On a marginal weather day, my wife and I headed out to our favorite “in the middle of nowhere” restaurant for lunch. Their web site said they were open on Sundays. What the web site didn’t say was they were closed until January 6th.

We turned around and headed back to civilization ending up in Carrboro, a funky little town just south of Chapel Hill, NC. Some refer to it as the Socialist Republic of Carrboro but we like it fine as it is.

As a result of being back in civilization, our casual lunch became brunch. We had a nice meal and to kill time walked over to the attached small shopping mall. It is an old mill and just loaded with character. There was a new reuse/restore/salvage shop that just opened and we looked in. I was surprised to see this:

It's a biiig bench.

It’s a big bench.

The bench in the photo is a full ten feet long. Longer with the tail vise. It looks right at home in the mill.

It has yer basic shoulder vise:

A well worn shoulder vise.

A well-worn shoulder vise.

A well worn shoulder vise.

Rectangular guides. The dark square recess near the guides are actually bolts.

And a tail vise:

A substantial tail vise.

A substantial tail vise.

With an interesting wing(?).

Looks like it could be used for work holding.

Looks like it could be used for work holding. It has its own guide.

Gratuitous third view.

Gratuitous third view.

And a sliding deadman:

A bit rough but serviceable.

A bit rough but serviceable.

And for fans of alternative lifestyles, it offers the bird’s mouth planing stop:

Another method of work holding and the backside of the bench.

Another method of work holding on the backside of the bench. Especially useful for edge planing.

The bench does have some issues. First is that it’s not that ruggedly built.

Not 6" legs.

Not 6″ legs.

The top is made from two boards. The front board my be 2″. The back board is 5/4″ or less. It is rugged in that it still exist but how well would it hold up to years of banging out mortises. And that is over a ten foot span. Was it a light duty bench? Well, it still exists.

Then there is the $3000 price tag. Seems expensive for a workbench. Not sure about the price for an antique. More than I want to pay.

Who can forget the Pottery Barn kitchen island workbench? I think it was around $1600.

Furniture from the mall.

Furniture from the mall.

And the vises don’t even work.