2 Quick Workbench Items


During the Christmas season, we get asked to endorse and promote a lot of products, which is not something I am inclined to do. I publish a yearly Anarchist’s Gift Guide on my Popular Woodworking Magazine blog, but those are all little things that I own and use – not the result of a corporate PR campaign.

But here are two things that were brought to my attention – both workbench-related – by people I trust.

First is a hand-forged holdfast and bottle opener set from Horton Brasses. Horton makes a lot of the brass and iron hardware I use, and this year the company has made a set of two iron holdfasts and bottle opener for $99. I would order a set to check them out, but I use 1” holdfasts. These are designed to work in a more modern 3/4” hole.


The other item is a long-term investment. Will Myers, a workbench-building friend in North Carolina, convinced a sawmill he uses to cut up some oak kits for massive old-school workbenches. The kit includes a top 6”-thick top that is 18”-26” wide and 8’-9’ long. The legs are 4” x 6”, the stretchers are 2” x 4” and you get wood for a vise chop, too.

The price is $500 if picked up. Shipping is available.

It’s all green oak, so you’ll want to sticker it to dry. Red oak dries fast, so it might take 5 years, maybe more, depending on your storage environment.

Will is solid gold in my book, and he’s doing this to help keep this wood from becoming pallets. You can read Will’s account here. Or you can contact the sawmill at lesley27011@yahoo.com.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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12 Responses to 2 Quick Workbench Items

  1. Brian Eve says:

    It would be fun to make a bench from green wood just to see if it would hold up. I would imagine it would need frequent flattening for the first few years, but it should eventually settle down. That is, unless it turns into a pretzel.

      • mschror says:

        Haha Chris.
        Made my day. Succinct and classic.

      • meanmna says:


        Interested in your opinion of the red oak kit given your past comments of red oak vs. white oak (i.e. pink, stringy and light vs. white, solid and heavy). At this size, how much of a concern would those limitations/disadvantages be in a bench.

        I wonder if they would be willing to do the same thing with white oak. They are within reasonable driving distance of me so I may contact them to see if that would be an option if they come across white oak in similar sizes. Even at a price increase that may be worth it. Just need to find a place to store and dry it over the next couple of years.

  2. KampWood says:

    $500! Wow, if I didn’t have a bad mamajama bench I would be driving down with a trailer right now! That is a steal for a bench that is easily worth twice that!

    • tsstahl says:

      “…easily worth twice that!”

      I believe you are selling yourself short. This bench top is only half as thick as the above kit and sells for six times more: http://old.plate11.com/bench-kits/


      • meanmna says:

        There is a fairly significant difference in the Plate11 bench kits. They are already dried, and much of the joinery is already cut and ready for final fitting. With the red oak kit above, you are getting rough parts, have at least a couple of years of storing and drying time and then have to square, cut joinery, assemble, etc.

      • tsstahl says:

        Meanmna, we were talking about a bench, not how it got to be one. Cheers!

  3. hgordon4 says:

    I have a question, not a comment, for anyone that has experience with this…
    So long as the wood is in some way square to gravity (meaning it’s not leaned up against a wall so that it could sag/warp), does it matter how it is positioned to dry? E.g., the bench top slab, could it be stood up vertically on end? This makes a huge difference with how much of storage footprint it takes.
    Thanks in advance for any answers.

      • hgordon4 says:

        Thank you for sharing that.
        I am familiar with stacking boards (and in the case of these kits, I would consider the leg and stretcher pieces to be boards).
        The part I’m unfamiliar with is drying a slab. 9′ x 20″ x 6″ in this case.
        Space becomes an issue with that, which is why I was curious about the idea of air drying it standing up. I haven’t been able to find anything on drying slabs standing up.
        Fortunately in the meantime I found that a buddy of mine has room in his barn for air drying a slab. I’m good to go with this! Lesley (the mill owner) is a super nice guy and very easy to arrange things with.
        Thanks to Will for the idea, Lesley for agreeing to do it, and Chris for bringing it to our attention on the LAP blog.

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