A Twin-Screw Nicholson Bench Prototype

I’ve been invited by a group of woodworker’s in northwest Arkansas to teach a week-long workshop in traditional hand-tool woodworking this summer, and the starting point for the week’s exercises is the most important tool: the workbench.  Each participant will build themselves a 6-foot workbench that will not only be the work platform for the week but will serve them as a heritage tool for generations to come.  The sensible choice for the form of the workbench is the English Nicholson bench, given not only the time demands but the fact that I think so very highly of the form, its ease of construction, and superb performance.  I have made no secret of my preference for the Nicholson if I was a beginning woodworker and could make and have only one bench for the rest of my days.  It’s a moot point for me personally as I have lots of space and the means to build whatever (and how many) workbenches I want, but for either a beginner or someone with time and resource constraints, I think this is the path to follow.

If I recall correctly Mike Siemsen shows building a Nicholson with a panel saw, brace and two five-gallon buckets, but I had my circular saw and power drill as the primary tools and used my butterfly sawhorse as the construction platform.  I was able to build the basic bench before lunch time, and another half day tuning it up to full functionality.

You can follow along as I unfold the project step-by-step in the coming posts.