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MY FIRST PIECE OF FURNITURE-THE BUTT BENCH STEPSTOOL

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Blog entry by DocSavage45 posted 02-18-2015 12:53 AM 3093 reads 0 times favorited 40 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I want to give credit to several people who have inspired me, challenged me, and gave me visual tutorials to correct my mistakes. Mark Hillard, Bob, The Grizzman, Andy Halewood aka Andyboy, Benji Reyes,and Peter aka Woodbridge, Charles Neil, Mark S The Wood Whisperer, and Marc Adams.

Mark Hillard presented me with an observation that” maybe I would rather work on my tools then build a furniture piece. First, I got angry, because he busted me out, and then we discussed building this piece with the two week timeline. Mark wanted me to build a simple table. I questioned what I would do with it when it was finished. I propose that I would build a functional piece, which would serve in two ways. The first being I needed a stepstool because I’m 5’8” and shrinking to work on my three-quarter ton pickup truck. It had to be sturdy enough to hold me and a piece of equipment. The second, being I’ve talked about having a bench in my shop/barn in order to sit down near to the ground while I feed and pet my shop kitties!

Due to my work as a psychologist with increased clientele at the moment I was unable to meet the two-week timeline. Other factors were Murphy messing with the piece. LOL! As well as numerous learning errors in the decision process as well as the building process.

I have some cutoffs from stringers that were used to build the stairway to the second floor of the barn. They have probably sat in my shop for about six years. They were very dry and slightly cupped. There was enough material for the project. I thought this was a good idea, but I was wrong.

The first picture my lunchbox planer that I used to mill down two by tens and eliminate the cup in the wood. While I was doing this the wood started delaminating, the hardwood separating from the soft. I should’ve stopped at this point but I had already run it through my jointer planer. This is an “Oh Dah!” moment.

The second picture is where I applied some of my book learning regarding design of furniture. I sketched several variations of the proposed “butt bench/stepstool”. I then presented the pictures to my wife and asked her to choose one. She chose the simplest design which is probably good for me, less opportunity for mistakes.

The third picture is my Harbor Freight jointer planer to which I recently added a dust collection port. I squared up to support arch for the bench.

The fourth picture is the parts that I cut with the band-saw based on the cardboard template that I laid out. Murphy must’ve been over my shoulder at the time because I made several mistakes as to the location of the tenons which need to be more accurate. This had to be corrected and adjusted for the error. I need to practice, Patience And Precision in this area.

The fifth picture and seventh picture are evidence of two more errors. I decided to use my drill press to remove the wood from the mortise in the leg, which proved difficult because we are supposed to do this before we cut the pattern. This is another step in learning.

The sixth picture is the results of the brittle dry wood meeting a too aggressive attempt at chiseling the mortise from one side. After screwing this up, I reviewed Marc Adams,video on through Mortise and Tenon joints which confirmed my mistakes. Did Better on the second piece!

The seventh picture is the result of my first use of a plunge router that I got out of the box after a year and a half. Took a little while to figure it out and I made some mistakes and I adjusted the plan. In addition, I used two fluted wooden dowels equally spaced on the support arch and secured with glue in the bench top.

The eighth picture shows my use of culls, glue and clamps because this brittle wood kept splitting while trying to tap and fit the mortise and tenons.

The ninth picture is where I sanded the wood in order to put a finish on it. It had warmed up that day and I figured being a little cold was better than cleaning up dust! LOL!

I want to thank Charles Neil for his advice. I’d asked Charles about putting an oil-based polyurethane finish over a waterborne polyurethane finish. Charles recommended continuing use of few more coats of waterborne polyurethane finish.

The tenth picture is the results of all my frustrations, persistence, and Murphy’s input.

In the Eleventh picture you can see the purpose and function with me and the kitties in the house.

Your Comments, Humor, and Advice Is Always Welcome!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher



40 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3043 days


#1 posted 02-18-2015 12:59 AM

Super blog Tom. It’s true we can spend years getting ready to get going.
Cool Bench,super build.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

5059 posts in 2613 days


#2 posted 02-18-2015 01:08 AM

Sometimes you just gotta jump in with both feet! Looks like your step stool / bench came out great—now it’s on to the next project!

-- Dean

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

7706 posts in 2308 days


#3 posted 02-18-2015 01:10 AM

Jim,

Thanks for your input and advice on prior projects! Lots of glue! LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

7706 posts in 2308 days


#4 posted 02-18-2015 01:10 AM

Dean,

Now I got something to stand on? LOL! Thanks!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View longgone's profile

longgone

5688 posts in 2774 days


#5 posted 02-18-2015 01:55 AM

hey Tom, that came out really nice despite a setback or two. There is something good to be said about just standing out in the snow and sanding. The mortise and tenons are quite an accomplishment for a first furniture project…and one you will definitely keep and use a lot.
Regardless of how much experience and practice any of us have there are mistakes and errors to be made…keeps a reality check on us.
Got a next project planned yet?

View PhilBello's profile

PhilBello

390 posts in 1433 days


#6 posted 02-18-2015 01:56 AM

Nice bench Tom, and great that it is being put to good use, I hate making things that then never get used!

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

7706 posts in 2308 days


#7 posted 02-18-2015 02:05 AM

Greg,

Thanks. I have two in mind one is a box for my friend Mark. The other is a rocking horse for my new nephew! Thats where I will learn my power carving skills? LOL! The mortise and tenon was a personal challenge. Next ones should be an improvement. LOL!

Won’t sand in below zero temps!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

7706 posts in 2308 days


#8 posted 02-18-2015 02:06 AM

Phil,

Thanks! It should come in handy as I continue to loose flexibility? LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View andyboy's profile

andyboy

559 posts in 2739 days


#9 posted 02-18-2015 02:41 AM

Yee ha. Finally in your happy place!!. Cool bench. Heaps of challenges. Good on you Tom. Looks a bit chilly there.

-- Andy Halewoodworker. You can't finish if you don't finish. So finish it, because finish is everything.

View NormG's profile

NormG

5507 posts in 2469 days


#10 posted 02-18-2015 03:17 AM

Darn psychologist, always looking at alternatives to get past an issue. Well, you did a great job on this, you learned from the set backs and have learned a few things along the way.

Great bench by the way, very sturdy, love the mortise work

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7798 posts in 2769 days


#11 posted 02-18-2015 03:25 AM

you want my comment, gee whiz tom, you didnt even ask the grizzman one question as to how i could help you, gee i feel so left out, one of the old timers left out..i understand,,,,i’ve got a bad back now so ive been put out to pasture….lol.i think it looks great, very nice joinery i’m very proud how this is really your first piece built from scratch….you’re on your way now…well i won’t have to worry about being overused ….enjoy making new things now, i guess i will have to make something now, so people won’t think i’ve gone on and retired…LOL…goodnight tom, i can see that smile from here…..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7798 posts in 2769 days


#12 posted 02-18-2015 03:29 AM

one question i have is why you didn’t use keyed mortises, it would be a cool look with a contrasting wood, like some walnut,,,maybe next time

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

7706 posts in 2308 days


#13 posted 02-18-2015 03:54 AM

Andy,

Thank for checking in! one down! LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

7706 posts in 2308 days


#14 posted 02-18-2015 03:56 AM

Norm,

Guess I have to give Murphy some credit too? LOL! Thanks!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

7706 posts in 2308 days


#15 posted 02-18-2015 03:58 AM

Bob,

Hey Grizz, you are one of the inspiring people. It’s made from shop leftovers? A prototype

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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