Japanese Garden Bench #1: Milling the Lumber

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Nelsjenn posted 08-04-2014 02:43 AM 1505 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Japanese Garden Bench series no next part

Hi Fellow Woodworkers!

Ny name is Nelson, and I live in Arcata, California. I’m building a Japanese style garden bench and I can not believe that I having an issue already! Help! (LOL) I’m in the process of selecting lumber. I have narrow it down to Iroko or Jotoba, both good substitutes for teak. My woodworking cultist requires 2-1/2” thick boards to make the legs. Moreover, the back legs require boards with a width of 5-1/4” to make the back legs. I have been shopping around for 2-1/2” thick boards and it’s impossible to find. I have been asking the lumber suppliers if they can offer 12/4” thick lumber. I have tried local mill yards, as well as online lumber supplier and I haven’t had any luck yet. I sort of want to make this bench from solid wood….
If this 12/4” thick lumber is not possible, then i can build the thickness by gluing together 4/4” or 6/4” or 8/4” boards and try to match the wood grain. I can also laminate Jotoba or Iroko wood (1/4”thick) onto poplar wood to make the required wood pieces and hide the seams. Are these the only two options that I have?
Does anyone have a resource/supplier that can supply me the right lumber thickness so I can make this bench without building the required thickness from thinner boards?

Any suggestions would be appriciated. Thanks for the support.

Regards, Nelson.

-- Nelson Lee, California

2 comments so far

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

916 posts in 1729 days

#1 posted 08-04-2014 08:10 AM

I would opt for the Iroko. I have a picnic table made from Iroko nearly 40 years ago that is still looking good in the garden. It has moved house 3 times with us altogether. Even if you laminate some thinner stuff to achieve your desired thickness, careful preparation should minimise any “construction: lines. Good luck.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 1048 days

#2 posted 08-04-2014 08:32 AM

Depending on where your shop is and what kind of respiratory protection/dust collection you have I would be somewhat careful with Iroko.

I made my kitchen countertop from a 8/4 slab of Iroko and I love it, it is very resilient. BUT it is hyper irritable. Without a proper dust mask you will be coughing like crazy, it is a damn near guarantee. Even after a few swipes with a sanding pad without a mask you will get a cough attack.

I would try to do as little sanding as possible and go with handplanes+scrapers whenever possible, then it should be fine. And if you do sand, try to do it outside.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics