The first real woodworking project I built in the USA was a pine workbench. The story of this piece began with a discarded metal cabinet I found on Irving street in Cambridge MA. I mention Irving Street because a few weeks after I found the metal cabinet I found a set of pine bunk beds waiting patiently to be picked up by the trash truck on the same street. The bunk beds provided the wood for my new workbench. A few years later I discovered another âgemâ on Irving Street, which I used for the construction of a High Boy I named Cantabrigian Highboy, but more about that later. Irving Street is also important because its the street that Julia Child used to live on. A few years before she passed away her historic kitchen was taken apart, shipped to Washington and reassembled to proudly reside in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum. So you see for some mysterious reason Irving St. is an important location in the tales of my own pieces and of the culinary legacy of the nation.
I started my new workbench by disassembling the old bunk bed parts. After that I joined planed and re-dimensioned the old-new lumber into vertical and horizontal members. For added strength I used lap joints for all the joints.
The new wooden frame was designed to encapsulate the metal cabinet. The workbench upright parts (the legs) are connected to the rails with lag screws anchored into 1â diameter wooden nuts. The bench was designed so it could be easily disassembled. Itâs top incorporated lumber from the bunk beds as well. After completing the workbench, I decided the drawer pulls on the metal cabinet were just too small to be used, so I built new pulls from wood with a shape that compliments the overall look of my new American furniture.