Nicholson Prototype Construction I

The general approach to constructing a Nicholson Bench, an essentially “stick built” structure, is to assemble the legs into two end units and attach the aprons and top to them.  This time I tried something a little different just to see how it worked.  I assembled the legs to the aprons first, then added the end aprons to tie the four legs together.  I found the approach neither more or less beneficial than the other.

As with any other project the first task is to start with a pile of lumber and make bigger pieces into smaller pieces.  It was first thing in the morning so I was not up to full steam, and it took me about 45 minutes to get done.  I chopped them to length with my circular saw and a framing square, and ripped the narrower pieces with the table saw.  I ripped the boards in half, then ripped the factory edge to make sure everything was not only the same width but had a clean, sharp edge.

This project gave me the perfect opportunity to pull out my “butterfly sawhorse” as my assembly platform.  I laid out the legs on the inner side of the aprons so that they were located such that the cross batten for the top (its location was determined by the top of the leg itself, the center picture is a close-up of the arrangement) was going to fall approx. 1/8″ below the rounded factory edge of the 2×12 apron, so that I could easily plane that edge square once the unit was up on its feet.

I used a drill driver for the decking screws that hold the unit together (the ultimate location for the bench did not mandate the use of period fastners) and with the front and back sections completed I was able to affix the end aprons for a complete outer frame of the bench in about 30 minutes.  So, it went up on its feet for the first of several “up/downs” that were planned for the construction.

If you are counting, that means I went from pile of lumber to up on its feet in about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Up next  – the front apron backer, rear nailer strip, and the cross battens for the top.