LumberJocks

Spring Bench #1: Building a bench around an 1800's wagon spring

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Blog entry by Jim Jakosh posted 06-30-2018 03:26 PM 2789 reads 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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My friend Leon Kytle in Idaho Falls gave me this old spring from a wagon seat from the 1800’s and asked me to design a bench around it and give him the plans so he could build one too around the other spring. I drew it up in Arizona with the bend up and down and decided it looked better with it bent down. I made us templates of the spring curve and gave him a drawing of how I was going to make it. But when I got home he called and said he thought the spring should be wider for stability. I agreed and started a design as you go project.

I just found the early photos of the building of the bench and the original spring when it was 6” wide across the two springs with a forged offset piece connecting them.

I made this one 15” across the two springs and turned 2 – 7/8” steel pins to fasten them together and ran them through 2 wood blocks that would be the connector for whatever I dreamed up for the base. I stuck to the original overall dimensions I gave Leon ( 48” wide, 18” high seat, 17” deep seat, and 11” degree angle on the arms and back). LJ Splinterbubba ( Bruce Baum) came over during the seat design and said that it feels much better to sit on if there is a curve to the seat and it needs a drain in case water would sit on the seat. So I incorporated them into the seat design.

After hooking the springs together, I started on the top half and would make the base to fit the 18” seat height.
I made the frame bars 45” long with the curve for the spring and then added front to back stringers with the curve cut for the seat slats. I don’t have any photo of the seat being made before the base was designed, but it was sitting on those spring spacer blocks for quite a while .

After the seat slats were cut and fitted , I determined the height needed for the base and made base blocks to make it fit 18” high. I could have made a solid base across, but wanted the spring to be able to move with the load so I had to have an equalizer to tie the feet together but yet let them move as the spring is depressed. I turned this equalizer to slide back and forth and hold the feet together.

After the base pieces were done, I started on the arms and back boards. I bent up the center support from 1/4×1 1/2 steel to be 11 degrees off vertical. Then I made welded supports from the same steel for either side. I had to make wooden weld jig to hold them in place and centered.

The arms were cut to the the radius of the seat and at 11 degrees and the back angle was transferred from the back boards. The arms were mounted on the seat and the length and end angle of the back boards was transferred from the arms.

The bench is made from Chestnut that was given to us from DeKline orchards in Hudsonville and rough cut at the saw mill in 2014. I barely had enough to finish the bench. In fact, the top back board is laminated because the last board did not clean up at the thickness needed. All wood pieces are finished with Danish oil and Helmsman’s UV resistant gloss Polyurethane. All the fasteners are stainless steel. Here are some shots of the final build process:

I did not want water to soak up into the base if the porch had any standing water so I mounted 1/4” plastic plates on all the base pieces.


All of the back boards have 1/4” stainless steel dowels in them to hold the boards in line in case of warping.


Now I have my shop back and can relax for a while

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!



20 comments so far

View lew's profile

lew

12325 posts in 3903 days


#1 posted 06-30-2018 03:49 PM

Now that is awesome, Jim! Looks really comfortable, too!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View recycle1943's profile

recycle1943

2317 posts in 1769 days


#2 posted 06-30-2018 03:57 PM

That is TOO COOL ! What a beautiful piece of furniture

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View Tooch's profile

Tooch

1777 posts in 2023 days


#3 posted 06-30-2018 05:03 PM

Wow. I’ve read something in a magazine that holds true for this situation: “working on your metalworking skills will improve your woodworking skills, too.”

Great integration of both, Jim!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View splinterbubba's profile

splinterbubba

91 posts in 1027 days


#4 posted 06-30-2018 06:35 PM

This is one first class seat, fit for a king…
Very nice, curved seat and springs make it very comfy.
What a project wood work, metal work, machining work, engineering WOW !

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8540 posts in 3796 days


#5 posted 06-30-2018 06:48 PM

Beautiful work!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3530 posts in 2136 days


#6 posted 06-30-2018 08:04 PM

Very nice

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21314 posts in 3253 days


#7 posted 06-30-2018 09:19 PM

Thank you all for the nice comments. It took a while but I like the result.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View harry1's profile

harry1

526 posts in 2432 days


#8 posted 07-01-2018 04:49 AM

Jim, as you know, I don’t often remark on your work because I’ve long since run out of superlatives, adjectives etc. but this project demonstrates your amazing abilities in design, metal and wood work. You do inspire me.
The tutorial and first class photographs are the icing on the cake.

-- Harry, Western Australia

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21314 posts in 3253 days


#9 posted 07-01-2018 12:09 PM

Thanks, Harry.
Being a design as you go project, I dreamed about the next steps for a month so I could continue on the next day. Just from the planing of all this wood, I made and burned 60 gallons of wood chips. I try to keep the camera in the shop because I know I’ll never have a chance to capture that state again once it is assembled. Someone might benefit from it or use the technique in their project and I think that is the best part of Lumberjocks.

Cheers, my friend!..............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

7705 posts in 2190 days


#10 posted 07-01-2018 12:11 PM

I see you put a lot of skill and patience in building this Jim. Outstanding design process with the chestnut fitting the era.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21314 posts in 3253 days


#11 posted 07-01-2018 03:50 PM

Thanks, Dave. My wife likes it , that is all that matters so I can keep it…...........Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

24395 posts in 3998 days


#12 posted 07-01-2018 05:56 PM

Great blog on how you did it mate. I thought you were better looking than that. Just joking buddy.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21314 posts in 3253 days


#13 posted 07-02-2018 12:44 AM

Thanks, Tony!!

Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

542 posts in 1123 days


#14 posted 07-03-2018 06:44 PM

I agree with harry1 all your projects are amazing. Your a highly skilled craftsman Jim. I’m not sure if Leon will be able to match your work. I’m glad your going to keep it.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

5559 posts in 2556 days


#15 posted 07-04-2018 03:26 AM

Sweet looking build. Gonna be a one of a kind!!

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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