Zuni Bench

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Blog entry by cowboy posted 02-13-2008 03:50 PM 993 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First of all I want to thank people for the kind words concernign this piece.Since there has been several questions about it I thought I’d take this time to talk about it.
This piece has an interesting story about how it came to be.I had just finished a really large piece,very involved,very over the top(I’m lookin for a picture now),and wanted a break from the large project and gave myself a self imposed design project,build and design something with this small amount of wood that could be built in 3 days.Why a bench?Why not,absolutely no reasoning taking place here at all,no drawing board just fun in my shop with no real path just the freedom to explore and see where I wander.So I had some pretty nice figured maple,not startling but nice for a seat,some mahogany for the legs and walnut for the back.Great until after I”d already cut out the pieces,motised and tennoned parts,done a major part of the shaping I realized that I had mis-measured the amount of walnut I had which presented a real problem(remember only to use the wood set aside).So That’s how the center piece came into being it was the only way all the walnut was long enough,and I started liking it more and more as I looked at it in the rough.
Now to the questions,the legs on the front and the back are shaped with curves,the front legs towards the front of the piece and the back legs towards the back,both legs are cut out of a 8/4 piece of wood,planed down to about 1 3/4 from a board about 8” wide with a grain pattern sweeping in the direction of the curves.
Yes the seat is shaped,hopefully to something that is comfortable to most people which also gives the seat a lot more visual interest and catches the light’s rays to create more interest.
The finish is unfortunately not anything I can take any great pride in as a mystery formula of mine tucked away in a secret recess of my brain,it’s a 2 part finish from General Finishes.The 1st part is Seal A Cell clear,the rest of the coats are Arm R Seal semi gloss,with a final coat of Howard’s Feed Wax.I’ve used finish almost totally for about 15 years and the reason is very simple for me,since I ‘ve started using this people love it,the touch it,stroke it,marvel at it and there has never been a single problem,not one in an awfully lot of pieces.
This piece was a real delight as it put me back into a space I hadn’t been in mentally for a long time and was almost magical for me,even solving the one walnut board being too short was fun for me.I was fortunate and this piece has been in more magazines,newspapers and won more awards than any piece I have ever built.
The best part about it for me was it was not a plan,it was truly just one of those wonderful journey’s that many of us experience in our shop’s, when money is not an issue but to just start down a trail of wonder and discovery that for me was really a delightful experience.So when I think about how it came about it’s no surprise that something special came about.

“enjoy the Journey”

2 comments so far

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 4305 days

#1 posted 02-13-2008 04:33 PM

Yet another example of how a goof can turn into the most interesting details on a piece. Thanks for sharing this. I really loved that zuni bench, and it’s cool to know how it came about :)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4383 days

#2 posted 02-13-2008 10:20 PM

Just a suggestion Cowboy, but you might repost the picture here. Not everyone will have gone to the other posting. It is a great bench…, I did go there.

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