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Blog series by coloradoclimber updated 07-31-2011 12:54 AM 9 parts 11305 reads 12 comments total

Part 1: Identifying a need

07-22-2011 04:23 PM by coloradoclimber | 3 comments »

I live in a house with 7 people, 5 of them teenagers and 3 of the females. We have a LOT of shoes in our home. We don’t wear shoes in the house so we always kick off our shoes right in the entryway as we come in the front door. The result is often a huge pile of mixed up shoes. Here is a picture of just some of the shoes. This is after I cleaned up most of the shoes after throwing a fit and after everyone has already left the house for the day, this is just the small remainder of sh...

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Part 2: Looking for solutions

07-23-2011 03:09 AM by coloradoclimber | 0 comments »

So now I know I want a shoe bench, the next step is to see what I can find. I like to make things but if it turns out I can find the perfect bench a dime a dozen that drops right in, I’m gonna buy it. And if I don’t find one for a dime, well at least I’ll get some ideas about what to make. The first place to look of course is the internet, a quick google search for shoe bench and shoebench turns up quite a few possibilities. Unfortunately most of them are too much money,...

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Part 3: Design Time

07-23-2011 06:30 AM by coloradoclimber | 1 comment »

My shoe bench is going to be the cubby style, flat on the top to sit, little cubbies all in a row to organize shoes. First things first it has to fit where I want it. I want to put the bench behind the entry door up against the wall, mostly where the shoes are piled now. Take some measurements to find the maximum dimensions that will fit. Around a foot deep and 60 – 62 inches long.How high do I want the seat. I want it to be comfortable, time to measure a few of my standard ...

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Part 4: Design Tweaks

07-24-2011 06:01 AM by coloradoclimber | 0 comments »

If you download and try to use the Sketchup design from the previous blog entry a couple of things changed in the final implementation. First I changed the dados to sliding dovetails and the through dovetails on the ends to half blind dovetails. One of the design constraints I self imposed was to use only wood on wood with glue to assemble the bench, no metal fasteners. I decided on dovetails for the ends, sliding dovetails for the dividers, and wedged through tenons to fix the shelves. ...

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Part 5: Prepping the stock

07-24-2011 08:36 PM by coloradoclimber | 3 comments »

I looked at various woods for the bench and ended up deciding on poplar, why, because it was relatively cheap, and I could get it in wide boards. I wanted to build the top of the bench as a single board. I sorted through the wide boards available and looked for one with some interesting figure. Here’s the one I finally settled on: I didn’t want to split the seat but my jointer is only 6 inches wide. Unfortunately the board with the best figure had the most cup. The c...

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Part 6: Joinery

07-26-2011 07:35 AM by coloradoclimber | 2 comments »

Ok, here comes the interesting part, not the hardest part, but the most interesting part. Getting all of the joints to line up and come together snug without a lot of slop was a bit of a trick. The bench has 22 sliding dovetails, two ends with half blind dovetails, and 8 through wedged tenons. They all have to line up pretty close or things wont come together square. I started with the half blind dovetails on the ends. This gave me the inside dimension from the base of the doveta...

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Part 7: Assembly

07-29-2011 05:39 AM by coloradoclimber | 0 comments »

If the fun part was the joinery, the miserable part was the assembly. The bench has 22 sliding dovetails, two 12 inch half blind dovetails, and 8 through mortises that all have to be glued, lined up, and slid together all before any clamps could be applied. This would have been a good time to have some long open time glue and a cool day. Instead I was using yellow PVA glue on one of hottest days we’ve had all summer. It was clear some of the glue was drying before I could get th...

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Part 8: Clean up and Finish prep

07-29-2011 06:05 AM by coloradoclimber | 2 comments »

Got the clamps off and now it’s time to clean up the glue joints and prep the surfaces for finish. First thing to do was remove the clamps, flip the bench on it’s side, and plane all of the joints even. After leveling the divider joints next came the ends. Bringing the half blind dovetails and through mortises level. After the the ends and sides were level and smooth I ran around all of the corners, exterior and interior, with a hand held router and an eighth...

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Part 9: Finish and Finished

07-31-2011 12:54 AM by coloradoclimber | 1 comment »

To finish the bench I used my favorite finish, a few coats of thinned tung oil followed by paste wax. I like an oil finish because I think it leaves the most natural feeling surface. It may not be the most durable but I like the look and the feel and it is pretty easy to renew. This bench shouldn’t be seeing harsh use, not like a table or desk top. I added a couple drawers for scarves or gloves, and I’ll probably end up with a row of coat hooks on the wall behind it, but it&...

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