You’ve heard me rant and rave about
French, English and Scandinavian workbenches since the day this blog was
launched. But what about American benches? Is there even such a thing?
we are a nation of comparatively recent immigrants, many of
the old American workbenches I’ve seen are spiced heavily by European
and English forms. But not all. The Shakers’ had a distinctive bench – a
massive cabinet below topped by a flat work surface. And many American
bench manufacturers, such as Hammacher Schlemmer, offered workbenches
using this idea; storage below was a key selling point.
Deborah Chalsty, a woodworker and tool collector, acquired an early
American workbench that is an interesting form that has an even more
interesting story behind it.
While rust hunting in Virginia with Lee Richmond of The Best Things,
Chalsty saw the workbench pictured here underneath a bunch of tools
owned by a collector. Richmond has a sharp eye for antiques; he is one
of the appraisers for PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow.”
“Lee told me this bench should really be in a museum,” Chalsty says.