What IS this thing I found in my home???

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Forum topic by SkyKing posted 03-01-2015 08:13 PM 3165 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 1183 days

03-01-2015 08:13 PM

Hi, woodworking people; I just joined to try to figure out what this item is in my house…I found out this is the #1 woodworkers’ forum on the ‘net.

I’m not a woodworker, I’m a mechanical engineer. My wife and I bought this house about a year and a half ago, and found a former woodworking shop in one room in the basement.

Along one wall were very nicely built racks holding vast, vast amounts of various hardwoods (I could tell they were hardwoods somehow), some cabinetry and many power outlets all over the room. Turns out our new neighbor said, yes, one of the former owners was a serious, big time woodworker.

Well, I know a guy who is also a sometime woodworker and he came and went crazy over all the hardwood boards and trim and blocks, etc. I said it’s yours of you take it so I can reclaim this room for firearms maintenance, a cartridge reloading bench, etc.

On one of the benches there was this “fixture”, which, given the context of the former use of the shop, must be some kind of wood-working device or fixture. My friend didn’t recognize it; neither did family members to whom I sent a pic.

Does anybody here know what this is???

Pic attached…notice a “shadow” on the bench where there might have been a different part at one time, that kept it unworn and clean.

Sorry the pic came in sideways…the keys are in there for scale. The thing is screwed to the bench top.

What is this?

-Kevin in Catonsville, MD

-- -Kevin in Catonsville, MD

34 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile


18200 posts in 1856 days

#1 posted 03-01-2015 08:31 PM

Not sure.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View poopiekat's profile


4355 posts in 3734 days

#2 posted 03-01-2015 08:39 PM

Remove it from the bench and throw it away.
You gave up a treasure trove of hardwood stock, why place any value on this mystery fixture?

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View dustyoldman's profile


22 posts in 1245 days

#3 posted 03-01-2015 08:49 PM

looks to me like either a hinge of sorts or was used to hold something in place

View JAAune's profile


1799 posts in 2316 days

#4 posted 03-01-2015 08:52 PM

A lot of woodworkers build strange, specialized fixtures for specific tasks they perform repeatedly and that one could be one of them. It’s not any of the normal jigs I’m used to seeing.

Offhand, it could be a depth gauge of sorts. Maybe it’s a weird sort of stop for hand-planing boards. Most telling is the pale spot between the two wood blocks on one side of the dowel. It looks like something spent a lot of time in that location which kept the top from aging as badly in that one spot.

Any chance of finding whatever used to sit there?

-- See my work at and

View Picklehead's profile


1041 posts in 1929 days

#5 posted 03-01-2015 09:46 PM

Remove it from the bench and throw it away.
You gave up a treasure trove of hardwood stock, why place any value on this mystery fixture?

- poopiekat

Better yet, give the bench away too!

-- You've got to be smarter than the tree.

View bondogaposis's profile


4727 posts in 2351 days

#6 posted 03-01-2015 10:15 PM

It looks like a place to roll the edges of sandpaper for a 1/4 sheet sander. It also looks like the sander sat there between the rails when not in use. I had something similar when I used a 1/4 sheet sander.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2997 days

#7 posted 03-01-2015 10:20 PM

OMG…..he left one of THEM when he moved.
I haven’t seen one of them in ?????? many years.
Maybe never quite like that ONE.
You might want to give him more money for that house!

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3161 posts in 3109 days

#8 posted 03-03-2015 02:27 AM

You probably lost a few month’s worth of mortgage payments by giving that wood away. The least you could do is guilt the guy you gave it to and have him make at least one piece of furniture in a style you like, including finishing. I, however, am shameless. I bought ONE board from my neighbor who recently moved. It is oak, 8’ long and 22” wide, and I paid $50. If you wanted to make a panel that wide from smaller pieces, it would cost about $300, less labor.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View MrRon's profile


4770 posts in 3243 days

#9 posted 03-03-2015 04:34 PM

I’m guessing there was a roll of sandpaper there and the paper fed under the dowel and was cut to length with a knife.

View dhazelton's profile


2767 posts in 2296 days

#10 posted 03-05-2015 04:29 PM

What are the dimensions of the ghosted area that didn’t darken. That will help a lot. Tell your friend he owes you a piece of furniture of your choosing and design.

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 1892 days

#11 posted 03-05-2015 08:25 PM

Um, that is a ring of keys.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1230 days

#12 posted 03-05-2015 08:45 PM

Toilet paper holder for a near empty roll.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3577 days

#13 posted 03-05-2015 09:07 PM

perhaps a place to slip a dead man with a metal hook on your bench.

Opps I didn’t notice it was attached to the top of the bench.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View tomsteve's profile


784 posts in 1219 days

#14 posted 03-06-2015 09:21 AM

I think you should find the previous owners new phone number, get ahold of him, and ask so we all can know exactly what it is.

View kwolfe's profile


108 posts in 1564 days

#15 posted 03-06-2015 11:02 AM

The fact that there is a light square in the top middle shows that there must have been so thing nested in it for quite some time. Wonder if it help sharpening stones or something

showing 1 through 15 of 34 replies

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