Workbench restore (Scandinavian style) #2: Bringing the workbench back to life.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 11-07-2012 07:19 PM 13412 reads 2 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The short story of the Scandinavian workbench and a visit at a museum. Part 2 of Workbench restore (Scandinavian style) series Part 3: Holdfasts and leather grip. »

Scandinavian workbench restore
Bringing the workbench back to life.

In this part I will show how I restored and brought the old tired workbench back to life.

This was how it looked when I brought it home in the garage, it was tired and had been used outdoor for a while as a table for painting and so, I almost felt sad when I saw this bench and actually for a moment had doubt if it was worth restoring, but since I paid 50 US dollar for it I thought it was worth the effort.
(Usually these full size cabinetmaker work benches are sold at prices between 200 – 400 US dollars for a fully working old sample here in Denmark, and a new one is between 1700 – 2600 US dollars).

First step is to pick up some tools, and yes a cold beer.

The top is cleaned up for old paint and tar.
The snacks are for the beer.

After fighting with my Stanley no 7 I decided it was to whimsy – yes you read it right, simply too little mass to flatten a bench top after my taste. So it was time for my good old jointer to get back in action.
Large and heavy as hell!


After some serious planing and plenty of sweat it was time for the smoother to run some passes and another cold beer.
The top is now flat and ugly as hell…

A look down under.

Some wear and some loose parts, but nothing that glue and screws can’t solve.

Glue the dovetail joints.

The tool tray is fastened again.

Since the top was so dead in the wood and left with deep penetrations of paint I decided to color it with some wood stain, the choice is dark chestnut.

I think you must agree it was needed.

Then some serious layers of oil, the wood soaks it like a drunken sailor.

The stretchers are dyed too.
As you can see one of them has been broken and then replaced with a bolt for tightening, I want to keep this as a part of this work bench history.

Garage is transformed into a temporary work shop.

Legs are getting the same tour and this makes the beech top and the pine legs blend better also.

I make a piece of pine for a bottom between the stretches so I can use the base for storage, I will guess the weight is around 450 pounds so it is rock solid as it is.

And so here we are!
The bench is ready to be brought to the new workshop and the rest of the restore will be made there once my tools are up and running.

End of this part of the blog, in next part I will tell about the holdfasts and some grip for the endvise.

Hope it can be to some inspiration.

Best thoughts,


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

23 comments so far

View Brit's profile


7385 posts in 2865 days

#1 posted 11-07-2012 07:33 PM

Totally agree Mads. It definitely needed the stain. I like the colour. It was a bit pricey though at $50. :o)

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3364 days

#2 posted 11-07-2012 07:47 PM

another wonderful find and restore
good that you keep it original too
as part of it’s ongoing purpose

a great mads rebirth !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3326 days

#3 posted 11-07-2012 07:50 PM

yes i agree with each step you made, and i cant wait to see it sitting in the new shop, ready for a new generation of wood work, i think you should christen it with your choice of drinking fluid, since i dont drink beer i could suggest a root beer…but im sure i would be out voted on that one…so glad to see you at it again, with a new shop as the nuclease for the whole thing…hip hip hooray…im working on a nakashima style table right now, would be so happy to have some assistance from you , it would look just right in your new place…swing bye, ill donate it for the cause…lol…......grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View rdlaurance's profile


367 posts in 3369 days

#4 posted 11-07-2012 08:12 PM

A beautiful restoration increased that $50 investment exponentially. Great color!

-- Rick, south Sweden

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2879 days

#5 posted 11-07-2012 08:22 PM

Mads what a restore

so well told and photos are great


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 2669 days

#6 posted 11-07-2012 08:24 PM


Back at it and on the move. You are singing.

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3905 days

#7 posted 11-07-2012 08:39 PM

What a treat watching you do your magic.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3138 days

#8 posted 11-07-2012 09:04 PM

start to looking good :-)
I´ll better get that tote made I can see it comes in handy …. lol

I can see there is more than one way to skin a cat ….
here I talk about how the benchtop and the shouldervie is build
alot different from my bench and yet still looking as they are twins :-)
even though woodentreads vices can be a bear to work good
I know you will love to use them .. as I do :-)


View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 2784 days

#9 posted 11-07-2012 09:13 PM

Mads, this story just keeps getting better and better. $50 US dollars? THAT”S AWESOME. That is totally worth all the sweat equity that went into brining it back to life. Way to go.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View madts's profile


1862 posts in 2362 days

#10 posted 11-07-2012 09:23 PM

Just 2 beers and Dkr 300.00 Not bad.

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

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20589 posts in 3128 days

#11 posted 11-07-2012 11:21 PM

Mads you got a nice old workbench for good price. If anyone could put life into it, it is you, my friend!!. It would cost a heck of lot more to buy big planks to make a new one. The staining is nice, but I bet you have it worn down to raw wood in a short time!!!

Thanks for sharing and congratualtions on the new digs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2625 days

#12 posted 11-08-2012 02:34 AM

Love the stain color….man this looks like a time machine in the best of ways!!. Great bench to inspire many creative sessions of woodwork….cheers!

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View KOVA's profile


1363 posts in 2401 days

#13 posted 11-08-2012 05:14 AM



View sb194's profile


196 posts in 3041 days

#14 posted 11-08-2012 01:34 PM

As usual Mads, I can’t wait for the next installment.

Bench is turning out great.


View Schwieb's profile


1858 posts in 3484 days

#15 posted 11-08-2012 02:20 PM

Nice work Mads.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

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