I’m teaching two classes in building the Knockdown Nicholson Workbench in 2015 (details on the locations to come) and needed to prepare a list of materials and tools for the students. Because I received an S+ in “Sharing” in kindergarten, I am also posting it here.
Ductile mounting plates for 3/8” x 16 threaded rod. You need 16. Available from McMaster-Carr.
High-strength steel cap screws, 3/8” x 16 thread. You need 16. Available from McMaster-Carr.
Plain steel 3/8” flat washers. You need at least 16. Buy a pack of 100 from McMaster-Carr.
Plain steel split lock washers, 3/8”. You need at least 16. Buy a pack of 100 from McMaster-Carr.
No. 10 x 1” slot-head screws (for attaching the mounting plates). You need at least 32. Buy a pack of 100 from McMaster-Carr.
No. 8 x 2-1/2” wood screws to assemble the ends. A box of 50 should be fine. Here’s a link to the square-drive ones from McMaster-Carr.
No. 8 x 1-1/4” wood screws for attaching the interior apron bracing. You’ll need about 20. You can also buy these from McMaster-Carr.
Wood For a 6’ or 8’ bench, I recommend you buy four 2x12s that are 16’ long. Buy yellow pine or douglas fir, whatever is available in your area. Buy the clearest, straightest stock in the pile. (And if there’s another 2×12 there that looks good, grab it too.) This will allow you some waste and to cut around knots, shakes, pitch and ugly. Note that this does not include the shelf – add a 2×12 x 16’ if you want a shelf. Yes, you will have leftover wood.
You will also need 1×10 material for the interior apron bracing. For a 6’ bench you can get one 1×10 x 8’. For an 8’-long bench, get two.
Tools You’ll need basic marking and measuring tools, plus screwdrivers, a handsaw, a cordless drill, chisels and a block plane. Here are some of the specialty tools that will make your life easier. Plus:
9/16” socket set to assemble and disassemble the bench.
One of the reasons I first became consumed by woodworking was the American Art & Crafts movement. Though I rarely build Arts & Crafts pieces anymore, I fell in love with the joinery and the oak about 1990 when a neighbor let me sit in his Morris chair.
I started collecting pieces, but there was only so much antique furniture you can buy on a $16,600 annual salary at a newspaper.
So I started building it.
The Arts & Crafts style was my gateway into the craft, and I’ll always be grateful for it opening the door into other furniture styles, especially Welsh chairs and the real early stuff I’m building now for “The Furniture of Necessity.” Some of these pieces remind me of looking under rocks at Wildcat Mountain Lake in Arkansas. If the creepy guys in the bathrooms didn’t get you, the copperheads might.
Like this aumbry I’m building this week. Some of it is so unfamiliar it’s just weird and difficult to see the pitfalls ahead. Like mortising into the edge of 12”-wide oak. That’s an odd feeling. And then discovering that the mortises graze the crease mouldings on the stiles. I didn’t see that coming.
Other stuff is just new territory for me. Cutting the crease moulding on the top rail felt weird – it was going to terminate abruptly on the stiles. Yet when the joints went together, the shop lights were off and it looked good – like a moulded apron between table legs.
Tomorrow I start the pierced carvings on the stiles. I’m not looking forward to doing it in dry oak, but that’s what I’ve got.
After reading Charles H. Hayward’s writings during his tenure as editor of The Woodworker, I think he was of two minds about furniture. While the magazine was filled with plans for up-to-date pieces that would look at home on the set of “Mad Men,” Hayward also took pains to educate readers about old work.
One of the ways he did this was by drawing pieces from the collection in the Victoria & Albert Museum, and all of those drawings will be featured in our upcoming book on The Woodworker magazine.
He also published one-page drawings that showed how a particular form of furniture – tables, beds, chairs – changed during the centuries.
Today we offer a free download of seven of these pages compiled in one pdf. You can download it using the link below.