Japanese Garden Bench #3: Dry Fit the Bench: Mortise Results

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Blog entry by newTim posted 02-01-2009 09:23 PM 16519 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Pal-ing Around Part 3 of Japanese Garden Bench series Part 4: Back Splats: More Mortise Pal »

I downloaded the plans for this project from Fine Woodworking and purchased the full-size templates, although I see now that wasn’t necessary. All in all, I think this is a pretty cool and fun project. With the right tools – and isn’t that always the case – it is pretty easy. I’d say maybe intermediate. I was looking for a deck or garden bench design and this really popped off the page. Since I’m pretty tall and have pretty far to fall I don’t like low benches, so I raised the seat to about 20”. So far in this project I have advanced my knowledge of angles and mortises… lots of mortises. All the joints are perfectly aligned and I’m looking forward to building the backrest.

Click to enlarge photo.

-- tim hill

6 comments so far

View UVA's profile


16 posts in 3375 days

#1 posted 02-01-2009 10:20 PM

Very nice design and nice work! Will you draw bore the mortise and tenon joints? With large joints like this, draw boring will really help to tighten the joints and keep them tight even if the glue loosens up over time. I did this using 3/8” oak dowels on the base of a Holtzapffel work bench and I was really impressed with the result. Chis Schwarz has a nice writeup on draw boring in Woodworking Magazine.

View newTim's profile


607 posts in 3573 days

#2 posted 02-01-2009 10:36 PM

UVA, Thanks… not my design. Got it from FW. I tried to find the article on draw boring but could not. Do you have a link?

-- tim hill

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4054 days

#3 posted 03-08-2009 11:25 PM

I like the yellow project wood sorter/holder.
When mine is not being used for something like that my friends refer to it as “stadium seating”

I really like your Japanese bench. I think it is a good alternative to the European Garden bench. I spent a good amount of time in the Far East and enjoy the style.

Reading your blog backwards so I haven’t found out about the mortise pal


-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View newTim's profile


607 posts in 3573 days

#4 posted 03-09-2009 06:01 PM

Thanks all… Sawdust 2, the yellow rack is actually a small scaffold I got a few years back from Home Depot for another purpose. I works well as a lumber/project rack. It is easy to roll and has four locking wheels. I folds up and stores easily so I can keep it out of my garage/shop.

-- tim hill

View newTim's profile


607 posts in 3573 days

#5 posted 03-09-2009 06:02 PM

Sawdust2, re the Mortise Pal. You can also see the review I posted on LJs. It really works great.

-- tim hill

View bvdon's profile


482 posts in 2981 days

#6 posted 01-11-2011 08:49 AM

Nice job! Check my projects—recently completed a Japanese Timber Bench.

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