Friday, June 21, 2013

Shaker bench, the roof and an aircraft fighter

As described in a previous post, I have been trying to make a Shaker inspired bench for a friend of the family who helped train our pony to enter a trailer.
Since the roofing project has moved into the tiling phase, it has left me with a little spare time e.g. for projects like this.

The bench is inspired from a book by John G Shea describing a meeting house bench which as far as I remember is from the Hancock Shakers.
It will be used outside on a riding court, so I decided that I would try to avoid metal in the building.
The lower parts of the legs have been added to give stability on a soft ground to avoid it tipping over. In addition to this, it can serve as a help for smaller children to mount their horses. So it is important that it is a stable bench.

The lower legs are mortised and drawbored. The top of the legs are also mortised into the top. These have received some wedges to secure them.
The braces are what first caught my eye on the bench. They add greatly to the stability. I can't remember the correct English term for how they are mounted. So I hope the pictures will give an idea if anyone would want to build something similar.
I even added the Roman numerals below the seat as my sign of a well finished project.

The bricklayers have started to lay the tiles on the roof, and the progress is steady. This means that my role has been greatly reduced compared to when the carpenters were active with the sub roof. I have stacked the tiles on the roof so they could lay them, and generally tried to help wherever I could.
Today they had to tile around a Velux window, so they didn't need very many tiles. Therefore I was able to finish the bench instead. Actually it was a lot more pleasant compared to carrying tiles.

Tonight Asger (7) asked if we could make some more soldering.
He felt he was ready for the next logical step after a ship.. An aircraft fighter!
So in honour of Snakey and other people related to fighter aircrafts I have added the pictures of the finished plane.
Luckily for me, Asger didn't have any specific model in mind, so I cut out some wings, a tail and a cockpit and found a nose cone. I believe I have seen a plane once with a tail like this, but I don't know the make or model of it?

The finished bench.

The legs mortised into the seat showing the wedges.

The leg braces "dovetailed" into the seat.

2013 (a productive year so far)

The mortises of the lower part of a leg.

The easy side of the house is halfway now.

Asgers aircraft fighter flying East.

An flying back West.


  1. Very nice bench, indeed. Did you put a finish on it? I am always scared to build outdoor furniture because one bench we had (bought) completely disintegrated from being outdoors. Of course, it was joined with metal fasteners, though.

  2. Hi Brian.
    I didn't put any finish on. I considered to add linseed oil, but I was afraid that it would take too long to dry so it could ruin the pants of those who is going to use it.
    Larch is naturally impregnated, so according to a table, it should have a theoretically lifespan in open air of 40-90 years provided it does not get into contact with earth. Even if it only lasts for 20 years I think it will be OK.

  3. Your fighter looks somewhat like the F102 Delta, Delta obviously a reference to the wing shape. Please keep in mind that my knowledge of fighter planes is not nearly as good as it was when I was 13.

    I think your bench looks incredible. I love exposed joinery. Already you are inspiring me to get back to the work bench just so I can keep up with you. I've never drawbored a joint. I know that some swear by it and some say it is not necessary if you are using glue. As far as linseed oil is concerned, I think it has become my favorite finish. I've never had an issue with it drying and at the same time I've never used it on anything that a person would sit on.
    I have a question that maybe you could answer. I am planning on painting the new tool chest and finishing the inside with linseed oil. I was then going to wax the inside with a few coats but I'm not sure if waxing over linseed oil is considered a good idea. So if that's something you could help me with I would appreciate it. And before I forget, your new roof is looking great!!

  4. Hi Bill

    Thanks for the nice comments. I'll check out the F102. I got to think of today, that I could also have been inspired by the old SAAB Draken airplanes.
    Drawboring takes a little longer than regular pegging, but I feel comfortable spending 2 minutes extra and ensuring that the joint is as strong as it can be.
    By the way, I also tend to put glue on both sides of a joint before putting it together. I once read an article in Popular Woodworking where they tested various ways of gluing up, and that was the winner as far as I remember.
    I have no idea if you can put wax on top of a coat of linseed oil. I haven't even reached square one when it comes to finishing. You could try to ask Brian Eve at Toolerable. He knows a lot more about finishing than I do.
    I think that if it is boiled linseed oil, then wax will be fine. but if it is normal linseed oil then it might not be a good idea because it takes a lot longer to dry.


    1. Ha. You knew a post with "fighter aircraft" in the title would catch my attention! I can sorta see the Draken in it, but definitely more F-102ish. As for the tail, it looks ala F-117.

      Also, beautiful work on the joinery!

    2. Thanks for the tip regarding the F117. I guess that is where I have seen the tail.
      I have always wondered, do you fly or do you maintain planes?

    3. Fly... right now I'm in training on the UK's Typhoon, but was F-16s prior.

    4. WOW. You just elevated yourself to super hero status in the mind of my boys!
      If you ever pass over Denmark, please feel free to use our gravel road to land on. I'll provide you with some nice elm boards to take back home (although I think you might have to switch over to Harriers to be able to land on a gravel road).

    5. You are too kind, Jonas.

      I have had no problem putting wax over BLO. That is how I finished the in-laws' breakfast table. It turned out beautiful. As a bonus, it is one of the easiest finishes you could do.

      My next experiment is to put BLO over wax. Only because I was in too big of a hurry to do BLO first. Flexner says it should work. I'll let you know what I find out. My guess is the BLO will soak in just fine, but I probably will need to re-wax when done.

  5. Your bench looks almost exactly like the one in Shea's book (pg 126) except yours has that bottom cross rail and the through mortises from the legs into the top. Yours looks nice.

    1. That is the one I tried to copy. Mine is a little shorter and the top is a bit thicker, but I have always liked the idea of the braces for the legs.
      I am glad you like it.

  6. I really like the leg brace and related joinery, looks like a lightweight way to add a lot of strength, and visual interest. Also, you certainly set a good example in getting children involved. I enjoyed reading about your soldering adventures. Metalwork isn't my strong suit, but I'll be on the look out for some scraps after your example!

  7. Thanks for the nice comment.
    The easiest to solder according to my experience is either Zinc or brass. Copper is easy to do as well, but it conducts heat very easily so earlier soldered joints can be melted again by accident.
    We made the pickle ourselves by adding small pieces of Zinc to hydrochloric acid. It gets hot and boils and emits Hydrogen, so you can ignite it to show your son that it is dangerous stuff.
    I have been plying with the idea of doing it an old bottle and use the hydrogen to inflate a balloon. But then again, acid is not for toying around.
    Good luck