Restoring a workbench is a lot of work, but it’s not very difficult. If you do yourself a favor and find a bench with the vises in tact, it will save you time. The cosmetic work on a carpenters bench restoration is a matter of cleanup, leveling, and finishing the piece to make it look new again.
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I cover the entire process for restoring a workbench in another article, where I took my fathers old bench and made it look new again. My father had a carpenters bench from my grandfather, and offered it to me.
I made it known that I did not have time to work on it, and every time my dad asked me, I told him that it was still sitting on the floor of the garage. Little did he know, I was working on it for a couple hours a day in secret.
The bench came to me covered in oil, grime, paint, and many decades of wear. I had to pull or set dozens and dozens of nails. Most of these were my own doing from when I was a kid. The boards were also coming apart, so they had to be glued again.
I used a lot of grease cutter, acetone, and elbow grease to remove the gunk. Then, I had to sand it level with a belt sander. That tool a while, but it was worth it. I then filled the voids in the surface, and sanded it level again. Finally, a coating of Danish Oil made it all look nice and even. The look on my dad’s face when I asked him to come over to “help me lift the bench top off the floor” was priceless. He thought I was about to start working on it, and in reality I was already finished.
In the end, this was a labor of love. It is really nice to have a bench in my shop that my father, and his father before him both worked on. I enjoy the history in it all, and hope that one day my son will enjoy working in the shop, and become the fourth owner of this bench.
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For more about woodworking, take a look at my other work:
DIY Growth Chart Ruler (A gigantic ruler for marking a child’s height)
17 Worst Ways to Ruin Your Woodworking Project (A list of things to avoid)
Making Wooden Rings (How to make wooden finger rings)
If you have any questions about restoring a workbench, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! Happy building.
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I give away the majority of my woodworking, wood finishing, and guitar making tips, but I also have several books if you want to take the next step.
You can see them in my Book Store, and they are all on Amazon.
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