Oak Bench

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Project by CaptainKlutz posted 07-02-2014 06:45 AM 2122 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Oak Bench
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Another project from my archives. Sorry, only have one picture due to the last minute nature of the work completed last fall.

Made six (6) of the above benches (2 seen waiting for the poly to dry) as props for a court room scene in a theatre play.

Used the cheapest hardwood (red oak) I could find to make them, as it was only 50 cents more per board foot than clear pine or DF available locally. I drew the plans on a post it note based on some sketch up models that popped up in quick search for benches. These had to fit in a 4’X8’ rolling stage platform and had a 46” long and 12” wide top, with 15” tall legs.
The seat is 5/4, the legs are 4/4. Once all the lumber was cut on table saw and edge rounded on the router table, assembly was fast. The legs and side braces are attached to the seat with pocket screws and glue. Wanted smooth seats, so I filled the seat surface grain with Behlen’s water based grain filler. Stained with a 2:1 blend of Behlen’s Nutmeg brown and American Walnut. Then completed the finish with 4 coats of Arm-R-Seal semi-gloss. All 6 took about a week to make and apply the finish.

FWIW – These were complete over kill for stage props, as normally one would see black painted 2X4’s and 2X12’s for something like this. The director asked if a stained real wood look was possible and this is what I came up with to fit the request. Additionally, I knew the cost/extra effort of using a decent hardwood and a durable finish would not be wasted as the kids also needed benches to replace the milk crates typically used during class room sessions. The benches currently get used daily in the studio & learning center, long after the 3 week run of the play finished.

Not pictured is also a pair of matching 4’WX 3’T square post banister railings that mounted on the front of the platform to complete the look of a court room. They were still tacky when they were taken to be mounted at the theatre.

Why stage props?
I have a teenage daughter that has been in triple threat (dance, sing, theatre) training for over 10 years now. She participates in 2-4 plays a year, and we are very proud of her efforts. For those that don’t know, children’s plays are primarily sponsored by parent volunteer activities. LOTS of volunteering. We are usually required to donate a minimum of 10-15 hours to each event. This can be as an usher at one of 2-3 dozen shows, back stage helping kids, creating/sewing costumes (my wife’s typical donation), or (you guessed it) set production. I am more of wood worker than a carpenter. My wife knows I really don’t enjoy the “meatball” carpentry of 2X4’s covered in corrugated paper painted by teens or tweeners to make set backgrounds in the smaller theatre groups and she usually won’t donate my wood working services. But this time OUR daughter was given the lead role in a local production of Legally Blonde, and SWMBO (and unknown to me) volunteered my entire wood shop as needed for this play. I found out I was helping with several set pieces as I walked into the set piece work assignment meeting that I thought was a standard “pick up the kid” trip. :(

So – Besides the 6 benches, and 2 banisters not shown; I also produced over the course of ~2.5 weeks (and with the help of another stage dad due the size of the pieces) – (4) 4X8 rolling platforms (plywood and 2X4’s with casters), plus one 8X8 curved front platform with 2X4 wall mounted, trimmed out and working double French door on top. Since I didn’t have to paint or decorate the other crude stage parts, I didn’t grab any pictures of the set pieces. Which is probably best, as any decent work worker would cringe when they hear the directors instructions: “Don’t sweat the details, it only has to look good to the people sitting more than 30-40 feet away”. As you can tell by this and my other projects, that is not how I like to do it. :)

Thanks for looking.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

5 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26411 posts in 4261 days

#1 posted 07-02-2014 11:17 AM

that is a gorgeous bench. I love the color and finish!!..and the design!!!.................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View doitforfun's profile


199 posts in 2763 days

#2 posted 07-02-2014 11:40 AM

That is an awesome donation to the school. It’s great that they get use far beyond the play. Great job!

-- Brian in Wantagh, NY

View mmh's profile


3688 posts in 4878 days

#3 posted 07-02-2014 01:36 PM

Nicely done, they have a simple elegance to them. Your daughter must be just as proud to have you contribute to her efforts as much as you and your wife are proud of her “triple threat” despite the intrusions and inconveniences.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4750 days

#4 posted 07-02-2014 06:45 PM

Very cool, my son is in drama and spends lots of time over at the school during the rehearsals, prepping and stuff he wants me to help next year but hasn’t got the ok from the teachers yet, I’m looking forward to it.

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View Kelster58's profile


759 posts in 1696 days

#5 posted 04-21-2018 02:23 AM

Very nice….GREAT job!!

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

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