|Project by HughReeves||posted 10-03-2012 10:12 PM||10146 views||12 times favorited||8 comments|
This is a cypress garden bench I am finishing up now for my wife. All frame components and back slats are mortise and tenon. Since I dont know how to make a tenon with a curving shoulder, the top of the back slats use a floating tenon. The first few joints were made the traditional way with hand tools which quickly motivated me to build the PantoRouter (a genius machine invented by Mathias Wandel). This machine will have to be a separate post, but I will say that it is completely awesome and made VERY quick work of the M&T joints. I used it to make the floating M&T joints as well meaning it can (in addition to a ton of other stuff) function as a home built domino. Several of the old salts at my local woodcraft have clearly filed this machine under “cheating”. The seat slats are glued and screwed to the frame with cypress plugs covering the screws.
I made to decision to use cypress after researching what woods would hold up well outdoors. I finished it with epifanes woodfinish after reading a FWW article comparing different outdoor finishes held up. The feet bottoms were sealed by soaking them in epoxy. In retrospect, I think cypress would have been a good choice only if I had planned to leave it unfinished. The cypress natural rot resistance comes from oils in the wood that 1) is irrelevant if covered with varnish and 2) make finishing a challenge. In addition, cypress is a relatively soft wood making dings and such much more likely long-term, which is both unsitely and will require more frequent refinishing.
I would like to request advise from this awesome LJ community regarding how one might go about finishing a project like this. Specifically with regards to the plugs in the slats. It seemed like I was obligated to attach the slats THEN finish them once the screw holes had been plugged and sanded flush. I guessed that any attempts to plug into a finished slat then touch up the finish would turn out poorly. In the end I decided to totally assemble the bench then sand but it made it much more difficult to finish. Maybe this would be not too bad with HVLP but this was all hand brushed. I am actually still in the process of applying coats of finish. I’ve got 5 coats on with a goal of 12. Just took it outdoors for the photoshoot :)
Being new and quite obsessed with woodworking, I have found this site to be an incredible resource and community. As a hobbyist with less free time than most this 24-7 online woodshop classroom has been how I have learned pretty much everything. Thank you all for the daily inspiration and creativity. I extend my sincere apologies to the lumberjocks community for not posting anything in so long. All the best.