Stylish seating, made from construction lumber!
If you think this bench looks sturdy, you’re right; it’s brawny enough to withstand decades of hard use. But if you think it’s complicated, take a close look at the following pages. You’ll see how simple it is to turn inexpensive framing lumber into graceful curves.
Create the legs
Start with flat, straight boards—free of splits, twists, cupping and loose knots— and you’ll spare yourself a lot of head-scratching and extra work down the road. I chose Douglas fir lumber, but any 1-1/2-in.-thick stock will do. If you have trouble finding perfect 2x12s for leg material, purchase extra lumber so you can cut around the defects.
To create a single bench, cut the four 22-in. leg blanks (A) to length; the ends need to be square, so cut carefully. Pair up your boards so when one is laid atop the other, there is little or no gap along the ends and edges. If you flip or rotate the boards, you might find the perfect fit. Try to have any defects fall in the areas of the wood you’ll be cutting away as you form the legs.
Build the legs
Mark out your leg template on 1/4-in. plywood as shown in Photo 1. Cut just outside the line with a fine-tooth jigsaw blade, then use a belt sander to sand right up to the line.
Use your template to mark the leg shape on all four leg parts (A). With the marks facing up, lightly dampen one board—polyurethane glue needs moisture to work—then apply the glue in squiggles across the main body of the leg. Use a putty knife to spread it slightly beyond the edges of your template marks. Polyurethane glue is waterproof, and with tightly glued seams there’s less chance of moisture working its way between the boards.
Place a second board—marked side up—over your glued board (Photo 2) and align the edges. Install two or three screws in the waste material area, and then apply clamps—the more, the better— around the perimeter (Photo 3). Add more screws as needed. The glue will foam as it goes to work. Keep your boards clamped together for at least two hours; I left mine overnight for good measure. Repeat this procedure for the other leg blank.
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July - August 2019