Maple and walnut bench

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Project by Daren Nelson posted 03-12-2008 12:12 AM 6878 views 7 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My camera is not cooperating. But I have not posted a project for awhile, so here is one fuzzy pictures and all. I was playing with a new toy, I mean tool. A sawmill/woodworker buddy of mine has a really cool dovetail spline making jig. It is just a mitered joint and the splines are cut it with a dovetail router bit. Makes a strong joint and I like contrast too. I can see myself using this alot, even though I am not much of a “router guy”. This was the first time I used it, I’m sure I will post more projects where I use it more.

21 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3790 days

#1 posted 03-12-2008 12:27 AM

wow those dovetails are impressive. the whole bench is great to and i like the choice of woods. keep up the good work.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4010 days

#2 posted 03-12-2008 12:30 AM

Nice looking bench! The dovetail splines are a great touch.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View TexasTimbers's profile


67 posts in 3837 days

#3 posted 03-12-2008 12:30 AM

That’s a nice looking bench for sure. I don’t care how many times I see walnut and maple together it never gets old. I like the detail of the wedges at the feet bottoms and skirt. Nice touch. And I love those joints! :-D

-- "Sure, listen to what the experts have to say, just don't let it get in the way of your woodworking."

View ben's profile


158 posts in 3892 days

#4 posted 03-12-2008 12:50 AM

Daren—bench looks gorgeous. I agree with Texas—walnut and maple are 2 peas in a pod.

I am curious—is there any sort of stretcher or other support, or is the shape just an upside-down-U? I guess more to the point, I’m curious if you’ve built something like this before, without stretchers, and if it held up over time.


View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 4013 days

#5 posted 03-12-2008 01:25 AM

Neat, the dovetail splines almost give it the appearance of the maple being draped over the bench.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3927 days

#6 posted 03-12-2008 01:53 AM

ben that is a good question, first one I would have asked too, yea just an upside down U. I myself was a little (ok, more than a little) skeptical until I used this system. I have never tried to build anything without some sort of stretcher and think it to last, until now. The straight grain splines are driven fit (they are tapered) into the slot the router cuts in the piece. I was amazed once I was done (I am not going to detail what I did to try to break it, it would just make me sound crazy) I would have a hard time flipping it over and kicking it part, seriously. I called my Dad who is a woodworker, way better than me and he is coming to pick the jigs up this week, he’ll freak too.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6858 posts in 4001 days

#7 posted 03-12-2008 03:45 AM

Hi Daren,

That’s a great looking bench.

The contrasting woods is perfect. The dovetails are really nice.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 4348 days

#8 posted 03-12-2008 04:20 AM

I had the same thoughts as Ben that this piece would be a bit on the flimsy side. Creating a piece that is durable yet looks delicate is fantastic!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3843 days

#9 posted 03-12-2008 04:21 AM

That is a very nice looking bench. Maple and walnut compliment each other well. The dovetail splines add a beautiful detail to the bench. Great project.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View libris's profile


24 posts in 3761 days

#10 posted 03-12-2008 07:53 AM

Great looking job. Contrast btw. maple and walnut very good and the dovetail splines also good matched your design. Gorgeous project~

-- Libris, South Korea

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4018 days

#11 posted 03-12-2008 08:38 AM

Good looking bench Daren! It’s construction reminds me of this chair#.

(The site this is on is worth thoroughly checking out too..)

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4087 days

#12 posted 03-12-2008 10:35 AM

Daren that is beautiful. I am curious about the dovetail spline jig. Can, or will you, provide any more detail on the jig? Is it a shop made jig – or is it something that we can purchase?

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3896 days

#13 posted 03-12-2008 12:51 PM

So I am guessing the joints are mitered and the splines are perpendicular to the face of the miter? It really looks nice.

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3927 days

#14 posted 03-12-2008 02:14 PM

cajunpen (and everyone else) yes it is a store bought thing. Here is a link that shows how it works, pretty simple really. I did not post it before #1 I did not want to sound like I was advertising…and #2 if you check out it, it demystifies my work for sure. What looks like hours of lay out and labor in reality is about 15 minutes worth ;-)
Dorje, I checked out that guys site, pretty neat stuff. He even has a splined bench ($1200+) what a kick in the pants. Mine is going to sit on the back porch with muddy boots under it.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4240 days

#15 posted 03-12-2008 04:01 PM

Really cool bench. I’m going to have to take a closer look at that jig.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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