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I found an original Milkmans Workbench!

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Blog entry by kaerlighedsbamsen posted 08-03-2015 02:48 PM 1985 reads 4 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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



14 comments so far

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

7166 posts in 2037 days


#1 posted 08-03-2015 03:06 PM

Excellent pictorial thank you kaerlighedsbamsen!

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23113 posts in 2326 days


#2 posted 08-03-2015 03:21 PM

That looks like it could be used for a beautiful small woodcarving bench. It’s a nice find.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7472 posts in 1467 days


#3 posted 08-03-2015 03:24 PM

Nice save. Looks good

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile

kaerlighedsbamsen

1177 posts in 1173 days


#4 posted 08-03-2015 03:46 PM

Thanks guys!
Have been wondering if I should make a project with only this bench in order to exlore its possibilities. Perhaps some sort of casework as this would be perfrect..?

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Tim's profile

Tim

3110 posts in 1421 days


#5 posted 08-03-2015 05:33 PM

Very nice save.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13712 posts in 2078 days


#6 posted 08-04-2015 03:00 AM

You’ve done a fine job on this reclaim! I especially like the insight on mounting the bench properly… That was something I never did feel was quite right, and the 90 degree twist sure solves the problem.

Thanks for the pics and narrative!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile

kaerlighedsbamsen

1177 posts in 1173 days


#7 posted 08-04-2015 06:51 AM

Thanks Smitty! Sounds like you have had a go at making one?

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Isra's profile

Isra

135 posts in 863 days


#8 posted 08-04-2015 09:33 PM

Great!, thanks for sharing.

-- Isra, Salcedillo (Cantabria), http://www.lacabraenlaescalera.com

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13712 posts in 2078 days


#9 posted 08-04-2015 09:40 PM

No, I have not. But if I could even fabricate an instance where I’d need one….

:-)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View madts's profile

madts

1680 posts in 1799 days


#10 posted 08-04-2015 11:27 PM

Wonderful Bamse. Wish I could find one like that.

Madts.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile

kaerlighedsbamsen

1177 posts in 1173 days


#11 posted 08-05-2015 09:31 AM

Thanks Madts!
This is the 3. i have ever seen so guess that they are rather rare. But building one is easy. Only hard part is the thread if you dont have a set of cutters.
Smitty: I´m sure you can come up with a need!

Realy think that a combination of a workbench top and a toolbox would be nice. A bit like a quality version of one of these:

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View mafe's profile

mafe

11135 posts in 2549 days


#12 posted 04-18-2016 09:01 PM

Hi Ty,
Lovely restore of that bench, now it really got it’s life back.
Looks clever how you did the new spindle (perhaps you can help me do the same at some time).
Have also seen them before, but not run into them after I started working wood.
I used to have one of those Workmate workboxes and the famous:

The workmate was actually really a wonderful workbench when living in an apartment, it could handle all the basics and could be stored away in my clothes closet, but the Stanley RB5 should never have been invented…
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile

kaerlighedsbamsen

1177 posts in 1173 days


#13 posted 04-19-2016 08:19 AM

Thanks Mads!
I could easily see that Workbox design turned into a lovely Japanese toolbow wit a fancy lid in your hands!
Newer tryed it but that plane looks like what Schwarz woult term a “toollike object”
Have to admit that i have not used that workbench a lot. Bought a 80’ies Workmate some while ago and it is such a lovely tool for working outdoor. Holds most parts, collapses and carries easy – and comes in a lovely, bright blue colour!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View mafe's profile

mafe

11135 posts in 2549 days


#14 posted 04-19-2016 11:59 AM

;-)

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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