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Temporary retirement

I’ve had a heavy workbench for at least 35 years, but I don’t use it much anymore. Time to let it enjoy a well-earned retirement?

I got that bench – actually, just the benchtop – in Connecticut sometime in the ’80s. Very thick and solid with dog holes and a wooden end vise. When I bought it, the guy had another top that was badly broken, and he tossed the vise from that one into the deal. Picked up some 4x4 posts for legs, and added a shelf underneath. The finished bench was – and still is – massively heavy.

My shop was so tiny that bench was the only worksurface I had, so it got used a lot. When we moved to West Virginia in ’04 my shop was a bit larger, and I added a cabinet with a countertop and an outfeed/assembly table to my saw, with all three worksurfaces functioning as a team.

But when we moved here two years ago, my shop size increased by a factor of three. I now have three sets of cabinets with countertops (one of them 11' long), that saw outfeed/assembly table, and a new 8' assembly table. Barely used that old bench since.

In two years I’ve not done any task that couldn’t be performed more efficiently on one of my other worksurfaces, and the old bench has become something of a catchall for loose items I’m too lazy to put away. So, I’m thinking, is it time to put it out to pasture?

That may eventually come to pass, but since I have lots of room, I think I’ll leave it where it is. It is another worksurface, after all, and I have occasionally used it to hold freshly finished items out of the way as they dried. And while the need hasn’t yet arisen, it’s the only worksurface in my shop with two vises, so there’s that.

I think what I’m really hoping for is that someday my daughter will finally make a dedicated workshop for herself (she currently does most of her woodworking out on her deck), and when she does, she’s going to need a proper bench. Well, I just happen to know of one with lots of experience that’s ready to get back to work.

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