Nicholsons Off to a Good Start


Yesterday was a blast. Mike and I met Robell yesterday morning at the shop and after visiting over coffee, we discussed the chicken scratch and doodles we called “plans” and pawed through the rough lumber we’d set aside for this project. The benches are designed around the material I had stacked and stickered in my yard so it took Mike and I a bit the other day to choose just the right pieces.

Mike and Robell cut the legs to length while I ripped out and planed the stretcher stock. We then planed the best face and two sides of the 4x6 legs and choose the orientation and position of the legs that looked best while avoiding placing mortises on knots. Because the tenons are 1” thick, we bored the waste with auger bits to final depth and then cleaned up the walls with chisels. Most of the mortising went smooth with the exception of a few surprise pin knots and a broken off screw inside one of Mike’s mortises. That’s the downside of using reclaimed lumber. He put a nice chip in his edge and then spent at least 15 minutes digging to pry the screw out out. Not the end of the world but definitely a nuisance.


We had two guys chopping mortises while the other cut the tenons on the stretchers. We all took turns at each task in order to keep it fresh. That is usually a risky idea because it’s easy to mix things up with all that changing around but we made it through without any mistakes.


Before Mike headed home, we were fitting the tenons into the mortises. I got one pair of legs fit before Robell and I called it quits for the day. The first day of a build is always a bit slow because of all the planning that needs to happen. Once things are in motion, though, it’s all smooth sailing. Today we’ll cut bridle joints at the top of the legs and glue and drawbore the leg units. Then we’ll look at fitting the side and top boards. At that point they’ll start to looking like workbenches!


Because they’re going to be built-ins, we aren’t going to do final assembly on these now. This means the pressure is off as we don’t have any specific goal for today. All the final assembly and fitting will happen later when they’re installed in the new shop. These two days with Robell are just about getting a really good head start on the project. After showing up this morning at the shop, everyone is enthusiastic and ready to go. It looks like it’s going to be another awesome day.


- Joshua


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