Be Seated: The Benchcrafted Swing-away Seat
Sitting at your workbench does not make you lazy. Many times it makes you smart.
Chopping out the waste between dovetails requires endurance and patience – especially when building a large piece of casework with drawers. If you sit while chopping, you conserve energy and your eyes are closer to your chisel, improving accuracy.
The same goes for mortising where exactitude is important. During the last few weeks I’ve been making marking gauges and mallets that require perfect mortises. Sitting down made this easier to accomplish.
The list goes on, including drawings and drafting while sitting at the bench.
Last year I added a vintage swinging seat to my French workbench so that a seat was always handy. It was a great upgrade for my bench. The only problem: Vintage seats can be expensive ($300 is typical). And, until recently, new ones were going for $500 or so.
Last month, Benchcrafted began selling its version, which is comprised of two nicely sand-cast pieces of iron and an optional oak seat. I purchased one (I accept no discounts or freebies) and installed it on my other workbench Sunday afternoon. It took me longer to drive to the hardware store to buy the bolts than it did to install the seat.
I installed the hardware using hardware store 1/2” x 6” bolts, washers and nuts. I ordered mine with the seat included, and it came drilled with the three holes required to attach it to the casting – plus the screws needed to do the job.
My only concern with the seat was if it would make the bench tippy when I sat on the seat. This particular bench is 6’ long and not as massive as my other benches. My guess is it weighs about 250 pounds. I weigh about 180. Result: No tippiness.
While adding a seat to my bench is great, the Benchcrafted Swing-away Seat has also inspired me to design a few pieces of furniture that incorporate this hardware, including a breakfast table for a small kitchen. At $199 ($249 with the seat), this piece of hardware is a bargain for what you get.
— Christopher Schwarz