Earlier this year, I began contemplating the design for a new workbench. The first blog post in what will be a series on my new workbench design, explored the Nicholson workbench (see an example Nicholson here). Since then, the Nicholson bench has become more commonplace on the internet. It appears to be the next trendy workbench design. Something that will likely advance the popularity of the Nicholson workbench is the forthcoming DVD from Lost Art Press which will document the construction of a Nicholson bench using a basic tool set and common lumber. The idea is to build a quality bench based on a historic design and do it on a budget. Mike Siemsen will procure the tools and lumber, then build the bench. I can’t wait to buy the DVD.
So, I still have an interest in the Nicholson design; historic, relatively easy to build and can be created using common home center material. What’s not to like? For one, I don’t like the large aprons attached to each side of the top. And, except for a lower shelf, storage for tools and other items is minimal. Plus the Nicholson bench is a large workbench. A large bench in a small shop is a problem.
ENTER THE MORAVIAN BENCH
While searching images of the Nicholson bench, I ran across a workbench design called the Moravian workbench. The images were from a blog entry at Lost Art Press and the design immediately sparked my interest.
Even better, the man behind the Moravian workbench featured in the LAP blog post, Will Myers, has a downloadable woodworking plan available free at his website (the plan is extensive – 45 pages in length).
Some glamour shots of my somewhat modified design. Click the images to enlarge…
WHY I LIKE THIS DESIGN
This bench is just about perfect for me: based on a historic design, just over six feet in length, built from easily sourced materials, and the bench can be easily disassembled.
My design substitutes a quick release front bench vise – the Will Myers version featured a large leg style vise which I like, but they stick out way too far from the front of the workbench. I am concerned in my small shop, this will be a problem (the compact area in front of my workbench is a main walkway from our cars to the stairs). I would add a Veritas inset vise because they are effective and super easy to install.
The blue and birdseye maple cabinet is simply my first shot at a design for storage – closed storage space is a critical need for me. There are nine drawers front and back for a total of eighteen. The design for this removable cabinet is modern in feel, which I think is a nice alternative to the old school bench design. Best of all there is shelf space between the cabinet and the bench top where I could place hand planes and other items I want close at hand. Oh, and the cabinet loaded with tools and such would add plenty of weight to the workbench; important for hand tool work.
So, there you have it. Right now the Moravian workbench is the leading candidate for my new workbench. Building it is still some time off. I have two other projects on the schedule before I build a new bench.