Workbench Serendipity Favors … someone else

Every old tool fan has a story of the one that got away.  Some great old gem of a tool that slipped through their fingers for some reason or another.  My most recent one still makes me shake my head in disbelief.

I’m not fully up and running with my new garage bay workshop.  To me it looks like a poorly organized mess of chaos.  To passers by, it must resemble a workshop enough for them to comment as they walk by while I have the garage door up.  My small, unassuming workbench sits sadly in the middle for all to see.

There’s a nice old guy that walks our neighborhood on a daily basis.  He usually stops and chats for a few minutes if we are in the front yard.  The other day he is walking by while I am pushing my son on his tree-swing, but I have the shop door up.  The old guy says, in a thick German accent, “Vat, dey didn’t leave you da vorkbench?”  I ask, what workbench?  Enter the most cruel line I have ever heard uttered… “An old massive vorkbench vid a top dat tick.” and he holds his fingers about 7 inches apart.  Then just to add insult to injury, he says, “It had a great big vooden vise on the front, it was amazing.”

I inquired of the next door neighbor that knew the prior owners of the house quite well.  Apparently the man that owned the house had a great uncle that was a woodworker in days of yore and the workbench belonged to him originally.  The prior owners of our house were headed to an assisted living place and had no further use for the massive workbench.  They were afraid they’d have to throw it out and they didn’t know how to dispose of it!!!  Apparently some guy came in at the last minute of their garage sale and bought it from them for next to nothing.  The day we first looked at this house to buy it was the day AFTER their garage sale.  “Missed it by that much.” are the words that keep haunting my brain.

Time for a beer and  a session of reading Christopher Schwarz Workbench Book while I shed some tears for the workbench that got away.