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Monday, September 6, 2010

Wooden Bench

I built a wooden bench to accompany my dining table. I built it out of matching pine wood, to be as long as possible while fitting within the legs of the table. I finished it with only high-gloss polyurethane.

All sizes are actual dimensions, not lumber-yard "measurements".
  • one 57 3/4" x 11 1/4" x 3/4" seat board
  • two 16" x 11 3/4" x 3/4" leg boards
  • one 51" x 3 1/3" x 3/4" support board

  1. I used a power sander to round off all the corners on the seat board. I wanted a nice pretty smooth round shape, and I ended up with an imperfect outcome, but it was pretty good. I also sanded all the board surfaces, especially around knots. I wiped the board off with a damp paper towel.
  2. Knowing that I wanted to complete this task in minimum time, I began applying layers of polyurethane at this point. Although it would be undesirable to drill through some layers later, when I needed to construct everything, I just didn't want to wait to construct the entire thing before beginning the finishing process. If I were not pressed for time, I would have completed construction, then applied poly to the whole thing.
  3. The leg boards were the only part which required any finesse, by which I mean anything other than straight cuts.
    • I cut two 16" lengths of board and clamped them together, using other thin boards to protect the leg boards
    • Using the best tools I could muster, a power jigsaw and a power sander, I finished the ends so they were exactly the same shape.
    • I drew a curve with a pencil on one end and cut both boards with the jigsaw. This gave shape to the bottom of the legs, forming one little leg on each edge of the board.
    • Measuring two inches from each edge of the other end of the board, I drew a straight line along the hypotenuse to the outside bottom edge. Actually I drew the line to a couple inches above the bottom, so that the little leg on each edge would have a bit of a square to it. Although I desperately wanted to cut that nice straight line with a circular saw, I could not do so safely with my limited tools, and I instead cut it with a jigsaw, and smoothed it with a sander.
    • I heavily sanded all edges to make them as smooth and nice as possible.
  4. Creating the support bar required only a simple straight cut.
  5. I assembled the legs and support bar first by drilling through the legs into the support bar with a power drill. For all screws on the bench I drilled the hole, then flanged the hole with a countersink bit, drove a long lag screw, and covered the end with putty. Holding the parts for the substructure was tricky because I had no good clamps to work with, so I had to sort of hold it together and hope for the best.
  6. I started applying finish to the base structure. Whenever a layer was almost dry, I would add another layer.
  7. Careful not to touch the most recent almost-dry layer of poly, I moved the seat board into place and used a measuring tape to center it on the support structure.
  8. I put three lag screws through the seat board into the support board.
  9. I put one pair of lag screws through the seat board into each of the leg boards.
  10. I layered poly onto all surfaces, especially the top surface, until it was plenty thick and hard.
  11. The bench was slightly tippy, so I sanded two legs until it sat flat on the ground; then I put felt feet on the bottom so it would not scratch the wood floors.

1 comment:

  1. You got a kitty cat! Good on you, what is the name? Rescue or kitten?

    ReplyDelete