First Bench - Nicholson

  • Advertise with us
Project by Woodwrestler posted 04-17-2014 10:56 PM 7278 views 9 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Finally finished ( well almost ) a Nicholson Bench. This is my first real bench. Learned quite a bit about hand tools. Flattening the top taught me to let the hand plane do the work you just need to move it in the right direction. Its interesting moving more towards hand tools. At first I seemed to want to fight them but after a while I started to get the hang of it.

Couple of deviations. I couldn’t stand all that empty space behind the front apron so I made my bench 27.5 inches deep and used the middle part to put in some tool storage. 5 Box containing, marking, measuring, and planes ( 3 block, rabbet skew, small plow, large shoulder, router ). These turned out to be very functional. Also poor a saw storage area on the back right side for Dovetails saws, and carcass saws, Will probably add a few as I move forward. Large shelf underneath for bench accessories I need to build yet ( i.e. Bench Hooks and Shooting Boards ). The more I move towards hand tools the more I like working with wood. Go figure.

SYP for the bench, except for some Walnut highlights here and there. Threw a couple of coats of Waterlox on it to just protect it a bit from stupid stuff I do constantly.

Used 3 Evans Wood Screws. Two for the face vise and one for the wagon vise. Face vise has 18.5” between the screws and 5 inches on either side. Wagon vise can easily hold a 2 X 12 with room to spare. I made some mistakes along the way but none proved fatal. Actually started out doing Schwarz’s design and changed midway ( Schwarz has an tendency to angle everything and I don’t think it really adds any functionality. Made me nuts ). Made for a few missing holes on the front apron but oh well. Sturdy, heavy, and very useable.

-- What man is a man who does not make the world a better place?

15 comments so far

View gsimon's profile


1320 posts in 2997 days

#1 posted 04-17-2014 11:07 PM

great looking bench!
you’ll always remember your first one :)

-- Greg Simon

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1409 posts in 2517 days

#2 posted 04-17-2014 11:30 PM


I also like working with hand tools. It just feels really satisfying being able to do it by hand.
I remember long ago, thinking I needed power tools to get accuracy, but that’s not true.

It should serve you well, both the bench and your new found hand tool skills…

Good luck with your new bench.

-- Jeff NJ

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 2501 days

#3 posted 04-17-2014 11:44 PM

Impressive bench and organization of your tools and shop.

View woodcox's profile


2386 posts in 2895 days

#4 posted 04-17-2014 11:46 PM

Nice work WW. I’ve always liked the large aprons on Nicholson’s. All the storage you put in is great to have frequent tools at hand.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1926 posts in 2853 days

#5 posted 04-18-2014 01:31 AM

Very Impressive! You must feel proud and rightly so

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3368 days

#6 posted 04-18-2014 02:11 AM

Great looking and capable. What’s not to love?

-- Brian Timmons -

View Bigtones's profile


19 posts in 2486 days

#7 posted 04-18-2014 05:05 AM

Great looking Bench and congrats on such a great first build. I’m hoping to tackle the same kind of project this coming spring/summer when I get my Garage complete. Keep up the great work!

-- Boilermaker By Trade, Woodworker By Love.

View stevo_wis's profile


128 posts in 3911 days

#8 posted 04-18-2014 06:08 AM

Nice job. I also have a nicholson and love it. I built mine before seeing Schwartz’s angled legs and I agree that they just complicate a simple design. I used a drawing from an old book showing Nicholsons plan. Also very clever to store tools under the top. I have been using mine without finish and need to get some on and then i will post.

-- Stevo



280 posts in 2887 days

#9 posted 04-18-2014 11:31 AM

Fantastic craftsmanship sir, man at first glance that beast looks super heavy, I thought it was solid 10” wide or whatever width those boards are.

This is another to-do project this spring or summer. I have a few questions about your build if your up for it.

View Woodwrestler's profile


56 posts in 3030 days

#10 posted 04-18-2014 11:33 AM

Feel free to ask away.

-- What man is a man who does not make the world a better place?

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2708 days

#11 posted 04-18-2014 11:45 AM

Wow an amazing bench, nice and solid and should last a lifetime of woodworking. Awesome job.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View DouginVa's profile


503 posts in 3156 days

#12 posted 04-18-2014 02:15 PM

I like the storage bins down the center. Most benches don’t have that and I think it’s a loss of useful storage space. An observation though; I bet the finger holes let in a lot of saw dust, wood chips, etc. in to those storage bins….which will require frequent cleaning. Have you thought about using a solid piece of wood and cut away a portion of the lid support beneath the lid near one end so all you have to do is push down on that end and it will pop up?

Just a thought.

Nice bench.

-- Just a man with his chisel.........

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3750 days

#13 posted 04-18-2014 02:46 PM

This is a great bench and will serve you well for a long time. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Woodwrestler's profile


56 posts in 3030 days

#14 posted 04-18-2014 11:46 PM

I had the same thought on the holes in the Storage Bin Tops. I will update after using the bench for six months and let you know my results. One thing to keep in mind is the storage bins come out. They are not fixed. They have a 1” holes on each end that I use to pop them out. That makes the cleaning simple. Also, it allows me to get at any tools that are hard to reach.

-- What man is a man who does not make the world a better place?

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4218 days

#15 posted 06-20-2014 05:14 PM

Looks like a wonderful bench and a great build too. I like your idea with the storage in the middle and also the large size.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics