English/Nicholson style bench

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Project by SvenPHX posted 06-03-2017 03:37 AM 1548 views 2 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


3829 posts in 1607 days

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

Beautiful work.


View Rick_M's profile


10642 posts in 2220 days

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

Good work on the bench


View helluvawreck's profile


29208 posts in 2706 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

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View mafe's profile


11625 posts in 2929 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 1605 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


13751 posts in 3937 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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