Thanks to the many people who helped cut parts for and knock together this wee Nicholson bench at our last open house, by the end of the day on March 26 there wasn’t much left for Chris and me to do to get it ready for the opening of the Cincinnati Museum Center’s “Made in Cincinnati.”
Our volunteers (again, thank you!) cut the angles on the front and back aprons, nailed the bench together and drilled all the holdfast holes. All that remained was to install a planing stop, and make and attach a crochet.
Today (yes, two months later), I did one of those things; tomorrow (or maybe Monday), I’ll make the crochet. When Chris returns from his Great Plains adventure (he’s in Omaha right now to fulfill a teaching promise made long ago), we’ll decide how we want to install that. (I’m leaning toward nails, because I don’t know where to find appropriate bolts – ones that were made in the first half of the 19th century, or at least look as if they were.)
“Made in Cincinnati,” scheduled to open July 1, includes a “made by hand section” – an educational display about important 19th-century Cincinnati craftsman, one of whom was Henry Boyd. Boyd was a formerly enslaved person who bought his freedom, and later owned a furniture making business in downtown Cincinnati. On exhibit will be one of his “swelled railed bedsteads” and a re-creation of his shop space, which is where this Nicholson-style workbench will end up. (Also, we have been working on a book on Boyd for the last couple years – we’ll be able to tell you more about that in autumn).
The only annoying thing about installing the planing stop was that because I decided to put it in line with the holes in the top (though one doesn’t need to), I had to chop right through a large, sticky sap pocket, so the shoulder isn’t a clean as I would like…and my chisel is a lot less clean than I would like (or at least it was – paint thinner and my woobie have taken care of it). After laying out the mortise location on the top and bottom, I drilled out most of the waste, then used a 2″ chisel to pare back to my layout lines, working in from both sides. (Thank you to Katherine the Wax Princess for helping me to flip it over…and to Archimedes for teaching me how to flip it back.)
So now, it’s down to the crochet – but no hurry; this isn’t getting picked up until June. (What? That’s only 11 days away?!)