I am going to spare our gracious readers the specific details of just how yucky this workbench was upon discovery. Buried under boxes such that it was indistinguishable as a woodworking bench, I bought it based on seeing a single wood vise screw on the end.
Somebody, at some point, knew exactly what they had. This purchase was no trifle. It was expensive then. This was not a purchase made on a whim at Sears. I mean, I suppose that a wealthy individual may have bought it without a full appreciation, but I doubt it.
See that black rattle can over spray? I doubt that was the work of the original owner.
First, I swept it clean with a bench brush then blew it off with compressed air. Removed the wood screws and polished them. Washed the entire bench with wood soap. It took an hour with a can of paint thinner and 0000 steel wool to get that black paint off. Refurbished the finish, more steel wool. Coated with orange oil, let it soak and buffed it with an old t-shirt.
People see my shop and imagine that I find these magnificent objects intact. That they appear pristine and I just need to cart them back. But, it is just not the case. These are all projects. Magnificent, but projects.
D+R reader Stan points out that Sjöbergs are still being made in Sweden. Wonderful! It appears their primary focus is the outfitting of school workshops. Learning to work with such extraordinary tools would be certain to create a lifetime appreciation for quality.
Another update: D+R pal Kevin reports that Sjöbergs are available on Amazon. Which is very cool, as I wanted the aluminum bench dogs for my new (used) Sjöberg bench.