I thought I’d settled on pretty much everything on my workbench yesterday except for the vise. I just knew I had everything worked out. I was just waiting for “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use” so I could have the plans and the directions. That’s it.
But, like an idiot, I never bothered to realize that this is a revised edition.
That means it’s got more stuff in it. Including some interesting tidbits that I needed to see.
To start with, there’s the knockdown Nicholson workbench.
Now, let me be clear. I don’t need a knockdown bench. While I do plan on moving in the near future, possibly shortly after the bench is completed, I don’t see me doing it a whole lot. Once I build this thing, it’s not going anywhere.
However, it’s a Nicholson, and one with no vise.
Mind = Blown.
The bench uses holdfasts, a crochet, a plane stop, and doe’s feet to hold work however you need to. It also has the straight legs.
Now, I still like the looks of the slanted legs of the Nicholson, but the math to figure those out is beyond me. After all, I suck at math.
With straight legs, it should be much easier to plan it out.
Plus, the plans are the exact length I want to build. At 22 1/2″ wide, it’s pretty much in the zone of what I was going for there too. All I need to do is adjust the height.
Yet I don’t quite want to build that. There are some useful ideas there, mind you, but I want to build a bench to last, not to transport.
So I’m still building a Nicholson. The difference is that it might be a hybrid between the regular Nicholson and the knockdown version. It will also lack a vise, for the time being at least. The reason is that I have ideas of what I want to do, but I don’t know for certain what exactly I will be building. Not all vises are created equal. Some are better at some tasks than others, right?
With that in mind, I’m going to build a bench and have no real work holding beyond the holdfasts, the crochet (maybe), a planing stop, and a doe’s foot.
The idea is that I can always install a vise later if I find the need (and I suspect I will).
I also have my eyes on making a Moxon vise to mount on the benchtop as needed. Who knows? That might be all the vise I need.
Or, I may find that I need all kinds of stuff instead. We’ll have to see.
So, as things stand, my thinking is that the bench may be a hybrid between the two Nicholsons. Mine will mostly look like the knockdown, but I’m leaning toward making at least one of the stretchers a mortise and tenon joint. This one would be hidden by the apron, which is good because I’m pretty sure it’ll be ugly as sin. I figure this will give me some experience with mortise and tenon joinery and make the workbench even sturdier.
Of course, there will probably be a good number of screws in it. I just don’t have the technical skill to build this with all the joinery like the non-knockdown version. I’d like to, but I just don’t have the skill. I don’t mind trying some sturdier joinery where no one can see it.
Also, this is Southern Yellow Pine. I’ve tried working with this stuff before. It well and truly sucks.
At this point, I don’t know anything for sure.
Hell, I think building the knockdown version might not be a bad idea just because I’m sure the wood I’ll get is pretty wet and the bench might need some adjustments, which are easier to do with a bolt-together setup.
So many decisions, so much information, and not enough money to try and build them all.