last few weeks, more than the usual busyness. Got a few extra things I am working on lately. William

                        chris mabbott

                          William, If you tell me that you’re remodeling your shop again to make room for more new machines, I don’t think my heart could take it after the last time 😆


                            Chris, your partially right, I am still organizing from the last remodel, got the clock bench area in order. I did find a nice Schaublin 70 that I have been refurbishing/cleaning so I did have to find some bench space for it. when I get all of it done I will post up some photos on the other section. William


                              Really nice bench Chris !!!
                              You’ll feel a lot better spending time at this one …..

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