Mark Firley at The Furniture Record (one of my favorite blogs), sent me these photos of a workbench he encountered in his travels. He was on;y able to snap these photos before the antiques dealer shooed him away.
My first (and fifth) reaction: A Narwhal and some ship’s tackle had a baby. And it didn’t live….
So if you look at the top of the bench, you can see there is probably a vise nut bolted to the underside of the workbench’s top.
The bolts might be (OK, almost certainly are) a later addition to the bench. Judging from the wear and tear on the thing (and the dealer’s guess at the age), that hardware is new.
But then everything goes sideways when we consider the vise. The vise screw itself looks handmade – not manufactured – and could very well be from the same era as the bench itself. The big thing sticking in the air is definitely… sticking in the air.
To my eye it resembles a leg vise chop after a vicious dog attack. And then there’s the second vise nut in front of that. It’s bolted in places (perhaps a repair?).
I wonder if the vise screw is in backwards and its hub is under the bench. And we just have, for some odd reason, two vise nuts. That’s my best guess.
— Christopher Schwarz