Nicholson Bench build continues

As Winter Storm Vulcan howls outside, work continues on the Nicholson bench for the classroom.

View from my living room window.  Honestly, enough.

View from my living room window. Honestly, enough.

We’re starting to “dry fit” the base together.  “Doublers” that will provide additional clamping surface adjacent to the aprons have been glued in place.  As there are “right and left” components in the base, it is very important to double check lay-out.  And, upon dry fit, it’s a very good idea to match mark parts.

001

As a “lesson learned”, we could have simply centered our stretcher mortises on the primary leg face.  But we’re designing on the fly and for some reason, we decided to move the stretchers closer to the outside surface.  Can’t remember what the reason was, but centered should be just fine.

Les presented a “prototype” that might have served as a “universal” primary leg.  After noticing a look that indicated Les’ wry sense of humor, I realized that he was pulling my leg.

003

Tenons are hand fitted.  The “leg set” will be glued and pinned.  Accordingly, the stretcher tenons have a slight interference fit, that will provide enough room for the glue to do it’s job.  Be careful to give yourself a little depth clearance.  There’s nothing quite like trying to pull a joint together that has an excess of glue in the bottom.  It is virtually impossible to do.  In fact, with enough clamping pressure, a hydraulic event can occur that will literally blow the joint apart.  By the way, Les is using a Record 073, one of the best planes ever manufactured for this type of work.  If you ever see an 074, buy it, on the spot.

004

The longitudinal stretcher tenons have a slip fit, as these joints will be made fast using bed bolts.  This will not be a bench that will be easily broken down, due to its weight.  But we decided that we should have the ability to dissemble it, if necessary.

Here is the undercarriage (base, frame) dry fitted.  At 6′ 6″ long, it is substantial.  So much so, that we may shorten it up a bit.  Reducing the base length might give us a little more latitude, should we decide to mount some type of end vise.  However, we’re not sure if there is a need for that type of device, just yet.

007

Next will be dry fitting the aprons and lay out and making of the center cross members.  After that will be the installation of the main vise, attachment of the top and crochet.  Then, of course, boring holes (lots of holes) and finishing.  Should be ready for Spring, so to say.

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3 Comments on “Nicholson Bench build continues”


  1. I am surprised you put in the long stretchers. I felt that the wide skirts provided more than enough strength and it has proven to be the case in use.

    • D.B. Laney Says:

      The apron will be “loose footed”. Upper lag bolt, bored tight, to hold position. Lower lag slotted to allow for seasonal movement. But as much as anything, the lower stretchers will support a storage shelf, where planes would normally be kept.


  2. When I read your post and the question from Andrew I began to think about theese kind of benches with wide skirts. I can not remember to have found joiners benches of this pattern in Norway or Sweden. We might find some I we search? Still the wide skirts have the same functions as the long boards on the “skottbenk”. It keeps the top straight and the bench stable.

    There is some lower benches that are common in Norway, “langbenk” or “oksabenk”. They are often about 18″ high and you sit on it when you work with “okshøvel”. This kind of benches are not so wide as the Nicholson but has wide skirts and as a construction similar.


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