A peek at what we make
My daughter’s school has a bench near the front office where they attach small engravings to the top rail as teachers and staff retire. They include the person’s name and the dates they worked at the school. The top rail of that bench is now full, and with 6 more retirees this year they asked me if I would make them a new bench.
The old one was Walnut with a Maple top rail, which they wanted the new one to be as well. After designing a bench for them and getting approval, I got to work.
This is the first bench I ever made. The school gets extremely high humidity, so I wanted to be sure the bonds would hold securely over the years. All of the pieces are fitted with mortise and tenon joints except for the seat slats, which were notched out to create a more secure lap joint over the supports. Gorilla Glue was used throughout to make sure there was no movement in the joints that might, over time, start to make them loosen.
I didn’t want to use any nails or screws. My wife asked me why, and all I could say was if you have to ask why then you wouldn’t understand.
The design was meant to give the center the ‘heaviest’ feeling with lighter ends. I gave the top rail a curve that followed through into the side rails. The backrest slats go from thinner on the ends to thickest in the middle. The seat slats mirror this, but in a front-to-back pattern of thinner to larger and back to thinner.
The arm rests have a taper on the inner edge about 6” before they reach the back. The front legs also have tapers on the 2 inner sides.
When I dropped it off, the Principal and staff were beyond thrilled 🙂 The Principal went to my daughter’s class and took her down to the bench so I could snap a shot of the two of them together. He is among those retiring and will be very missed.
All in all this took a bit over a month, with the last 3 weeks being extremely busy. Honestly, it was worth every minute.