|Project by Jonathan||posted 09-16-2010 03:15 PM||6539 views||19 times favorited||21 comments|
This bench was constructed using only pockethole joinery. I thought I’d use a fairly basic joinery technique here that quite a few either have access to, or can easily learn to use. Sometimes it’s not what you use, but how you use it! With this project, I tried to take something simple-pockethole joinery- and not only dress it up, but use it as a main design element. You don’t necessarily have to use a complicated or elaborate joint to dress up a piece.
This is the 5-Board Bench that I built for and submitted to the Charles Neil 5-Board Bench Contest. Thanks to Charles Neil, Sherri, and everyone else involved for putting this contest together. It was an enjoyable experience, from start, to finish. A nice job on everyone’s part that entered the contest.
I knew I wanted to design and build something that strayed from the traditional 5-Board Bench style, originally toying with the idea of building it out of 5-different species of wood. After thinking it through though, I decided to stick with 3-species of wood, as I thought that 5-species would be a bit too busy.
This 5-Board Bench is constructed from 4/4-walnut, 4/4-curly maple, and 4/4-cherry, including the corresponding species for the pocket hole plugs, and was joined together using nothing but pocket hole joinery. I didn’t use any glue. I decided to go this route and keep the lines simple, yet use some prettier woods to dress the basic design up. I wanted to show that a person with nothing but a Kreg pockethole jig, or a similar pockethole jig, could construct this bench. You can build this bench with nothing but a pocket hole jig and a drill, pockethole drill bit, pockethole screws, and pockethole plugs. This could obviously be made out of all one species of wood instead of combining them as I did. I carried over the same 3-species of wood into the pockethole plugs, but intentionally used contrasting plugs as a design element to add a bit of visual interest.
I joined the pieces in sections. First, I joined the legs, which are constructed of curly maple on the outside, with a walnut interior board. I used cherry plugs to fill the pocketholes. Next, I joined the top together, changing the sequence of the boards to alternate with the legs so that the top is two pieces of walnut and one piece of curly maple. The top has a piece of curly maple running down the middle, sandwiched by 2-pieces of walnut, and the pocketholes were again filled with cherry plugs. The aprons are a single piece of cherry, only this time, I used both maple and walnut plugs to fill the pocketholes in an alternating fashion.
I first made the frame for the top to sit on by joining the aprons to the legs on the interior side. There are 2-pocket hole screws used on each side of both aprons, for a total of 8-pocket hole screws holding the frame together that are out of sight. After the frame was complete, I joined the top to the aprons with the 5-pocket hole screws on each apron that are visible on the outside of the bench, then joined the legs to the top with 4-pocket hole screws per leg that are out of sight on the inside of the legs. So the top is held on to the frame by a total of 18-pocket hole screws. When it was all said and done, I had drilled 58-pocket holes, used 58-screws, and 42-pocket hole plugs. I did not fill the pocket holes that are out of sight, just in case anything needs to be tightened up with a bit with use.
I did freehand a very minor 45-degree chamfer on the bottom of each leg with the router to prevent any chipping issues at the edges.
The bench was finished using Watco Danish Oil in the Natural tone. I also wetsanded it a bit to fill in a few minor voids around the pocket hole plugs. This bench received 3-5-coats Renaissance Wax after the danish oil thoroughly cured for several weeks.
This bench is a housewarming gift for my brother and his fiance, as they are buying their first house.
Quick details and dimensions of the piece are:
Wood Species: Walnut, Curly/Tiger Maple, Cherry
Joinery Method: Pockethole screws, dressed with pockethole plugs of the same species above (no glue used for joinery, just used glue to secure the pockethole plugs)
Tools Used: Tablesaw, drum sander, random orbital sander, Kreg Pockethole Jig, drill, router, flushcut saw, clamps to hold pieces secure while screwing together
Finish: Watco Danish Oil (allowed to cure for several weeks), followed by 5-coats of Renaissance Wax on the top of the bench, and 3-coats of Renaissance Wax everywhere else
Overall Length: 36” on top
Depth: 15” on top
Leg Width: 12-3/4” (leaving a 1-1/8” overhang on the front and back)
Leg Spacing: 32” (leaving a 2” overhang on the left and right side)
The pictures are arranged to sweep around the piece in a logical order, starting at the left, front side and gradually sweeping counterclockwise, over to the right side of the bench.
-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."