Saturday, October 14, 2006

Still Birthday Week (Snickärbank Saturday!)

Today was a stunning fall day. Crisp, cool, clear with that fall smell in the air that I love. Tommy and I started the day off with a bit of rearranging in the basement to accomodate my eventual bench and then headed outside for a little fall cleanup in the yard. There are a couple of pine trees that rain down on my backyard like a waterfall, that is to say constantly and a lot.

I can feel righteous about 5 bags full that made their way to the town mulch pile. No worries, we re-use the plastic bags!

We headed out for some errands and encountered the first fake pine forest of the year at Lowe's. YIKES - October 14th and the Christmas trees are out? That's just wrong. There were tons of decorations (including the heinous giant lawn blow up things) on display too.

On the way home Tommy mentioned that there was a woodworking store slightly off our path, but still close to home. And well, well, well - I got me a Snickärbank at Woodcraft in Woburn.

Tom took me in to see if they had any workbench type things and to admire all of the beautiful, beautiful tools. Tools so beautiful that the planes are in glass-front and glamourously lighted cabinets.

Tommy located a workbench that was large and gorgeous and had two integrated vises and was the right height and the right width - it was just right. He hauled me up to the front counter to inquire about a bench and I was prepared to hear a price range starting at crazy money and heading up to 'get in the car now'. I was pleasantly surprised to learn the range was $399 to crazy money. The guys at the counter started talking among themselves and thought that one particular model had been on sale recently. So I chimed in and asked 'which one'? Tommy was standing near a really, really perfect one and asked if that was the particular model and they said no, but they would see if they had one. Tommy asked how much the bench (as yet unidentified model) was on sale for. We were told $299 and they pulled out a catalog to show us some Sjöbergs bench models. I practically yelped (actually, I may have yelped) when they showed me the photo. It was perfect.

Our very kind salesperson Tony wandered to the back room to see if they had one in stock and I perused drill presses. Mmmmm drill presses. Tony came out of the back room and began conferring with a group of employees including the manager trying to figure out if they could sell me the one bench they had for the sale price that had expired. They were talking and talking and I sort of freaked out a bit and announced 'Men! I'm impulse buying here! Someone make me an offer NOW!' They laughed and huddled and tony finally told me that they would sell me the bench for the sale price AND they would give me the underbench storage cabinet accessory (value $149) FREE. I slapped down the AMEX so fast that my credit card number is embossed in their counter! The bench was too big for the Quattro, so we ran home for the All Road and retrieved my purchase. Tony and Eric very kindly loaded the car with Tommy. Thanks Tony and Eric! WOODCRAFT ROCKS!

The Sjöbergs bench is made in Sweden, and it has a good reputation. Unlike IKEA, all of the parts were actually in the box, but just like IKEA, I had some difficulty with the instructions. I spent two and half hours assembling the bench including two "near completions" (only to disassemble the bench and start again so the pieces actually fit together.) Still, I am really happy with the way the bench turned out. It is a very sold item and the storage bit will actually be useful.

Nice dovetail joints on the drawers. All of the drill holes and groove cuts were really well done.

Et voilà! I have a bench with two vises! Two! (And I built it!)

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