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My First Bench #1: Sketchup Plans

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Blog entry by Joe0907 posted 04-03-2012 02:02 AM 3859 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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While I was originally planning on making a table saw cabinet for my first big project, I decided to try something a bit less involved to break in my new workshop – a bench for my front porch. I won’t be able to start right away, because I still need some items for my shop before I get started (the arbor washer for my table saw, a scroll saw, and a drill press, all of which are at my father’s house). But I really enjoy planning projects, so I dove right in with that.

I looked through all the benches on LJ (yes, all 120 pages) and found lots of beautiful pieces, but not many that were both in my style and at my skill level. However, there were aspects of 3 benches that I thought I could emulate a bit in my own design. The projects I borrowed ideas from were:

Today was my first day using SketchUp, so it took me forever to get this final drawing. I found some very helpful videos on YouTube, which were the only reason I made significant progress. Here’s what I came up with:

The bench will be 6’ long, 17.25” deep, and 18” tall. I’m planning on using 1×4 pine, since my budget is pretty tight for the project. I’ll also use 3/4” dowels to join everything (probably oak? I’m not sure if they’re frequently made with other woods). The dowels will extend 1/4” beyond the face of the wood everywhere they’re used, in order to accentuate the joinery. I was also thinking of staining them darker than the 1×4’s.

What do you all think of the plans? What should I change to improve stability or design? What should I use to seal the wood? It will be on a covered porch, but I still need to protect it from rain (and the occasional spilled beer).

Hopefully, I’ll be able to start working on it in 2 or 3 weeks. I’ll update here as I make progress.

-- Joe



6 comments so far

View MrHart's profile

MrHart

41 posts in 936 days


#1 posted 04-03-2012 03:39 AM

I like the design sir. Whats your plan for drilling? Make a pattern or drill together? Are your dowels continuous?
Sorry just thinking outloud.
I like it and yes I think dark dowels would be a cool accent.

-- MrHart

View Joe0907's profile

Joe0907

24 posts in 902 days


#2 posted 04-03-2012 04:14 AM

Thanks, MrHart. The dowels are continuous; I suppose they’d have to be, or else the whole thing would fall apart (especially with me sitting on it). I was planning on just setting up stops for drilling the holes with a drill press. The first holes from either end are 6” in, the next ones in are 6” from that, and the rest are 12” apart. I guess if I just flip the board over after each hole is drilled and use the same stop for its opposite end, it’ll at least be symmetrical.

Once I have the drill press, I’ll see how deep it can go. I haven’t seen it yet, but I doubt I’d be able to get through more than a few board at a time (considering that a longer drill bit means there’s less space below it to stack the boards). But I’ll wait and see!

-- Joe

View Tootles's profile

Tootles

704 posts in 1154 days


#3 posted 04-03-2012 10:32 AM

You did well with the Sketchup – and it’s a very nice design.

I do think you will need some spacers, through which the Dowels will most likely need to pass, at the bottom of the legs. They need to be as thick as the wood from which the top pieces are made.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4138 posts in 1604 days


#4 posted 04-03-2012 03:26 PM

Great design! Can’t wait to see your bench listed under the “projects” tab once it’s all done. :-)

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Joe0907's profile

Joe0907

24 posts in 902 days


#5 posted 04-03-2012 04:53 PM

Thanks, Tootles. Spacers are a good idea. They’ll stiffen up the support considerably. I guess I can just cut some 2”x2”x3/4” squares and drill holes in the middle. That should do the trick.

Brandon, I can’t wait to be able to post it there! Thanks for the compliment.

-- Joe

View Tootles's profile

Tootles

704 posts in 1154 days


#6 posted 04-04-2012 06:44 AM

Squares perhaps, or possibly circles (cut with a hole saw then enlarge the centre hole). But what I did think would look good are trapezoids where the sides are cut at an angle to match the legs. That way you are not introducing any new angles and so they should blend into the bottom of the legs better. Something like this …

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

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