Announcing our January 2011 Workbench of the Month

Adding our January 2011 Workbench of the Month from Jim C. of Excelsior, Minnesota to our Lake Erie Toolworks Blog for ease of access and historical awareness.

Lake Erie Toolworks, Face Vise, Nicholson Workbench, Wood Vise

Lake Erie Toolworks, Face Vise, Nicholson Workbench, Wood Vise

Lake Erie Toolworks, Face Vise, Nicholson Workbench, Wood Vise

Hey Nick, I attached a few photos showing your awesome screw installed in the finished Nicholson workbench. Feel free to use these photos on your site if you want to. The vise cheek is 25″ x 12″ x 2″, with over a foot between screw and guide bar. The movement is extremely smooth with absolutely no racking. The action is beautiful and I’m very pleased with it.

The bench is a reproduction of Peter Nicholson’s joiner’s bench, as described briefly in “The Mechanic’s Companion”. The length is 9 feet, which is long enough to plane moldings for large case pieces. The benchtop is 29″ from the floor. I used 2×12 and 2×6 construction lumber and built it entirely with hand tools in two weekends. The vise chop is a chunk of 8/4 poplar, as is the planing stop and vise guide bar. There is 12.25″ between the screw and guide, so I can get a
pretty good-sized drawer in there. I would guess the bench weighs around 275-300 lbs, but due to Nicholson’s clever design which uses the front and rear aprons as structural components, the bench is much stiffer than you would expect. I’m a big 300 lb guy, and I can’t rack the bench with all my might. It’s heavy enough not to move when I push it. There is no finish, except for paraffin wax on the screw threads and vise guide.

I think a metal screw would have looked totally silly on a bench like this, and I couldn’t get my mind around that. Maybe there’s no practical reason to work with antique tools in an entirely hand-tool shop, but some of the best things in life are impractical. There is a certain meditative aesthetic to the old ways, and the Lake Erie Toolworks wooden screw completes the picture brilliantly.

I’m really pleased with the screw kit I got from Lake Erie Toolworks and I’ve told quite a few people about it. Thanks for the great product!

Jim C. , Excelsior, Minnesota

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