New Source for Big Slab Workbench Kits

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As many of you know, I’ve had great success building workbenches using thick slabs that are wet (extremely wet) with less than a year of air-drying. Read more about that here.

I purchased my bench kit from Lesley Caudle (lesley27011@yahoo.com), a sawyer in North Carolina. Read more about his sawmill here.

Now Re-Co Bkyln is also offering slab bench kits using lumber that has been reclaimed from the New York City environs. The kits include all the stock you need to make a bench, including a single 6”-thick slab top plus stock for legs, stretchers and a vise chop.

The kit is $999 plus trucking fees ($200 to $400 depending on where you live).

Full details on the Re-Co bench kits are here.

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The people at Re-Co are great. John and I have met many of them personally. And they do good work – salvaging urban trees for furniture and now workbenches. Check it out.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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9 Responses to New Source for Big Slab Workbench Kits

  1. Roger Benton says:

    Thanks for the mention! We appreciate it. I can’t wait to put one of these together for my shop…

  2. Another…BIG…Thank You!!!…Chris, for putting information like this…It seems, at least once a week, some comment is made or written about how wood has to be kiln dried, or that folks have to wait for years before building something like this Benches…Regardless of the historic record, and those of us that work in green wood almost exclusively…

    Thanks again…

  3. jayedcoins says:

    Very cool that more people are getting on board with this. Anyone know of someone/an entity with the wherewithal to do something like this that’s a reasonable drive from southern Michigan?

    • tombuhl says:

      I visit SE Michigan each summer and have this on my list to check out someday: http://www.treepurposed.com/our-story/
      I haven’t seen them in person, but worth checking out for you.

      • jayedcoins says:

        Awesome — I just sent them an email and will let folks here know what they respond with.

      • jayedcoins says:

        I got in touch with them. Currently, the closest thing they have to workbench size are some 3″ thick walnut slabs, but you’d have to buy two and glue it up. And c’mon, unless it’s the ugliest walnut on this green Earth, someone should make furniture with it, not a workbench!

        They said that most of their business is people building live-edge tables and bar tops, so most everything they saw up is 10/4, with some 8/4 and occasionally some 12/4, and they are usually very long, 8 – 12 foot range.

        I told them if they ever get a chance to repurpose a felled red oak or an ash that would yield a 3 – 4″ thick x 60″ long x 20″ wide slab, that I’d buy it…

        I’ll check their website periodically but unfortunately it sounds like they have their niche and understandably there aren’t a lot of people looking for gnarly red oak hunks to make workbenches from, so there’s not a lot of incentive for them to invest in searching that out and sawing it up.

        • tombuhl says:

          Thanks for the feedback. I found a local guy (SoCal) doing similar, but I did buy a large walnut slab. Pretty rough shape (major cracks and gobs of large worm holes), but fun material. I’l cutting it up for small sculpted stools and chairs. Fun working with, but not very economical to do on a regular basis.

  4. Jeff Hanna says:

    I’d also point out that another good option (if you’re at all concerned about working with green wood) is to find a reclaimed timber frame beam. Heart pine beams are plentiful (no matter where you are, factories being torn down made from this stuff are ubiquitous).and they are your best bet. I built my 8′ roubo from a single heart pine beam a little over a year ago and it hasn’t moved even a little. I had the option of kiln drying it, but decided not to. I’m surprised I haven’t had to do any work to it after the initial flattening.

    • I agree Jeff, this is (or can be) a great resource…However, I also warn clients and fellow woodworkers that way to many of our Iconic Barns, Mills and related Working Architecture is now being aggressively pursued for destruction by too many unscrupulous vendors looking for…vintage wood.

      It has gotten bad enough in many regions where I strongly discourage folks from this resource and/or to really be conscious of whom the purchase this material from. At the current rate of destruction in some regions, this resource will dry up and those doing the destruction (and warehousing) are banking on the price for this material doubling and tripling…Not something I like to support personally…

      In full disclosure…part of my living is from historic restoration work and preserving heritage architecture…not tearing it down for dry wood or other repurposed resources…

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