I live in a house that was built in 1860. My shop is in a “carriage house” that I suspect was built sometime between 1900 and 1920. My guess would be that the structure was built for “horseless carriages” and replaced the original stable. It’s a large structure with a second floor apartment that, very likely, was home for a driver in an earlier, grander time. I’ve worked in this shop for more than a decade now and it still surprises me that very few visitors have ever noticed the “hidden treasure” that resides next to the west wall. In fairness, it may be that I’ve managed to keep it buried under various tools and supplies. But it’s worth a look.
Clearly, someone who resided here in the past, was involved in some serious woodworking. This is a bench that was built for joinery and it’s been here for a long time, a very long time. The bench is 126″ long, 18″ deep and 32″ high. The top is a single slab of 3″ thick white oak. A pegboard (hopelessly stuck in place) leg vise is attached on the left side. A 12″ wide “stretcher” runs diagonally from the left front leg to the right rear. The stretcher has helped maintain the top as “straight as a string” in length. However, over the last century the slab has cupped (crowned, if you prefer, as the work surface is convex).
The stretcher is fitted with two tiers of planing supports. These are large dowels that can be moved forward when additional support is needed. Unfortunately, some of the support rods have been cut short, rendering them useless.
Though I use the bench now for a place to support a grinder, filing vises and storage containers, it could be put to work, jointing long stock in a heartbeat. With any luck, this bench will be around for another century. I guess I could clean it up a little bit. But it’s got an awful lot of “character” just the way it is.