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Forum topic by Vasko posted 01-24-2011 09:03 AM 1477 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Vasko

271 posts in 2153 days


01-24-2011 09:03 AM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut storage bench

Hi there ~ I’m tossing around an idea, and I’d love some opinions. At first, I simply wanted to make no brainer window shelves for my cats to sit on. I am making two, one for each set of double windows in my living room. The windows span 68 inches, so I went looking for long boards, one continuous shelf per window. I fell in love with, and bought, bookmatched black walnut. However, I fell for boards that are 72” long, 3/4” thick, and 22” wide! Obviously too wide for shelves. Somewhat thin, so I had concerns about cupping, twist, etc. I decided to make short window tables. (the bottom of the window sills are 22” above the floor – I want the top of whatever I make to be level with that). I’ve got an easy table design I like and may use with 3 pairs of legs – a center set to support weight. Now my problem; I saw a bench somewhere here with a walnut lid attached with a piano hinge to a box shape to make a storage bench. I could really use something like that! So I have two specific questions; #1 – What would be more stable for the walnut top, the bench, or a fixed table top? Does it matter much? # 2 – If I make the bench, and don’t want the storage base to be as long as the top, how much shorter can it be? Could the walnut extend beyond the bench base and not risk warping? (remember, these will be near windows that will be open often in the good weather). Many thanks for ANY input!

-- - Cindy, texture freak -


13 replies so far

View wseand's profile

wseand

2754 posts in 2509 days


#1 posted 01-24-2011 09:32 AM

#1 Either one would give it plenty of stability if properly attached, IMO. But I would suggest you put an edging strip on the front and possible the sides of the top you will get a lot more stability. It will also give it a little bit of a thicker appearance.

#2 I would say that aesthetics would really dictate the difference is this case. I wouldn’t think you would not want more than few inches difference off either end.

Also, woodbin.com has a Sagulator that calculates the sag that can happen in many diiferent types of wood. I use it all the time when I am building shelves. HERE

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

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Vasko

271 posts in 2153 days


#2 posted 01-24-2011 09:52 AM

Thanks for the response ~ I should have mentioned the boards are live edge on what will be the front edge. I could easily do an edging on the sides that would sweep up and blend in with the front, though. I was thinking about an overhang of about 5” per side, and that would look cleaner if there was no overhang. I’ll have to eyeball it longer to judge the esthetic balance. That will depend on the size of the skirt or compartment. Structural vs. visual compromise is such a tug of war! I have a few different design ideas for what will be under the slabs, I’m thinking I really should keep it simple and let the walnut be the focal point. After I stopped laughing, I found the Sagulator pretty cool. I’m approaching an age where I thought a sagulator judged something else entirely! lol

-- - Cindy, texture freak -

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wseand

2754 posts in 2509 days


#3 posted 01-24-2011 10:17 AM

The wife judges the rest of my sags, god knows I don’t need a computer doing it too. Those live edges do pose a bit of a problem. That is quite a span for that thin of lumber. If you go with the bench I would think you could push back the skirt/edging so that when it was shut it would be hidden. Also, I would think that the hinge would give it a bit of support as well. Either way it sounds like it is going to be nice piece. I do like the idea of the bench over the table I love places to hide stuff.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

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CaptainSkully

1437 posts in 3026 days


#4 posted 01-25-2011 04:56 AM

A fixed top would have more support, and clips/fasteners, etc. would allow the wood to move, but if you screw cleats across the bottom of the lid you can have your cake and eat it too.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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Vasko

271 posts in 2153 days


#5 posted 01-25-2011 05:23 AM

Thanks for the responses –
As much as I need storage, I’ve decided to go with a simple bench/low table. A frame, some legs, some skirting, and some air under the whole thing. I want to keep it as light and airy as possible. My living room is only 13’ x 18’, and I don’t want to crowd it anymore than I have to.
CaptainSkully, can you elaborate on the clips/fasteners/cleats? These benches are my first projects, and I didn’t think about letting the wood move. I was going to use countersunk screws or dowels from underneath (through the frame) and glue to try and prevent it from moving! I have no clue how to use the cleats, or what they even look like. I can’t believe this all started because I wanted a cat shelf – lol. Now I’m hooked.
Thanks for all the great help!

-- - Cindy, texture freak -

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wseand

2754 posts in 2509 days


#6 posted 01-25-2011 06:58 AM

Ah, wood movement the unknown we must account for. You do not want to secure the top to the skirt so that it can’t move, this can cause the wood to crack. Wood expands and contracts with the changing seasons and from just plain time. It is mostly due the the humidity changing the moisture content of the wood. Clips, fasteners, and cleats are ways to allow for movement of the wood without having the wood crack. You basically want to secure the fastener to the table to and then the other part of the fastener is attached to the skirt in a way to allow for movement like a mortise. A lot of people just drill a hole lager than the screw being used this normally allows for enough movement. Do some research on it, it is important to account for. I am sure you can find more info on this site.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

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Vasko

271 posts in 2153 days


#7 posted 01-25-2011 07:45 AM

Thank you – I’ll start reading up on that right away.

-- - Cindy, texture freak -

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Vasko

271 posts in 2153 days


#8 posted 01-25-2011 08:58 AM

Ok, I’ve spent an hour or so looking online and on this site, so let me pose a few more questions… I only mentioned a skirt because I thought the table top had to be tightly secured all around to prevent movement. That’s what I was told by a big-box lumber store employee. (remember, I only found this site after that, while searching for info! lol) The guys also suggested the pre-made legs that screw into the metal plates under the top. I like those legs better than solid slab legs to lighten the look. I’m not looking for the trestle look here. I see several designs for slab benches – some with turned legs, some with slab legs either straight or angled. The slab legs often have triangular or square lengths of wood that look like they attach to both the leg & the top. Are these the cleats? If I don’t use a skirt and have just legs (screw in to plates or slab) is that ok for allowing the wood top to move? Should I still add cleats if using the pre-made legs that attach with a metal plate? I know it’s a lot of silly questions, but I appreciate all the help. I hope to learn a lot here : ) These benches are only for the 2 cats, not people, so the weight load is light. Now it’s late, and I must hit the hay! Thank you for your help ~

-- - Cindy, texture freak -

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wseand

2754 posts in 2509 days


#9 posted 01-25-2011 08:20 PM

Sometimes I get caught up in technique. If you could post a picture of what you are thinking that would help. You want the top securely attached to the legs its only how you attach it that makes the difference.

These are very good corner brackets, the hole for the screw is larger than the screw which allows for movement.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

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Vasko

271 posts in 2153 days


#10 posted 01-25-2011 08:37 PM

Thanks for posting that pic – seeing the underside of projects is a huge help. I wish more of the projects showed photos of the underneath portions for those of us that are clueless!
I just posted a blog entry that shows the wood I bought. I forgot to add tags, but the title says something like “first lumber purchase”. I will try to add a photo here, to help show what I’m going to be working with.
I honestly lost track of what I want to do, there are so many choices to make – the walnut is so pretty I think I’ll just finish the slabs and add temp. legs so the cats can use them until I develop the knowledge and skill to make something nice. I want simple clean lines, as much open space below as possible (the total height can’t exceed 20”) and overall simplicity so the pattern and color of the walnut can be the focal point. I am an artist by education, majoring in painting and I want to paint unobtrusive birds on the end of each board in oils, with the details fading away into the grain pattern. The seller I bought the wood from was very generous and sent me an extra piece of live edge walnut about 12” x 14” to experiment on.
As I learn more about wood working, my questions can become more intelligent and to the point!
One more question – how the heck do you get your photos to post at the bottom of the text? – lol

-- - Cindy, texture freak -

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superstretch

1530 posts in 2160 days


#11 posted 01-25-2011 09:35 PM

When you insert the pictures, just move the text surrounded by !’s to the bottom, like:

! -img- !

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

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wseand

2754 posts in 2509 days


#12 posted 01-26-2011 04:07 AM

You know you could just make some shelf holders and use that to attach to the wall. Something decorative but wouldn’t take away from the walnut but enhance it. You can even buy some nice ones and stain them to match, but that wouldn’t be much fun. And oh yeah, if worse comes to worse you could just send me the walnut they are some real beauts. Your cats are way to spoiled.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

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Vasko

271 posts in 2153 days


#13 posted 01-26-2011 04:40 AM

If the boards were narrower, I was going to attach them to the wall as shelves below the window sills. They’re too wide for me to do that. I live in a mobile home and the wall studs are only 1” x 3”s, not very stout. Also, I want to be able to move them around, and keep them a few inches away from the actual window. The cats aren’t declwed and if the benches are set off from the wall, they can lay about & look out without picking at the screens. Pests. They are spoiled. I grew up with Collies, Dobermans, and my last (and best) dog was a German Shepherd. These are my first cats, and I gotta admit I adore them. It only took me a few years to get used to them. ; )

-- - Cindy, texture freak -

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