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Like Mercedes-Benz cars, Diefenbach benches have long been symbols of German engineering prowess. A few years ago, however, Mercedes cars began being recalled for design faults and the marque slipped down the rankings in customer satisfaction. Based on the bench we looked at, Diefenbach’s halo may also have slipped. There were several examples of poor quality control: Only two of the four screw holes for attaching the top to the base were aligned properly, and the threaded rod on the front vise had to be bent slightly to fit it into its hole in the bench. The spring clips on all four metal dogs were so poorly riveted that they wouldn’t fit into the holes, although after being pounded on an anvil and then filed, they worked fine.
Examples of poor design include the protrusion of the fingerjointed end into the front vise area. Because the dog holes were spaced wider than the end vise’s travel, there was a 3/4-in. dead zone when clamping certain length workpieces (the Laguna bench also had this problem). In other respects, this was a great workbench with stout legs and a thick top, giving a very solid feel. The vises were, as associate art director Kelly Dunton put it, “nicely massive,” and the anti-racking wheels on both vises were a standout feature.
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