19th c. American Carpenter's Workbench c.1880-1900



An original Maple carpenter's workbench with large inlay tray used to house larger tools. There are 15 "dogs" spaced along the width of the front. Pegs were placed in the dogs to hold a piece into place while working on it. The bench features two wooden screw vises that work properly and extend out. The piece is structurally sound and has retained the naturally distressed look of an industrial piece of this kind.

  • CREATOR Unknown.
  • DATE OF MANUFACTURE c.1880-1900.
  • CONDITION Good. Wear consistent with age and use. Refinished in an oil and paste wax. Shellaced.
  • DIMENSIONS H 32.5 in. x D 32.5 in. W 84.5 in.


A workbench is essentially a table fitted with various holding devices, such as benchstops and vises, made sufficiently strong and massive to be used for a variety of woodworking operations. The modern workbench derives from two separate pieces: a table for planing wood and a bench for supporting wood to be sawn.

Designs have changed over the centuries, beginning with low Roman planing benches and slowly growing in height to present day hand-high benches, and acquiring different accessories. French benches of the 17th and 18th centuries, for example, depended largely on stops and dogs to hold the workpiece, whereas British and American benches relied more on various vises (which first appeared on medieval German benches). How and where vises are fitted further differentiates between different bench types, the most common of which are those known as the standard cabinetmaker's bench (fitted with a face vise and a tail vise).

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