I was caught of guard this week when I realized that Father’s day is next Sunday and I had just picked up the wood on Tuesday for an antique reproduction garden bench that I am building for my father. My parents have an old park bench sitting out front of their house that my pop sits on every morning waiting for the paper boy to show up. Well I have repaired the slats that routed on it once all ready and when they told me that it needed a couple more this year I decide that it was time to replace it. I bought a book about ten years ago that had the plans for a reproduction of a garden bench purchased in VT by an antique dealer in it. I have always wanted to build it but never really had a reason too until now. My pop has always been there for me when I needed him, he is my biggest fan and supporter of my starting my own furniture business and so, if anyone deserves me to build them something it would be my dad. So, two weeks ago I had did some research here on LJ to see what folks thought about red elm because when I called my sawyer to order wood he recommended it for rot resistance and it seems that it hasn’t really been that popular of a wood here on LJ. Most of what I could find from people who had worked with it found it to be unstable. I took that knowledge with me and decided to try it anyway. My sawyer assures me that I will be happy with it and that it has been kiln dried to 6% moister content and won’t move any more than any other wood will. Here I go to the shop. I cut all the parts to size on Thursday and yesterday I squared and planned everything to an oversized dimension. I have so far that the wood is light like pine, works like walnut, looks a lot like mahogany, and the rough edge on some boards was stringy like hickory. I can tell you that you the narrow boards 6” of less of about 4/4 thickness were curved. That wasn’t a problem for this project because I needed several boards that were 3” and 4” wide for rails so I snapped a chalk line and cut them on the band saw before joining them. This produced boards with really spectacular straight grain. I’m not going to give you a report on stain because it’s going to be finished with only multiple coats of spar varnish as it will be sitting outside about eight months of the year. The big task today is to glue up the seat to width because it is 14.5” wide. I could have purchased a board that width at the mill but was scared off by being told it was an unstable wood, instead choosing to glue up five narrow boards instead.
Tom gets back from Florida with his grandparents today so he and I will be spending a couple hours a day at the pool starting on Monday. I will have to manage my shop time closely to get this gift done on time. Please check back for updates and pictures this week. Cheers
-- Head to the shop its calling you – Todd