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Knockdown Nicholson with a Split Top

Daniel Armenta
Wed, 17 Aug 2016 00:01:29 GMT

I'm getting things together to build Chris' Knockdown Nicholson bench. I'd like to do it pretty much exactly to the plans except for one change. I'd like to be able to have a split top with a batten like Mike Siemsen's here: http://schoolofwood.com/node/27. Having that batten seems like it would make the bench exponentially more useful especially since I won't be adding a vise. I'm wondering if it can be done with this knockdown design. Most Nicholson benches are designed with transverse bearers under the top to make the top stiffer. This design makes it easier to have a two part top. With the Knockdown design, there are no transverse bearers rather the top is double the thickness to provide stiffness. It seems with this design, you can't have a split top. I hope this makes sense. Can anyone think of a way to have a split top with this design. The only thing I came up with was to have the top be two pieces and just leave a gap in between. I think this would make the top very weak though without the transverse bearers. Any thoughts?

Paul Sidener
Wed, 17 Aug 2016 02:10:25 GMT

Is there some reason you need the split top or knockdown version? If all you want is a batten for a planing stop, there other ways to do that. One way is a batten and holdfast, like in the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNrof3cd1cA Another way is a planing stop. All you need is dog holes. you can make your own or buy them from Lee Valley. http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=69837&cat=1,41637 I made the knockdown bench and I use both ways. I prefer the holdfast and batten, like in the video.

Daniel Armenta
Wed, 17 Aug 2016 05:25:20 GMT

Those are good suggestions. I was mostly thinking that the way Mike Siemsen uses the long batten that slips inside the gap on the split top looks pretty useful. Especially for planing across the benchtop when traversing a board etc. The planing stops from Lee Valley seem to accomplish the same thing. I may make something like that that can slip into some dog holes. Thanks!

Adam Wilson
Wed, 17 Aug 2016 07:07:01 GMT

You can do that with a top of any thickness, just add register pins which span from one board to the other. If they are all the same length and longer than the combined depth of each pair of holes, it'll give you a split top without having to use bearers. They'll need to be longish and you'll need to have a few, as they'll be subject to shear loading from the weight of the top and its imposed load. 1" riven White Oak pegs without a huge gap between the two top parts would be a possibility. For an idea....... [IMG_1931](//muut.com/u/lostartpress/s3/:lostartpress:3bEM:img_1931.jpg.jpg)

Daniel Armenta
Wed, 17 Aug 2016 13:28:29 GMT

Another great suggestion. This would actually give me a split top. Thank you!