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Entryway bench design input

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Forum topic by elkevo posted 03-03-2017 04:34 PM 804 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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elkevo

18 posts in 282 days


03-03-2017 04:34 PM

So, I came up with a design for a small entryway bench, but wanted to get some input on which one actually looks better. The one on the left uses 3 pieces for the top: 2 – 1×4’s and 1 – 1×2 with a 1/4 in space between boards. The one on the right is a 1×8 framed with 1×4’s and would probably be cheaper and easier to build. But, cost isn’t really the point. Which one looks better and might sell better.

Thanks!

-- Kevin


31 replies so far

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elkevo

18 posts in 282 days


#1 posted 03-03-2017 04:53 PM

Added another variation with a solid top.

-- Kevin

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dmo0430

51 posts in 818 days


#2 posted 03-03-2017 05:25 PM

Matter of preference I would go with either of the two on the right.

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Lazyman

1444 posts in 1203 days


#3 posted 03-03-2017 05:30 PM

If the one on the left has a gap between the 3 boards, that seems like it would less comfortable to sit on. I definitely like the idea of the contrasting strip down the center.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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tealetm

82 posts in 673 days


#4 posted 03-03-2017 06:46 PM

Don’t leave gaps. People’s coats, pants, etc. always have little dangling things on them and they are likely to get caught in a crack serving as a wake up call when the person goes to stand up.

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Ripper70

554 posts in 724 days


#5 posted 03-03-2017 07:57 PM

+1 on the solid top and +1 on the top with the contrasting strip down the middle. More aesthetically pleasing.

As for price, it may be cheaper to build the one in the middle but I think that most folks are willing to pay a bit more for additional craftsmanship and so it would be worth the extra time, effort and materials costs.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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elkevo

18 posts in 282 days


#6 posted 03-03-2017 08:21 PM

I’m pretty much in agreement with y’all. The one with the 3-part top is the nicest. You all keep saying “contrasting strip”, should I use a different wood or stain or just keep it the same material as the rest of it?

Anyway, with the top being 25” x 9”, the issue really comes down to getting that 9” width. Here is another idea I came up with using a 1×6 and 1×4. It’s confusing to me sometimes remembering to take off a half inch for the board width, which makes it 3/4×5 1/2 and 3/4×3 1/2 (reassuring myself of the dimensions).

I don’t think this one looks as nice as the 3-part top. It doesn’t have the same symmetry.

-- Kevin

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jerryminer

782 posts in 1257 days


#7 posted 03-03-2017 09:56 PM

I also like the symmetrical top with an “accent strip”—- from a contrasting wood.

Are you trying to build this from “standard” lumber sizes without having to rip anything to width??

If you are going to sell furniture, I thinks it’s time to “tool-up” and be prepared to cut wood to size.

I would also skip the end apron, and notch the side aprons into the legs, like this:

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

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Rick_M

10488 posts in 2196 days


#8 posted 03-03-2017 10:17 PM

I’m going to be brutally honest since you want to sell them, I wouldn’t buy any of them because they all look very amatuer. If you gave a non-woodworker some boards and asked them to build a bench, that’s what they would design. All 3 are a box on legs and look like a tool tote turned upside down. The design will not resist racking and will fold in half with any significant force. I think what you are trying to do is build a 5 board bench
I would start over with the 5 board design and change up the styling but don’t lose the elements that make it strong and enduring.

edit: Jerry posted while I was typing. His design is much better.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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elkevo

18 posts in 282 days


#9 posted 03-04-2017 12:21 AM

The 5 board bench is where I got my inspiration from. I would “tool up”, but I don’t have the means right now. So, I am stuck using standard lumber sizes from the hardware store. I’m not in the business of making furniture. This is just something that is meant to help with the shoe clutter by my front door. And if people like them, then I will make them to sell.

Rick, since I am a bit of a noob, can you explain how this won’t hold up to racking as well as the 5 board bench and Jerry’s design?

Jerry, I’m not a fan of the all around apron myself, I just thought it would make it sturdier. I don’t have a table saw, so how can I notch the side aprons?

Also, I probably should have added dimensions to the original picture, so here is what I had in mind. It is intended to sit against a wall, under a window.

I really do appreciate the constructive criticism and advice. As far as selling, it’s pretty much the only way I will be able to “tool up” for a while. I’ve Google’d it, but if anyone has ideas about how to help my tool habit support itself, I would appreciate it. Thanks, again!

-- Kevin

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Rick_M

10488 posts in 2196 days


#10 posted 03-04-2017 08:29 AM



Rick, since I am a bit of a noob, can you explain how this won t hold up to racking as well as the 5 board bench and Jerry s design?
- elkevo

It’s late and I’m about half in the bag so I might read this tomorrow and wish I had written it better but … You have a couple of problems. The “legs” are in a cross grain joint with the end aprons which means they need metal fasteners because the wood will be moving in 2 directions and a glue joint is at risk of pulling itself apart. You want the aprons between the legs to resist racking force but your design depends on the joint between the legs and end aprons, which I assume will be connected with metal fasteners in tension to resist racking forces. Metal fasteners in wood are stronger in shear than tension (typically). In wood the back and forth will eventually wallow out and become loose, or if significant side pressure is applied they will tear out because wood is (typically) softer than metal and the piece will fold. Lastly it’s just clunky looking. In many crafts, woodworking, knifemaking, printmaking, people see the end result and think any half retarded monkey can do that without realizing there is thought process in how things go together. Bladesmiths have a phrase, ‘a knife shaped piece of metal,’ to refer to amatuer knives that are not servicable tools. What you have is a bench shaped collection of boards. What I suggest is you spend some time learning how furniture is built before trying to design and sell your own variation. Furniture has been tested and perfected over centuries and evolved into the forms we see now, for good reason. In the meantime, mimic established forms and along the way you’ll begin understanding why things are built a certain way.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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jerryminer

782 posts in 1257 days


#11 posted 03-04-2017 09:33 AM


... how can I notch the side aprons?....- elkevo

Any combination of: circular saw, jigsaw, coping saw, hand saw, chisel, router… can create the notch.

I get that you are new and limited on tools. I was there once, too. I’ve built many 5-board benches—- some with standard lumber sizes. You certainly could start with standard 1×8 legs, 1×10 top, and 1×6—or even 1×4 aprons, although it would be more stable with a wider stance—-meaning a wider leg. (I like 1×12 for this)

By all means, build yourself a bench and learn from it. Develop your skills and your “design sense.” And let us know how it goes and how we can help.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

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ChefHDAN

989 posts in 2665 days


#12 posted 03-04-2017 02:18 PM

Kevin, have to agree with the comments above, trying to build furiture with off the rack lumber will drive you nuts and the end product isn’t appealing to flks who know wood, and there’s already a ton of cheap crap imported furniture imported to compete with. Quick check of your area on CL shows these that could help you “tool – up”, increase the skills and tools you’ll yield a much higher rate for work and you’ll reduce your costs buying retail lumber to resell.

Jointer needs TLC
Dewalt Planer
Cabinet Shop for Sale

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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Lazyman

1444 posts in 1203 days


#13 posted 03-04-2017 02:38 PM

I am going to add my 2 cents (you might get 3 or you might feel that you get only a penny’s worth).

First, I think that Jerry’s design will be more likely to fail. It might be more aesthetically pleasing to some but because the edge of the board appear to stick out too far past the apron, it is could break off or pull loose because of downward force on the unsupported edge. This is basically a lever that may pull up on the fasteners or glue that is holding it down every time someone sits on it.

Second, I don’t follow Rick’s explanation (it seems to me the end aprons are not there for any stability or support so are structurally irrelevant and the screws attaching the side aprons will resist racking forces in shear?) but my grandfather had two 6 or 8 foot long benches made very much like this sitting outside on his covered front porch for over 40 years (don’t know how long he had them before I was born) and they have been sitting on my aunts back porch for almost 20 more. The only obvious differences are that the ends extend out past the legs about a foot which I think makes the bench look less like a box and the aprons are only about 4” wide. I am pretty sure that they are simply nailed together—no screws and no glue and the last time I sat on them (about 5 years ago), there was still no racking or wobble. I can remember having at least 4 people, 150 lbs. and up each, sitting on each bench watching storms roll in and they are still going strong.

Personally, I would either move the legs a couple inches in from the ends or lengthen the seat (and leave off the end apron) and possibly have the front and back edges hang over the apron an inch to make it look less box-like. You could also angle/taper the end of the apron towards the ends to about half of the width to also reduce the box-like appearance. Cutting a simple notch into the legs to hold the aprons could provide more support, which probably isn’t necessary for such a short bench, but might make it look a little more polished.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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elkevo

18 posts in 282 days


#14 posted 03-04-2017 03:01 PM

Wow, a lot of good advice and things I’ve never considered, or heard of. I’ve never heard of a cross grain joint before and had to look it up. I don’t want to deviate from the size, however, since this needs to fit in a particular space. It’s very unlikely that anyone besides a child will sit on this. The bottom with the 1” dowels is meant to be a shoe rack. Because I need that bottom space to accommodate taller boots, I will probably stick with 4” aprons, unless there is a compelling reason not to.

I hit up YouTube last night to find ways to cut rabbets and dados and found a jig I can make for my circular saw. I’ll give it a try, but I’m concerned about trying to do it on an 8” board on edge. I’ll figure something out.

I’m on less than a shoestring budget for woodworking and can’t drop $200-$300 on tools. Buying materials makes my wallet cry. I keep my eye on Craigslist for tools, anything to replace the death machine table saw I have. I think I mentioned earlier that I didn’t have one, well let me rephrase that, I don’t have one I trust not to kill or maim me. I honestly don’t know why I still have it. I guess those YouTubers give me hope that I can make it work.

Again, thanks for setting me straight on my design.

-- Kevin

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elkevo

18 posts in 282 days


#15 posted 03-04-2017 04:44 PM

I’m trying to figure out how to attach the dowels on the bottom. My first idea was to attach them with smaller dowels and glue. Now I’m thinking I could just use a 1” forstner bit and inset the dowels directly into the legs. Thoughts?

-- Kevin

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