Walnut Bench

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Project by Douglas posted 04-01-2015 09:53 PM 3204 views 32 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few months ago, I built this simple bench from walnut. The design was adapted from one in the H. H. Windsor “Mission Furniture: How To Make It” series, published in 1909 (PDF and eBook downloadable for free from at Project Gutenberg). I’d had this book for a while, and while most of the designs are a little clunky, they’re charming. This piece, particularly the odd cut-out shape at the base of the legs, seemed intriguing to me. It has that medieval-meets-modern feel of the early English Arts and Crafts movement. I also wanted to make something with wedged tenons/tusk tenons, something I hadn’t done before. I was wary about removing too much material on the stretcher where the wedge applies pressure. I suppose I’ll get braver in the future and make those a little thinner. This was a very straight ahead build, and didn’t take very long. It is finished with Arm-R-Seal urethane + oil blend. It’s worked out well this past winter as the “sit down and take your boots off” bench by the front door.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

14 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


4825 posts in 2235 days

#1 posted 04-01-2015 10:01 PM

Very clean with nice details. Looks strong too. Those tusk tenons add a lot of work, but they sure look good when they are done.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Adam's profile


5 posts in 579 days

#2 posted 04-01-2015 10:55 PM

Awesome bench. Cool and unique design with great build quality.

-- Adam in Wisconsin

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 1293 days

#3 posted 04-01-2015 11:21 PM

Great joinery and grain!

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View Mean_Dean's profile


4943 posts in 2569 days

#4 posted 04-01-2015 11:55 PM

Great looking bench—I’m sure you’ll get a lot of enjoyable use from it!

-- Dean

View DHS's profile


120 posts in 2646 days

#5 posted 04-02-2015 02:30 AM

Lotsa curves! Interesting design. Nice use of grain.

-- Dave S., Bellingham, WA

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

550 posts in 2420 days

#6 posted 04-02-2015 03:21 AM

You did a great job with matching the grain. Nice job.


View BigMig's profile


380 posts in 2035 days

#7 posted 04-02-2015 01:06 PM

Beautiful work, Douglas. I especially like the cutout at the bottom of the legs…unusual and interesting.
Thanks for positing a great project; you should be very proud.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View gfadvm's profile


14929 posts in 2112 days

#8 posted 04-02-2015 02:32 PM

Beautiful bench, beautiful wood, and awesome joinery!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View david38's profile


2391 posts in 1765 days

#9 posted 04-02-2015 03:24 PM

looks great

View Jeff_in_LSMO's profile


329 posts in 1762 days

#10 posted 04-02-2015 04:05 PM

veery nice.. silky

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1773 days

#11 posted 04-02-2015 05:11 PM

Lovely work, piano bench plans originally from Popular Mechanics 1912. I’m really liking the walnut.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View grantd's profile


82 posts in 904 days

#12 posted 04-02-2015 06:17 PM

Great job on the bench, it came out really nice. I’ve been “paging” though that ebook linked and while there is a lot of great info in there some of it makes me chuckle due to the expressions or small amounts of detail. The roll top desk instructions had like a page or two of sketches while detailed plans for a project like that could take up a whole book.

Here are some of my favorites so far. This first one is in reference to different styles or eras (eg Queen Anne) of chairs.

New Arts.—1900 to date. These are various worthy attempts by the designers of various nations to create a new style. Some of the results are good, and they are apt to be like the “little girl who had a little curl that hung in the middle of her forehead,” in that “when they are good they are very, very good, but when they are bad they are horrid.”

Then there is this bit on the replicating the craftsman stain color

To produce such a stain take 1 lb. of drop black in oil and 1/2 oz, of rose pink in oil, adding a gill of best japan drier, thinning with three half-pints of turpentine. This will make about 1 qt. of stain.

What is the black and rose pink products they are referring to? Also what is a gill in this context?

View Douglas's profile


412 posts in 1982 days

#13 posted 04-02-2015 06:41 PM

Grantd – I sort of like the lack of detail, it leaves it wide open on how to construct it. But I too would love to find out just what makes up that finish recipe.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1773 days

#14 posted 04-02-2015 09:48 PM

I did a little searching and a gill is 1/2 cup or 4 oz according to Wikipedia.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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