A Bench for My Uncle

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Blog series by Aaron McCain updated 07-06-2013 05:47 AM 6 parts 19321 reads 10 comments total

Part 1: Getting Started

07-22-2012 11:15 PM by Aaron McCain | 0 comments »

A few weeks ago my uncle visited me and my family to help me add lights and outlets on a new 20A circuit in the portion of my garage that I have claimed as my workshop. I bought all the materials and he provided the know-how and labor. I was all set to pay him for his services when he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He asked me to build him an outdoor bench and that he would pay for the materials. So I get to work in my shop and I don’t even have to pay for the wood. What...

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Part 2: The Back Legs

08-25-2012 06:12 AM by Aaron McCain | 0 comments »

After getting the parts laminated, the first step is to cut and form the rear legs of the bench. These have an 11 degree bend to support the back of the bench so the rear legs start out as a pretty big chunk of wood. I used masking tape so I could see the markings and also to minimize indenting the soft cedar. All the joinery is mortise and tenon. I have never cut a mortise or a tenon, so I was excited to try. Here is a photo getting ready to drill the first tenon. My counter top dril...

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Part 3: Completing the Sides

08-26-2012 06:32 AM by Aaron McCain | 1 comment »

Now that the legs are done, it is time to connect the front legs to the back legs. The first piece will support the seat and fits into the mortises that I previously cut into the legs. The tenons were a lot easier than the mortises and I just snuck up on them with a dado stack and then touched things up with a file until the fit was not too tight, but not too loose. I was happy when everything slid in nice and neat. Here is the first look of the two legs connected with the cross brace! ...

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Part 4: Making the Cross Beams

11-13-2012 05:52 AM by Aaron McCain | 1 comment »

I’ve decided to finish blogging about building my Uncle’s Bench. After finishing up the sides it was time to switch my focus to the cross beams. They probably have a different name that is more associated with furniture and woodworking (probably “stretcher”), but I’m going to stick with cross beams for now. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to jump right into cutting and shaping. As the lumber acclimatized in my garage, the 2×6s split right down the mi...

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Part 5: The Seat Back

12-08-2012 08:25 AM by Aaron McCain | 4 comments »

Once the rails were done, it was time to move onto building the back of the seat so that all of the components could be glued together. The design calls for tenons to be cut on each end of the back slats to fit into a groove cut into the top of the back bottom rail and the bottom of the back top rail. I didn’t get any pictures of that process. I used a table saw and it was more difficult that I expected. In the end I decided that I should have cut the groove before I shaped the top ...

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Part 6: Finished and Finished

07-06-2013 05:47 AM by Aaron McCain | 4 comments »

Once the bench was glued together and the bottom slats were cut to size, it was time to finish the bench. We knew that the bench would spend spring, summer, and fall in the Palouse hills in Eastern Washington and get some significant sun exposure. We expect that the bench will be brought in during the cold winter months. So after some research we decided to finish the bench with a few coats of a spar urethane that provides U/V protection. The reason are that it will weather nicely however...

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