Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Bench

"Wouldn't it be nice if we had a bench in the entryway? Maybe with a somewhat rustic look? I saw some on the antique market in Watsonville, but didn't quite like what they had." 
--- Beautiful wife a few weeks ago.
Mission accepted.

Sadly she also mentioned there are many vendors at that antique market and she didn't remember the stall or the name of the vendor that had the stuff she liked. Alright, time for Plan B: If you can't buy it, you make it. I have "vast" wood-working experience (a train layout and a coffee table), how hard could it possibly be to build this:

A frame. 3 pullouts for shoes. Some nice finish. Shouldn't take me more than 2 days. ... Hah! Obviously, I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

Last week I got a sheet of 3/4" plywood, decided to stop messing with the computer model, instead just used a hand-drawn sketch, and went to work with the portable circular saw. The cuts were even fairly straight.

Once the workbench was cleaned up and the garage sufficiently organized to have space to work, I went into full-out production mode, drilled, filed, sanded, planted dowel holes and fairly quickly had the first two pieces together ...

... when I was reminded the hard way that "fairly straight" is not good enough when you build furniture. Thank god for saw dust to fill the gaps.

At roughly the same time I admitted to myself that my woodworking skills are not sufficiently well developed to build what I had planned and have a chance of it looking halfway decent, and this thing was going much slower than I expected. No surprise really: overboarding engineer's optimism and overconfidence at work here.

Alright, change of plans. I move the opening to the top and the seat doubles as lid. I'll worry about hinges when I get that far.

Construction continued.

I had a field day with saw dust and glue to fill the remaining gaps.

Looking at the seat / lid, I realized that it better have rounded edges. Hmmmm, a friend has a router table, but they are going on vacation tomorrow. I barged in with a short email, and the next day I was busy with the seat edges.

While at it, the box body and legs got rounded edges, too.
Now, on to the hinges. With Tatjana's help I got them mounted nicely (if a little crooked, but I trust you won't tell anyone...)

Minwax wood stain. Oh my that stuff stinks to heaven. And it was too cold to work outside, though looking back it would have been a good idea. I ventilated the garage to not succumb to the fumes. A respirator would have been useful and will be used next time.
The stain transformed a rather bland piece of plywood into a nice looking box.

I finished up with two coats of Minwax Polycrylic Satin to protect the wood. I probably should add a 3rd coat on the seat.

She seemed to like the result when confronted with it at Christmas.


Patricia said...

Yes indeed, she liked the result a lot. Thank you <3

Paga said...

I played with woodworking a while back, and while I admit that creating a few pieces (including a cruise missile proof cat house with asphalt shingles) taught me a few things, it was sometimes as stressful as it was relaxing. :)

Since I've been around computers for way too long, my brain (not me!) demands computer-like precision out of real-world applications. This is a recipe for madness when dealing with wood without all kinds of large and expensive tools (like a planer).

Nevertheless, your box looks very nice! :) Congratulations. :)