Found an Old Woodworking Bench

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KenBrasier

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Nov 28, 2009
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393
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Salem, MO
A friend of my sister had this old C. Christiansen Workbench in storage.... Now it is mine and I'd like to find more information about them. C. Christiansen Co made Workbenches and Tool Cabinents in Chicago from the late 1800s until about 1940. This is all Maple with two wood vises w/hardwood vise screws. It doesn't appear to be abused, but needs clean-up, some re-gluing and refinishing.

Thanks for looking, let me know if you have any info on these workbenches.

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gaeast54

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Jul 1, 2009
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Louisiana
Man, some people can fall of the wagon into a pile of mess and come out smelling like a rose. Great find Ken. Still a lot of years left to that work bench.
 

Dalecamino

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Jan 2, 2008
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Indianapolis, In.
Ken,that's is a really nice bench. I am no expert on antique furniture and work benches but,seems I heard somewhere(probably Antique Roadshow) that,refinishing takes away from value.FWIW,you might check up on that before you strip it down. Thanks for posting it!
 

glycerine

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Aug 7, 2009
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Fayetteville, NC
Wow! Very cool! I'd love to have something like that! I have a friend whose grandfather passed away several years ago. My friend got his grandfathers old workbench, looks similar to that one, not sure what kind it is though. Gotta love classics and antiques. They just don't make them like they used to!
 

phillywood

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May 10, 2010
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San Antonio, TX, 78250, USA
that's very nice looking find. I am sure you'd be very pleased to work on something that solid. the threads on that vise looks wooden in the picture right. it may be hard for you to use them since the show sign of aging. But yous hould be able to find a replacement for it. Below is a link to Old Woodworking Machinery site and you may be able to find info about the Mnf.. in there. It was helpful for me when I found an old Rockler 4" jointer and i restore it, but they had good resource to get me started.
http://www.owwm.com/home.aspx
 

skiprat

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Oct 19, 2006
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In a Skip in Wales
Maybe just clean it up, but please don't ruin that great piece of heritage by 're-finishing' it. It will out live all of us and hasn't even been 'broken in' yet. Just having a bench like that in my shop would inspire me to make something.:wink:
 

jskeen

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Oct 11, 2007
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Crosby, Texas, USA.
OK, since no one else will say it, YOU SUCK! Great find, would love to fall into something even half as good.

ahh, another refugee from the OldTools listserv. I will add a hearty "YOU SUCK" as well! BTW, that's an in joke from a very old mailing list that translates to "nice snag, i'm just ticked you beat me to it"

But seriously folks. I doubt that this item has any real value as a "collector" piece, so you shouldn't have to worry about messing it up by cleaning gluing and refinishing it, As a functional piece of workshop tooling, its value could range from Immense, to just another horizontal surface to pile pen blanks and stuff on. Depends on if you actually do any hand planing, jointing, or smoothing. If you know the difference between a # 608 bedrock and standard bailey # 7, you may end up using it a lot. If not, well, we all need something else to stack pen blanks on.

I have seen beautifully restored, immaculately finished and polished benches that would not look out of place in a museum, and ragged beat up old warhorses that had actually had hundreds of pieces of soon-to-be fine furniture attached to them, but none of them were without value to someone. If you are this benches someone, then have fun turning it into whatever it you want it to be.
 
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bitshird

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Aug 27, 2007
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Adamsville, TN, USA.
That is a great bench, but if it were in my shop, you wouldn't be able to find it, so I think it's in a far better place, You should enjoy it immensely.
 

KenBrasier

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Nov 28, 2009
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393
Location
Salem, MO
Maybe just clean it up, but please don't ruin that great piece of heritage by 're-finishing' it. It will out live all of us and hasn't even been 'broken in' yet. Just having a bench like that in my shop would inspire me to make something.:wink:

After serious consideration and through inspection, I decided I needed to make some repairs, regluing and refinishing to get maximum use from the bench. Most of the glued joints had come loose either from age or water damege (the bottom drawer has obvious water damage). I'll post some new pictures when I'm done.
 

KenBrasier

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Joined
Nov 28, 2009
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Location
Salem, MO
Old Workbench Updated pictures

It's done (except for the drawer locks, one is missing). I didn't over do the refinishing and it still look quite old. Trouble now is that LOML wants it in the Family Room, which ain't a bad idea since it is over 100 degrees in the shop, but I doubt that she would appreciate the sawdust. I finished it with Danish Oil and it gave it a nice old luster. The workbench top is not anchored to the lower cabinet, it just sets on two dowels.
 

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jskeen

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Oct 11, 2007
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Good job, just the right amount of clean up and no tacky, gloss poly finish on it! Now you need to come up with some bench dogs and hold downs and either a deadman mounted on the right front corner or a benchslave to tuck under the end vise when you are not jointing boards, and Bob's your uncle.

Great find, and great job getting it back in working condition.
 

RAdams

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Apr 5, 2009
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I agree! You did the ole bench proud!! I think you should distract the wife from the bench with a diamond or something, that way she will let you keep it in the shop!
 

Smitty37

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Nov 23, 2009
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Milford, Delaware 19963
mmmmmm

A friend of my sister had this old C. Christiansen Workbench in storage.... Now it is mine and I'd like to find more information about them. C. Christiansen Co made Workbenches and Tool Cabinents in Chicago from the late 1800s until about 1940. This is all Maple with two wood vises w/hardwood vise screws. It doesn't appear to be abused, but needs clean-up, some re-gluing and refinishing.

Thanks for looking, let me know if you have any info on these workbenches.

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Wow!!! count your blessings, what a great find.
 
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