Sunday, September 11, 2016

Finished Benches in place

Here some pictures of the completed benches in their final places. I still have several of the smaller benches to stain/wax but they'll live elsewhere

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


The wax is a tinted mahogany wax from mylands. It has a strong smell going on. The overall effect is remarkable. It adds sort of an orange tint to the oil stain that's reddish, and wood that's brownish. It ends up being fairly dark, but you can still see the grain, and it evens out the color differences between the walnut sap-wood and heart-wood.

Here are some pictures of three identical benches: Bare, Oiled, and Oiled and Waxed

With the wax, the wood almost seems to glow from the inside, which is a neat effect. Here is a picture of a completed long bench and short bench in place


I'm going with a staining regime that I've done before with great success on the two most recent big projects. Walnut wood stained with two coats of cherry danish oil (watco) and then finished with two to three coats of a tinted mohagany wax.

Here are some pictures right after the danish oil is applied. It looks gorgeous when wet. The tone get flatter and less rich when it dries but the wax brings that back for the most part.

Before and After Danish oil

Some pictures before stain

Here are just a bunch of pictures of the benches assembled before sanding and staining

First gluing assembly

With everything cut, time to start gluing up. The finger joint is a very tight joint, and I saw some piece of advice online to water down the glue (just simple wood glue) to make it thinner. That seemed to work nicely for me. I glued up one of the smaller benches, which took about two hours. That sped up a little as I did the others, but not much.

Here are the pieces before assembly

And partially assembled

And fully assembled

Routing the finger joints

It's been a while since I updated the blog with my progress. Things went so smoothly with the building I just plowed forward. I'm nearly done now, but here's a rehashing of my progress.

The next step after I successfully routed the dados for the shelves was to rout the finger joints (box joints). I got a nice new router blade for this: an upcut spiral bit. A bit of fussing with the router jig, and I was churning out finely milled pieces like this test piece, seen here with some stain on it

With the test successful, I made quick work of all the remaining routing

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Cutting dados and staining the sides

This week I made some good progress on the benches. I had made a jig for my router to cut a dado in the interior sides to accept the L-shaped shelves. So, this week I used the jig and cut all the dados, which was pleasingly easy. I also sanded and stained the inside faces of the side pieces, since those will be very hard to reach after everything is glued together.

The two last images are just a dry fit. The top is placed on lightly to hold things together. In the final assembly the top will be put together with a box joint. More on that in the next update

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cuts made

One full day of work with my miter saw and table saw, and just about all the pieces for the benches are cut to size. The next big (BIG) part of the project is to cut the box joints with the router and jig.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Summer Bench project begins

It's been about three years since my last pure-carpentry project, and it has been very exciting to start in on these benches.

I bought a lot of walnut from B&B Heartwoods just north of Ann Arbor - the same place I've been getting my wood from for 10 years.

The plan is to make two of the long benches and five of the short benches. The two benches will sit under two windows in my sun room and the short ones will be put together to function as a coffee table and then be available for extra seating at the dining table when needed

Here are some preliminary pictures of the walnut. The first step is to glue up panels that will be trimmed to the exact 12 inch widths. Then I'll cut the precise lengths.