Hungarian Box Bench

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Project by bonobo posted 04-11-2013 06:28 AM 3573 views 22 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In googling for hall bench designs, I came across a fair number of pine benches with the label “Hungarian Box Bench”. I haven’t seen any examples here in Canada but it looked like a good second furniture project and I was able to find enough online photos to figure out the basic construction. It was also an opportunity to practice new techniques like sliding tapered dovetails and draw-bored tenons. Draw-boring was the most fun, in that I used longish, gently tapered pegs to assemble it loosely and then walked around it, smacking the pegs tighter.

The legs act a little like breadboard ends to keep the 1×12s flat. There may be issues with wood movement in the future but I found enough surviving examples to be reasonably confident that it’ll hold together. Most of the joinery is very forgiving. The armrests are just scabbed together and shaped with a plane and rasp (you can find more adventurous examples online), the bottom ship-lapped boards are nailed into place and the backrest is assembled separately and attached with screws.

It’s all pine – a clear joist from the home centre and select pine 1×12s. It’ll get painted when the weather gets a bit warmer.

My big takeaway from this project is that only using hand tools means I need to be more realistic about the time necessary to complete projects (I have a tendency to WAY underestimate).

-- “The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” ― Mark Twain

15 comments so far

View Edwardnorton's profile


203 posts in 2168 days

#1 posted 04-11-2013 07:00 AM

Looks like you done a nice job building this and I’ve been thinking about building something like this. Thanks for the fresh idea!

-- EdwardNorton

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 3267 days

#2 posted 04-11-2013 07:18 AM

Very neat work|

-- Dreaming patterns

View GerardoArg1's profile


988 posts in 2235 days

#3 posted 04-11-2013 12:12 PM

Very nice work! I, like this

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 2855 days

#4 posted 04-11-2013 01:42 PM

love your bench ,great job on her ,and time is hard to estimate as you go it will get faster at it

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View hoss12992's profile


4114 posts in 2134 days

#5 posted 04-11-2013 04:00 PM

Great job. Love the design

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Grumpymike's profile


2356 posts in 2556 days

#6 posted 04-11-2013 04:34 PM

On estimating, I sit down and figure all the material, add 10%.
Then add in the labor hours, and add 10%
Then I add the finishing materials plus 10% ... This gives me what it should cost.

Then after I total the ‘should cost’ I multiply that total by 2.55 and get a general idea of what ‘the true cost’ will be …

Great job on the bench.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View flfordguy's profile


4 posts in 3113 days

#7 posted 04-11-2013 05:13 PM

Beautiful job, I especially like the armrest design. Very well done!

View Béla's profile


24 posts in 2171 days

#8 posted 04-11-2013 08:12 PM

Very nice! Unusual but practical design, great execution!

-- Béla, Memphis TN

View kizerpea's profile


775 posts in 2609 days

#9 posted 04-12-2013 12:42 PM

fine looking …..


View Mohee's profile


14 posts in 2192 days

#10 posted 04-14-2013 07:58 AM

Very nice, congratulations.Check out this link.

This guy is doing a lot of good work,including Hungary’s bench :)

-- Zoli, Hungary

View bonobo's profile


297 posts in 2298 days

#11 posted 04-14-2013 07:03 PM

Thanks for all the comments, everybody.
Thansk for the link Zoli. I looked through all the albums (I think) found lots of wonderful gates but no benches. If you can link to one directly, I’d be very pleased.

Also, if any Hungarians happen to know a good source for pictures of Hungarian country furniture, please let me know.

A magyarok is, ha véletlenül forrásként a jó képek a magyar ország bútorok, kérem, tudassa velem.

-- “The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” ― Mark Twain

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2417 days

#12 posted 04-15-2013 02:16 PM

A super nice bench! Like the great design and joinery especially on the armrest and the storage. Impressive!

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2739 days

#13 posted 04-24-2013 04:30 AM

What a great interpretation of a traditional piece. Pine is perfect here.
Will there be a thin one piece cushion on paint? and a picture?
Nice build & storage, nice sketch.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View albachippie's profile


773 posts in 3276 days

#14 posted 12-02-2013 11:46 AM

How’d I miss this one?! What a great piece, thanks for sharing

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland

View eddisongray's profile


4 posts in 1174 days

#15 posted 11-06-2015 01:49 PM

this is pretty cool furniture, is the opening door right on top of the seat or at the back like drawer type?

-- -- check out our products @

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