This project was my first ever blog on LJ. The first part was posted 370 days ago. I’m probably the only one who even remembers it after all this time. Nonetheless I hate unfinished business. I just finished the bench today so this will complete the blog as well. If you’re at all interested to see the whole thing then click on the link for part #1. http://lumberjocks.com/stefang/blog/8929
I left off showing the kinda strange tenon that I devised and the hand chopped mortises. After that my life spun out or control in a bizarre world where I had to do a lot of gardening and then following my wife’s two operations I became housekeeper, food shopping expert, etc, etc. No problem really, but I had to set aside the bench project until a few days ago. So now assuming you read part #1 I will carry on with how I made the bench.
I had planned to have 8 slats, but found out that it would look to wide for the 1,5M length, so I settled on 6 slats. Her they are laid out + an extra.
My next job was to mortise the additional legs needed. I did the mortising thinking I would still need 16 instead of 12 legs, therefore the overabundance. I did the first mortises by hand because the materials where so wet I couldn’t get anywhere with power tools. Over the year the materials dried enough to allow the use of my mortising attachment on my combi machine. Here’s the work being done in three passes because I only have an 8mm mortising bit and the mortises where slightly wider than 16mm.
The next task was to clean up the mortises a little with a chisel and then drill holes for the steel threaded rods that would hold the slats together. As you saw above I had laid out the bench seat slats on my long flat sliding bench. The holes had to be VERY accurate. There would be 3 on the seat part and 2 on each set of legs, 7 in total.
I drilled the 10mm holes on one seat slat and and on it’s two legs. Then I clamped the adjoining pieces to it and used a 10mm brad point drill as a center punch through the first holes to mark the next pieces and so on one set at a time making sure to line up the lengths accurately before clamping and punching. After marking they were drilled on the drill press as shown in the 3rd photo.
Before the glue up I realized I had forgot to counter bore the holes on the the two outboard slats. It wasn’t a big problem. Here is how I did it.
Here the bench is dry assembled and marked to keep the right order for the glue-up of the legs onto the seat slats. This was the only gluing necessary as the bench is held together with the threaded rods. I only had room to glue 2 sections at a time, so I used the rest of the day on that.
While waiting for the glue-ups to dry I went about making the spacers for between the slats. I ripped four 10mm thick boards off one of the unused 2X4s which gave me a spacer the same width as the slats, then I cut them into squares on my miter saw. The next day I drilled holes in the middle of each one of the 35 spacers for the threaded rod to pass through.
I put a couple of nuts on the end to hammer on. I was praying that the holes were accurately drilled because if not the whole project would be a wash-out.
Luckily everything line up properly, so I had a bench! The next job was to make plugs for the holes that the threaded rod gos through. These photos show how I did it. I first drew a circle the sized of each counter bored hole, then
hollowed out the plug to encase the nuts with a Forstner bit, rough cut the plug out on my scrollsaw and then sanded to an accurate fit on my disk sander. I used the pictured board with a hole to test fit as I went.
And finally the finished bench. It is completely hidden from view from our deck, so not a decorative piece. I’m not going to put any finish on it. The weather should give it a gray patina over time. It is as solid as a rock and pretty heavy too. My wife seemed very pleased with it. Tomorrow is here birthday, so I guess it’s a kind of present.
The main thing I enjoyed about this project is that I designed it without any ‘research’ and then designed the joinery. The spacers and threaded rod just seemed like the only way it could be put together, so that just came naturally. It’s certainly not rocket science, but I found it rewarding to just jump into the project and solve the different problems as they arose. to me that’s more fun than the finished project, especially since it all went so well. I hope you enjoyed seeing the build. There’s not a lot to learn here, but I feel it’s always fun to see how others do things. Thanks for joining me.
-- Mike, an American living in Norway.