Nicholson Workbench

  • Advertise with us
Project by David Bareford posted 05-18-2015 02:03 PM 11889 views 15 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I got into wookdworking about three years ago, and for the last two or so have become a dedicated hand tool user. I’ve been “making do” with a too-high garage counter and a Black and Decker Workmate for about two years now, and I’ve dreamed of a “real” bench but figured the materials alone were out of my budget (read: Craigslist free ads), to say nothing of the vise hardware I would need.

Then I ran across Mike Siemsen’s DVD on the Nicholson workbench build (available from Lost Art Press). Mike takes a 5-gallon bucket of old hand tools, shows how to tune them up, and then proceeds to build a great bench using only those tools. I took the plunge and ordered the digital download (which came with a Sketchup file, pdfs of different views, and even transcripts of the videos.

What a great video! Mike not only makes it look easy, he makes it easy. I built the bench in a weekend, spending less than $100 on materials, and his bench has enough ingenious features that I can do all my workholding without the need for a vise! How’s that for a deal?

Here are some photos of the process, starting from the lumber (mostly 4 2×12x10s) through the finished bench. With the addition of a pair of Gramercy holdfasts, this bench does everything I need it to and it is a joy to work on! Already started the first project on it…

11 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4205 days

#1 posted 05-18-2015 02:06 PM

This is a nice heavy workbench and will serve you well. It will be a great addition to your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View waho6o9's profile


9135 posts in 3916 days

#2 posted 05-18-2015 03:20 PM

That’s an awesome bench.

View Tim Royal 's profile

Tim Royal

327 posts in 2825 days

#3 posted 05-18-2015 03:37 PM

Excellent work, thanks for sharing your work and the story behind it!

-- -Tim Royal -"Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real." -Thomas Merton

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 5024 days

#4 posted 05-18-2015 03:46 PM

Nice looking bench

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3587 days

#5 posted 05-18-2015 08:26 PM

I built is bench back in December. I use it every day. I agree, Mike makes it really easy


View Ken90712's profile


18100 posts in 4527 days

#6 posted 05-18-2015 11:17 PM

Great looking bench, wish I had room for one of these beauty’s

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Mauricio's profile


7170 posts in 4490 days

#7 posted 05-19-2015 02:12 AM

Love it

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Mauricio's profile


7170 posts in 4490 days

#8 posted 05-19-2015 02:15 AM

No post on the tredel lathe?

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View David Bareford's profile

David Bareford

66 posts in 2946 days

#9 posted 05-19-2015 12:39 PM

I should do a treadle lathe post in the future. That is, if I can get the hardware bits of it working to my satisfaction…

View mervillehomesteader's profile


31 posts in 2936 days

#10 posted 05-19-2015 02:03 PM

Nice bench. The treadle lathe looks like a season 18 episode 6 of Roy Underhill. I have a bunch of 2×14 rough cut fir air drying as we speak. Waiting to do the exact same thing. I should look into that video, hand tool benches are a tough design.

Lets see a post on the lathe. Been mustering the courage to take the time to build one of those too.
Maybe you could inspire me.

-- Perfectly Imperfect. Thats my style!

View BenR's profile


341 posts in 3967 days

#11 posted 05-19-2015 06:46 PM

What! No roubo with $1000.00 worth of Benchcrafted hardware! Bet yours works just as well. Love it!

-- Ben in Va

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