English/Nicholson style bench

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Project by SvenPHX posted 06-03-2017 03:37 AM 2319 views 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My projects are moving more along the hybrid method so I needed a work holding bench for hand tools. I chose the style similar to work benches we had in school in England, with a Record style vise. I wanted the top to be sacrificial and easily replaceable and no metal in the top. The leg structure is bridle joints and through mortise and tenon. All are draw pegged and the tenons are wedged. Stretchers are mortised into the legs and bolted so I can disassemble the bench and tighten the legs if they get wobbly.

I can disassemble the bench in under 10 mins with 3 sockets, an impact, two wrenches and a screwdriver.

The legs are poplar, the top and aprons started as 2×12s from HD. I bought 8 2×12s which were pretty cupped so I cut them down the middle, planed and jointed the edges and glued them back up. Then I stabilized all the knots and holes with epoxy. Finish is BLO and varnish for the legs and the top is dark walnut Danish oil I’ve had sitting around for years.

I use dogs a lot as stops or clamping elements, and I will be buying some hold fasts, but I am not a fan of the ‘Swiss Cheese’ look of some work benches so I will drill holes only as I need them. In researching how benches were used in factories where hand built furniture was made by craftsmen on piece work, they usually had 5-8 holes in the top and a few in each apron.

It’s usable, but not finished. May never be finished. I plan to add a planing stop, some drawers under the top and a shelf in the stretchers. I have no need for a granite plate flat top to my bench as I have another work table that is dead flat for when I need that sort of thing.

6 comments so far

View mahdee's profile


4025 posts in 1973 days

#1 posted 06-03-2017 01:44 PM

Beautiful work.


View Woodknack's profile


12431 posts in 2586 days

#2 posted 06-03-2017 04:00 PM

Good work on the bench

-- Rick M,

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3072 days

#3 posted 06-03-2017 08:22 PM

This is an outstanding workbench and you did a wonderful job on it. It’s a fine addition to your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View mafe's profile


11741 posts in 3295 days

#4 posted 06-04-2017 03:42 PM

Beautiful bench.
Fine work.
The more I see these English type benches, the more I like them.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View SvenPHX's profile


47 posts in 1971 days

#5 posted 06-06-2017 02:07 AM

Thank you, Gentlemen … I’m quite proud of it and cutting my first dovetails on it …

View WayneC's profile


13794 posts in 4303 days

#6 posted 06-06-2017 03:38 PM

Very nice work.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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