Red's 60 foot bench......

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Project by THEBIGRED1 posted 05-20-2011 12:23 AM 2517 views 1 time favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As this is my first attempt at posting a project, I would to thank you all for looking….and your patience as I become more familiar with the site.

As I am a cabinet maker by trade…..... it is refreshing to see a sit like this. With a tough economy and really tight time lines in my shop the zest for the craft itself has fallen away to some degree. I wish to share this project with you all….and other projects in the future in hopes of getting back to my roots. The very reason I chose this as my career. This project for example only gave me 96 hours total to complete the project…....I doubled those hours…..after everyone realized the challenges to follow. Fortunately, we made up for it in the end with mat. savings.

This bench that is off to the spray room is 24” wide…....and nearly 60’ long. The appearance of 5 1/2” thickness is really a 1 1/2” top slab with four 3/8×5 1/2” aprons glued on after (two each side)....with a plywood core. This after realizing that the oak alone was enormously expensive as a solid slab with 300 lamination’s 3/8” x 5 1/2” x 144’........not to mention the 450lb weight of only one section of this bench. Truly, over kill and wasteful in my opinion. The same look and durability could be achieved without depleting our oak supplies to that degree. With the approval of the plywood core from the architect, I knew I could still make the Co money and give a good product.

The challenge’s became apparent in the 64 lamination’s alone. Only 3-4 thousandth’s off on each lamination and your 1/8….or more off your mark and there is steel to fit into. The steel was ordered weeks in advance…...and was far from perfect itself. While I personally thought they did a great job in fabrication…..there is the simple fact that the welds distort the steel. I had quit a time fitting each section inside the 5/16” hollow steel… each one was different. Every connection was marked due to this custom fit.

In addition to material thickness…....there is glue do deal with….....and simple clamp pressure. While in the form, I had to revisit the clamp pressure over and over again in a scramble to overcome the dry time…....even while extended set glue was used. I realized after the first glue-up in this out of the ordinary project that achieving a set width with these factors was impossible. So I fashioned a radius jig and flush trimmed the blank to the proper width, then glued on the four 3-8” x 5 1/2” aprons to achieve the width… some wiggle room to sand into the steel. We have about 150 pipe clamps in my shop and I sure had them tied up in the multiple glue ups! And feeding the 200lb blanks into the time saver thickness sander was a challenge. And helping that radius through the planer and the sander was a challenge as well I assure you. All and all I was able to get it done with great results and ease the owner’s worries about time spent. I chose to drill 3/8” holes and use drywall screws with a washer to allow expansion/contraction with so much wood involved… well as down size the plywood core to allow the blank to shrink a bit.

All and all? The steel and bench should chime in about 2,000lbs.

Thanks for looking friends,


-- Never give in to speed over quality.....when you are done that is all that matters.

22 comments so far

View Delta356's profile


463 posts in 2822 days

#1 posted 05-20-2011 12:30 AM

WOOOOOOO, WOW, That is very cool, got to get me a bench like that..

Thanks, Michael Frey
Portland, OR


View dakremer's profile


2664 posts in 3059 days

#2 posted 05-20-2011 12:37 AM

that is one serious bench! Wow.

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View THEBIGRED1's profile


11 posts in 2627 days

#3 posted 05-20-2011 12:44 AM

Thanks for looking….....


-- Never give in to speed over quality.....when you are done that is all that matters.

View chrisstef's profile


17311 posts in 2974 days

#4 posted 05-20-2011 01:35 AM

sweet mother of ….

That is one heck of introduction Red. You oughtta be proud of that bench, at such a long distance i can see where thousands of an inch will imperfect it in the long run, and it appears you nailed it. Id really love to see the bench in its final setting.

Thanks for comin around, look forward to seeing more.

by the way its sweet that you had to either go upstairs or climb a ladder to get the full shot.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View LarryN's profile


191 posts in 2635 days

#5 posted 05-20-2011 02:15 AM

that would look great on my deck, care to make another….:)
great project, and very well done!!!!

-- Larry, North Carolina

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2939 days

#6 posted 05-20-2011 02:32 AM

That’s got to be the MOAWB.

Kick A$$.

View Tony Z's profile

Tony Z

205 posts in 3758 days

#7 posted 05-20-2011 03:25 AM

Very nice. Where is it going and why the unusual shape?

-- Tony, Ohio

View tinnman65's profile


1356 posts in 3382 days

#8 posted 05-20-2011 04:06 AM

Very nice work, I look forward to seeing more!!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Rob Mammen's profile

Rob Mammen

67 posts in 2660 days

#9 posted 05-20-2011 04:10 AM

Holy Cow. This is absolutely fabulous. You are a true artisan. I am looking forward to your future postings. if this is any indication of your work we all we be looking at some beautiful projects.

-- Rob, You have failed if you have not tried.

View Terry Burks's profile

Terry Burks

22 posts in 3021 days

#10 posted 05-20-2011 05:41 AM

May I say, WOW! Very impressive work. This is truly inspiring and you are a creative craftsman. Thanks for posting.

-- Terry - Willis, Texas

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2660 days

#11 posted 05-20-2011 06:03 AM

That is a very impressive bench. Your caption, 60 foot bench caught my eye earlier. But the site home page with the dinky little picture lead me to think that I was seeing only a portion of the bench so I skipped past it. Then I remembered building a 60’ bench myself for an apartment complex pool area some 15 years ago but it was nowhere near as impressive as this one you have made Red. The one I built was framed out of ruff sawn douglas fir with redwood seats & backs. And traveled in a straight line except for a couple right angle turns.

Where is this one going? And what kind of finish is it going to have on it? Again, I think you did a fantastic job building that bench. And BTW that’s a pretty impressive looking shop you have there too.
I like your picture of you bike too. Is that what you call a cat bird seat?

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View WinterSun's profile


163 posts in 2578 days

#12 posted 05-20-2011 07:37 AM

Stunning! That is truly impressive. Very cool.

-- Rory // Milwaukee, WI

View Josh's profile


1226 posts in 2537 days

#13 posted 05-20-2011 08:23 AM

Yes, what an awesome spectacle of woodworking awesomeness on display here. GREAT job! Love it!

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

View davegalesr's profile


31 posts in 2633 days

#14 posted 05-20-2011 11:16 AM

Great job – that one must have tired you out. Now you need to drop by my shop and build one for me.

-- Dave Gale, Grover, NC

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 3874 days

#15 posted 05-20-2011 11:42 AM

Obvioiusly for a gathering of “bigfeet”...

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

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