Back to the Bench

First off, an apology. An apology to the large pile of neglected walnut in the corner of the shop (ok, let’s call it what it is…garage). I walk past that pile at least 3 times per day and get pangs of guilt every time I look at it. I made a promise to myself that this wouldn’t happen, that this project wouldn’t just become a dust covered pile of clutter, that I’d make the time to get this thing done and that the momentum I started with would keep on pushing me through.

I kinda failed to deliver on that promise over the past several months. Let’s just say that life happened and now I’m back with renewed vim and vigor and ready to push forward. Truth be told, I’ve been wanting to get on with this for the last month or so but I also wanted to build a new bench to work on before I dove back in. I finished up the new bench last week, nothing special, just a laminated plywood affair with a reasonable quick release vise at one end. It will more than suffice.

Here’s a not so great picture of it…Bench

After completing the bench, I finally got around to making some headway on the seat. I had previously rough cut 5 seat boards with the intention of making a fancy contoured seat. This involves beveling the edge of each board and then gluing them up. You can get the general idea from the pine prototype I made a while back here .

Long story short, that idea was quickly curtailed by the annoying fact that if I beveled the edges of the seat boards, I’d lose sufficient width as to make the final seat too narrow. The one saving grace is that I figured that out ahead of time and didn’t have to throw a mantrum when i finally discovered my boo boo down the line. Looks like it’ll be a plain old flat bottom seat for this one.

Here’s a pretty picture of the seat blanks mostly milled and ready to be rough cut (yes, I had to wipe them down with mineral spirits to see what it may sort of eventually look like once it’s finished…)photo 2

That’ll do for now, next up will be initial rough cutting of the seat boards, which I hope i don’t screw up too badly since there really is no going back from here on out…


~ by Paul Dalton on April 12, 2013.

4 Responses to “Back to the Bench”

  1. I can’t tell from the photo, and you’ve probably heard this a million times, but is the bench top flush with the legs or is there an overhang? I’m a big proponent of having the benchtop flush with the legs cause it makes clamping a lot easier. The bench looks great, plywood is a great top, it’s nice and flat and stable.

    • Hey Bill, there is an overhang of about 6″ on the bench top. I actually did that with the mindset of making clamping easier, I’d never even thought of making the top flush with the legs to aid clamping. Do you find specific benefits of having the legs flush with the top or is it just your preference?



      • I think the nicest thing about it is you can clamp a board to the leg and the bench top at the same time., also, with your face vice the flush leg would also add support to any long board you are clamping with it. Hope this helps.

  2. Paul, the bench looks great. As between the comments from Bill and yourself, I understand what Bill is saying. It all comes down to what works for you. I have been anxious to see this bench since you showed me the drawings. I will see it soon.

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