Fence-Post Bench

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Project by jinkyjock posted 07-13-2014 04:20 PM 2692 views 8 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi Guys,
this Bench is my 2nd (Lumberjocks) Project,
and as in my 1st project I have used re-cycled wood.
This project began when my great-niece came to me with the words all we woodworkers love/hate…. “Uncle Jim, I was wondering if you could possibly….....”
The outcome was a wooden bench.
She was on a “Limited” budget so I spoke to her father, my nephew Stephen, who is in construction,
and he came up with 8 fence-posts (pic.2) for the build.
They were pretty rough to begin with, but after 1st stage planing I discovered they were Poplar.
All the design details were left up to me, so I decided to try a build that incorporated the natural dimensions of the posts.
Also, not being aware of their history,
over-enthusiastic stock removal, or multiple small components,
was a can of worms I did not wish to open.

Three full posts and a full post cut for inserts were dimensioned for the seat.
The material was okay for tear-out on my jointer,
but in thicknessing mode it was a nightmare, with bad tear-out.
At one point I stripped my cutterhead, sharpened the blades, and re-set both blades in the head.
This worked to a point, but a lot of hand-planing was needed all through the project.

The 1st pic is of the housing to hold the inserts.
I set the depth on my Circular Saw and kerfed and then chiseled out the housing.
2nd pic is of seat in my Plano clamps.

Next was the legs.
Each leg assembly is roughly one full post
Joint were cut on table-saw, finished with block-plane, shoulder-plane and chisel.

The back-rest assembly was 2 (half-width) rips of a full post.
Front and side rails were same.
All of the joints are a half-lap cut on my table-saw and finished with plane & chisel.
I used half-lap joints fixing back-rest to seat.
This was glued and screwed in position, and then after curing screws were withdrawn,
it was then re-drilled and screws replaced with Hardwood dowelling.

As to finishing.
I had given my great-niece some options,
and as she already had some dark furniture in the vicinity of the bench,
she decided on a Walnut finish.
I applied 2 coats of exterior Walnut stain,
2 coats of Gloss Yacht Varnish,
and a final coat of exterior Satin Varnish.

All in all I am relatively pleased how this project turned out.
It has given me the opportunity to revisit some nearly forgotten techniques,
and give me some practice before I am let loose on some nice Oak I have been storing.
More importantly however, she is delighted with the outcome.
Thank you for looking,
and please feel free to comment or ask questions on any aspect of my build.

9 comments so far

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 3414 days

#1 posted 07-13-2014 04:39 PM

Unique design,well executed and nicely finished.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Grapevine's profile


34 posts in 4484 days

#2 posted 07-13-2014 07:04 PM

Really nice work! I like that you gave us some costuction pics as well. Almost hate to see it go outside….

-- Jeff - Grapevine, Texas - Tight budget = creativity, resourcefulness and a clean scrap bin...

View calisdad's profile


334 posts in 2478 days

#3 posted 07-13-2014 09:12 PM

Nice job- and write up.

-- Groveland, CA.

View jinkyjock's profile


488 posts in 2542 days

#4 posted 07-13-2014 10:22 PM

Thank you Ken, Jeff and calisdad,
for your positive comments.
Quick update of 2 more pics of bench in-situ at my great-niece’s house.

Cheers, Jinky (James).

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3260 days

#5 posted 07-14-2014 02:07 AM

Beautiful jointery and very attractive bench—outstanding craftsmanship supported by a well written and photographed description of the process. Thanks for sharing.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View jinkyjock's profile


488 posts in 2542 days

#6 posted 07-14-2014 10:10 AM

Thank you John,
your positive input is always much appreciated.
Cheers, Jinky (James).

View Roger's profile


21047 posts in 3772 days

#7 posted 07-14-2014 11:15 AM

That came out beautifully

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View CFrye's profile


11145 posts in 2808 days

#8 posted 07-24-2014 01:09 PM

Beautifully finished, Jinky!

-- God bless, Candy

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4562 days

#9 posted 07-31-2014 06:20 PM

Cool design I likey

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

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