Lost Art Press, Process Improvement, Workbench, Workshop
Comments 25

New Workbench: Option Two

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.

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 woodworking plan available for purchase.

Some glamour shots of my somewhat modified design. Click the images to enlarge…

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.


    • Thanks David! Good to hear from you. The design is mostly historic in nature, but I like color in my workshop, and presently I am digging how that blue looks.

    • wilburton says

      Having just finished building a new workbench, I can say it was one of the most enjoyable projects I have built in a long time. I am betting you will have the same experience.

      Are you going to attend Woodworking in America this September in Winston-Salem, NC? One of the attractions of the event will be a behind-the-scenes look at the Moravian community of Old Salem. I understand that several Moravian workbenches will be on display — and they are not usually available to the public.

      • I would very much like to go, but finances are such that it is not in the budget. But you have me thinking…

    • Dyami, most likely I will. I have also looked at an earlier workbench by Glen Huey which I like and I’ll at least make a SketchUp model of it. Thanks for the comment. πŸ™‚

  1. Nice Model, I need a lesson from you in Sketch-Up! I do like the leg vise and the dog holes in the apron on the original design. That said the apron does seem to big and ugly. I think I may change the bench I have to have a drawer set up like the one you have modeled but with a smaller apron on the front. My bench was made with doors, where your drawers are, that will get your fingers when you close them. You got me thinking Jeff,Thanks!

  2. Add a sliding deadman and it’s the bee’s knees. Of course, doing so would require setting the drawer cabinet in a bit, but methinks it would be worth it. Or you could use the drawers themselves to support long work pieces on edge.

    I do love the angled legs on this and on the first Nicholson bench that The Schwarz built. The angles just scream “SOMETHING IS HAPPENING HERE!” to me.

    • BikerDad, I had not thought about using the drawers to support work, but it is a great idea. I did think to use a bench jack when necessary, which should work fine and allow me more freedom to position the storage cabinet. But using the drawers seems to me an even better idea.

  3. swanz says

    I want to build one of these as my 1st real bench. I was 1st thinking roubo but this seems more economical and flexible. Build dvd coming out soon I’m getting it.

  4. Ron Walker says

    Are the plans still available, I can’t find the 45 pages.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s