Making a bench

I made a couple benches when my wife and I were dating that were just the right size for the two of us to sit by the fire together. They've served well as seats in many kingdoms, for over a dozen years, but as they were made of cheap shelving pine, they're a little worse for wear, and need to be replaced. Here you can see some of the details, like the chip carving I did in them, the dark stain that makes them nearly invisible in the dark (they function as a primitive sobriety test) and the split which formed in one after Zoe and I got caught in a downpour at Three Kings.

Since I loathe modern furniture at events it's clear I needed to make some new seats. My recent obsession with Van der Weyden pushed me toward these paintings for my research:

I picked up some oak and new saw blades at Home Depot, and set to work. I decided to inset the rails to reduce warping and make things fit together more snugly. It ended up taking a while, but the chisel clean up was sort of therapeutic.
A clean slot ready for a rail.
Patterning the legs. I based the shape on the bench Van der Weyden's Virgin is sitting on. It has shoulders for the rails and the rectangles at the top fit into the seat.

In the background you can see the seat (we're looking at it from below), the slot for the rails, the rails, and the legs.
Test fitting a seat.
The assembled design:

I still have to peg the rails and the legs together, but that should only take a few minutes. In all, it was a fun and quick project.


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