Development on the bench/swing seat (we don't have an official name yet) is moving forward at a steady pace. We're through with the prototyping and design stages and are in the midst of fabricating and mounting the two patterns for the seat on our foundry match plates, one for the seat's arm, the other for the mounting bracket. After that, we do a small run of castings to check our gating and whether the molten iron is flowing into all the nooks and crannies properly.
Although simple, there are some finer points to this thing that we're going to address. But before we get to that, a few words about cost. These seats were originally used in an industrial or institutional setting. Prisons, cafeterias, schools. In other words, they were made in a rudimentary way to keep costs down and production up, since many of the purchasers were limited by tight budgets. Although we're putting a little more into our version than ones of the past, the philosophy behind the price will remain. We want these to be affordable, and the way we're designing them, they should be. If you decide you want a couple of these for different benches in the shop (or even the house) we're hoping to make that an easy decision to make.
Many of the vintage seats mount via an L-shaped bracket that attaches at a corner. This is fine for general table use, but not for a workbench. We've designed ours to mount on the side of a bench leg, leaving the front plane of the bench uninterrupted. You won't know the seat is even there once you swing it away under the end of the bench.
Another improvement we're incorporating is machined bosses. The bearing surfaces on many vintage seats are simply left sand cast, leaving a less than smooth surface. Machining these areas will guarantee smooth operation and a firmly planted feel while sitting.
Home use. We've been asked if this seat can be used at a kitchen island, dining table, or bar. The answer is, likely yes. We've designed this for use primarily as a workbench accessory, and have sized it for such. When sitting at a bench you want to be able to get close to your work, so we've sized the arm so the seat position places most people's thighs (and knees) even with or a bit past the mounting bracket, and thus, under the bench top. This also means the seat can be rotated out of the way when not in use. If you want to mount the seat to a table who's top extends beyond the leg (thus pushing the user away from the leg and thus the mounting bracket) a separate mounting bar must be used to, in effect, extend the length of the seat's arm. This can be made of wood. Many vintage seats incorporated a rather wide mounting bracket to serve this purpose. We may offer a separate mounting bracket, in cast iron, for just this purpose.
The hardware used to mount the bracket to your bench will be up to the end user. Since there are a wide array of leg thicknesses, we can't anticipate everyone's needs. We recommend bolts to mount, but in some cases lag screws must be used. We'll have instructions and recommendations for this.
We will not be providing the actual wood seats, at least at the beginning. Like the rest of our bench hardware you'll be expected, as woodworkers, to fashion your own wood components.
If you've got any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments.
We still haven't settled on a name for this either. We're about half way through our initial production run. We're still on target for an early fall release.
We've jumped through some hoops to figure out how to make these reasonably and we think we're there. These are getting the black oxide treatment at the moment. Once they come back from that facility, we'll start machining in the teeth. Yeah, they are going to be two-tone and look really wicked.
Classic Workbench Plans
Hey, you can't rush genius. We're working on them.
We're not making much progress on this since we like to row our own. Since we're on the topic, anyone want to buy a mint, 7600 mile 2013 Honda Fit Sport with manual? Nobody drives sticks anymore...