The American Craftsman WorkShop #7: Design Thoughts on a Shaker Inspired Bench

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Blog entry by Todd A. Clippinger posted 07-24-2009 08:11 PM 3458 reads 2 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: It's Operational! Part 7 of The American Craftsman WorkShop series Part 8: Sneak Preview of New Video from the American Craftsman Workshop »

A New Video!
I am excited to get out another video. They take a lot of time to create and, thankfully, I have been busy this summer with my business but it hampers my ability to make videos!

I am advancing in my skills and you will notice that I added photos documentary-style in this video (I love the Ken Burns effect.)

Some Thoughts on Design and Construction

The most difficult part of making furniture is creating the design. I share some of the thought process for creating my Shaker inspired bench.

I also share a little about the construction of this beautiful piece of furniture. Some woodworkers may wonder what joinery is acceptable or taboo in their project, it will surprise many woodworkers what type of joinery I used in this bench.

There is some construction technique covered here, but it is not as much of a “how to” video, as it is a video that shares some of the principles that I considered when creating this bench.

I hope that the thoughts and techniques shared in this video will help other woodworkers with the design and construction of their projects.

Share the Love~Share the Knowledge

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

24 comments so far

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3078 days

#1 posted 07-24-2009 08:20 PM

Haven’t watched the vid yet but I love that bench. If I ever finish my sideboard I think this could be a perfect next project (I have just the spot for one..)

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

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 2972 days

#2 posted 07-24-2009 08:24 PM

Great post and video…THANKS!!!!!!

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View lew's profile


10691 posts in 2842 days

#3 posted 07-24-2009 08:59 PM

Thanks for making us think about how we can continue to improve.

Attention to detail will never lead you astray.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1510 posts in 2651 days

#4 posted 07-24-2009 09:20 PM

Thanks Todd. I enjoyed the video, you touched on some very good points to consider when designing and it really shows in this bench. Great result!

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


16726 posts in 2762 days

#5 posted 07-24-2009 09:23 PM

Nice show Todd :-)) I watched it 2x. You’re fast becoming favored above Norm! Thanks for showing what nobody else thinks about.

did you use slots to allow for expansion of the seat?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8810 posts in 3186 days

#6 posted 07-24-2009 09:28 PM

Topamax – Good Question! Slots were not needed because all of the grain runs the same direction in the bench and everything will move at the same rate.

I realized while editing that there was so much more to share, but that just means I will have to make another video!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


16726 posts in 2762 days

#7 posted 07-24-2009 09:53 PM

That is a design element I didn’t catch. Guess I’l have to watch a 3rd time :-)) thx

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14036 posts in 3069 days

#8 posted 07-24-2009 10:07 PM

Very well done … beautiful piece and presentation

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View gbear's profile


467 posts in 3186 days

#9 posted 07-24-2009 10:57 PM

Thanks Todd…design is ofter more challenging than the build and information about design is a little more elusive. Keep up the good work.

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5784 posts in 2672 days

#10 posted 07-24-2009 11:04 PM

Really well presented you have a gift for this.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8810 posts in 3186 days

#11 posted 07-24-2009 11:58 PM

Topamax – Take a look at this glue-up in action. You can see the drawer dividers and their grain orientation. The reason I do this is because I do not want end grain showing between the drawers.

Clamping Drawer Box

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View woodnut's profile


393 posts in 3139 days

#12 posted 07-25-2009 12:55 AM

Todd, I agree 100% on the details and finishing every pieces that goes into the project, even if it will usually not be seen, but I have to admit that when a project is taking alittle to long or I want to move on to something else I have in my head, that is when I have my toughest time with this. I have to take it down a few gears and slow down and remember why I am doing this. I think my work is slowly improving and it is mostly because I’m learning to be a little more patient. Thanks for the video and the bench is great.

-- F.Little

View MercerRemodeling's profile


47 posts in 2698 days

#13 posted 07-25-2009 01:01 AM

Thanks Todd! I really liked the construction info and the drawers are really cool. I feel good learning from your videos.

View Blake's profile


3442 posts in 2961 days

#14 posted 07-25-2009 06:24 AM

Great video, Todd. It was a great reminder to pay extra attention to the details you might not think people would notice. Those details are what set the true craftsman apart form the mass production.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3025 days

#15 posted 07-25-2009 01:57 PM

Remarkably well done. It’s good to see this type of instruction along with assembly videos. The design is important and often short-changed. When are you going to get your TV show?

-- Working at Woodworking

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