The other day i found what looked a lot similar to a Milkmans Workbench on a local used-items-site for sale for about 20€. The lady that had it for sale knew nothing at all about its origin but wrote her immediately and had it mailed to me.
Having seen a lot of these built here on LJ i thought that I would share my findings and how it was brougt back to life. Hope it is usefull.
A few days back it arrived and, i must admit, looking a bit beat up. But it turned out to be an actual Milkmans Workbench. All details are like the one described here.
Someone had clearly tryed to “repair” it, the joints were loose andt here was one of the wooden screws missing to hold it to the table.
The “key” that holds the jaw to the spindle was broken
Decided to give ot a thorough wash and that helped a lot on the overall impression. There was a lot of hide glue spilled all over but this softened and came off quite easlily.
Ended up taking the whole thing apart and here´s what it looks like disassembled
All parts are nice, straight beech. The parts have been machined to size, the tennons are band sawn and the slots for the vice as well as the mortices have been cut on a (rough) shaper and is then squared off with a chisel. This goes for the holes for the bench dogs as well
There is no makers mark or any other signs of maker or dealer. It appears to be made in exactly the same way, and with the same tools, as my large workbench. This makes me guess that this was made sometime between 1890 and 1940.
For some reason the tennons was not glued in the mortices, but rather held together with schrews throug this narrow pieze of end grain. Not a durable solution
The lack of glue had allso resulted in this pieze coming off
Here on LJ i have learned about a concept i find rather fascinating: a Donor Plane
It might look like a waste but this old thing is beyond repair – and have been repaired a lot of times already. The blade is missing as well. Thought that it would be a suitable retirement to use it to repair my bench
Cut out the best parts and used them to make a set of bench dogs and a new screw to hold the bench. Or rather- had to make an extra so, as the trained LJ will see, this one is made from elm.
Made myself a 60 degrees single cutter for the router for the thread. Just used the old one as a model. Worked well
Made a new key for the jaw as well and a new face for the jaw was it was a bit rough and beaten up
The jaw had some worm holes in it so gave it a bath in insect- and rot preventive oil
Then the whole thing could be glued together. Put glue only on the innermost 4cm of the long tennons. Added long, straight kerf screws later. The pieze of candle by the screwdriver is for lubricating the runners in the vice.
Fitted the bloks and screws to hold the bench to a table. On the images i have seen of other benches these have not been mounted correctly. Here for instance. Instead it is supposed to sit so that the benchdogs just cleares the edge of the table and there is as much support below as possible. Also the block positioned in the “long” direction in the vice end help prevent the bench being slid sideways when planing. Here mounted on a peize of scrap as an example
Had to see how it worked on my dining table. Looks rather cool i think
And the final test in a workbench-on-workbench configuration. Works nicely and does not feel flimsy at all. It, for sure, is a keeper!
I want to make some sort of support that make it easy to mount it to sawhorses for use outside on work that makes a lot of chips/dust/noise and as an additional workbench for guests. Even had thoughts on using it for a lid to a toolbox. Hmm..
Had a fun time doing the repairs.
Let me know what you think!
-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda