Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Rustic Bench

A while back ago I was pointed in the direction of a wonderful blog called Knock Off Wood. Anna, the owner of the blog, lives in Alaska and writes plans to make knock off's of top name furniture for pennies on the dollar. Working in education never made anyone rich, so of course this idea appealed to me on a large level. The last time we constructed something that wasn't shelves for our house, was the kids sandbox and playhouse back in 2002, and I didn't do any of the saw work. Still, I am determined to build shelves for my craft room, so I can move the rest of my stuff in there and get going on the office, so I decided I needed to start with something smaller and learn.

I found plans for a bench, which seemed like a nice easy place to start, and The Boy™ and I headed to Home Depot to get some lumber. Back around Easter, knowing that I was going to be building this bench, and having looked at the plans, he bought me a Jigsaw to notch out the legs. Nothing says love like power tools. In order to actually build the bench, the workshop needed a little cleaning, which I was NOT going to be doing, as I didn't make the mess. The Boy™ took a week off at the end of May, and managed to clean off the work bench and an area so that I could get my bench built.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon in early June, we headed out to the shop. He taught me how to use the radial arm saw, and then hung around to make sure I didn't wack off any fingers. I taught myself how to use the jigsaw, and then practiced making notches until I was sure I could do it without screwing it up. (so much for an easy first project). The plans had called for an incorrect amount of lumber, so a trip to Home Depot was in order, and at the end of the day all the lumber was cut, and the notches were made.

He took this past week off as well, and the other day we headed out to the shop again. The next step in the project was cutting angles out of the boards for the bottom. This took a while, as he is a "line it up and wing it" kind of guy when it comes to angles, and I wanted to learn how to do them correctly. It took some time, but I finally figured out if we held the board the other way than we were, then we got the right angle. The last hurdle, or so I thought at the time, was getting the top board cut. Our radial arm saw doesn't cut boards as wide as the top (11.5"), so on Friday he drove it up the hill to a friend, who cut it for us.

Because I didn't know any better, I thought attaching the top would be a piece of cake. It turned out to be a lot trickier than I thought, and it didn't help that I was tired and hungry while I was doing it. The angle I had to hold the drill at to pre-drill the screw holes was awkward, and The Boy™ offered to help.   Because this was my project, and I needed to learn all these things, his help was often limited to suggestions and demonstrations on scrap wood. Because I was tired and frustrated, I agreed to his help. He took the drill, fired it up into the hole I was working on, and busted out the side of the board. Fortunately for him, it's the inside of the bottom apron board. Fortunately for him, I was too tired to be angry, and recognized that it was a mistake, and he can't do "straight" and it was partly my fault for letting him help. More importantly, wood putty is a grand thing, and did I mention it was on the inside under board and no one would ever see it? That's what saved him. He felt horrible enough, he didn't need me making him feel worse. This is what the bench looks like, sitting in the spot where it will live. I am in the process of sanding the whole thing, which is taking more time than I thought it would, and then I need to wood putty all the screw holes, and stain and seal the whole thing. I hope to be done by next weekend.

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