Mission Style Bench

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Project by David Bareford posted 03-11-2014 04:18 AM 2764 views 12 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this bench as a “practice run” for the matching dining table project I’ve been gearing up to do. It’s made from red oak salvaged from ship’s “dunnage,” or the rough, non-squared beams they use to separate cargo containers and other materials. The third picture shows an example one of the beams in its raw state before I starting working it. I work strictly with hand tools, and luckily I wasn’t on a time deadline…

The joinery is mostly drawbored mortise and tenon with floating panels for the benchtop. The surfaces were smoothed but intentionally left with the character born of the wood’s history. The pictures show the bench first in its dry-fit state, and then after glue-up and finishing. It was finished with Minwax Red Oak stain and seven coats of Wipe-On Poly. (By the way, the white area in the final picture is a reflection from my flash, and not something in the finish itself.)

The bench also opens up to reveal a shallow storage area (much like a piano bench). Since this bench is for our dining table, i thought it would be convenient to have a nearby place to store placemats, tablecloths, and other table accessories.

7 comments so far

View MisterBill's profile


411 posts in 3104 days

#1 posted 03-11-2014 11:19 AM

That bench looks like it must weigh a ton! I like the through tenon on the bottom. Quite a transformation from the rough material to the finished product. Nice job!!

View David Bareford's profile

David Bareford

66 posts in 2459 days

#2 posted 03-11-2014 12:49 PM

Let’s just say it’ll take more than a stiff breeze to blow it away…

And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the top weighs more than the entire lower frame! Delicate, graceful furniture is not my forte at present.

Thanks for the view!

View R_Stad's profile


428 posts in 2695 days

#3 posted 03-11-2014 04:30 PM

Nice job David. Came out great. Hand tools make it that much more impressive. Like your sawhorse and shaving bench. Keep up the good work.

-- Rod - Oregon

View moerdogg's profile


15 posts in 2568 days

#4 posted 03-12-2014 02:19 AM

Looks great! Much as I love hand tools for finishing work, I can’t imagine making the whole thing that way. Great demonstration of the craft.

-- A poor workman blames his tools

View Richard's profile


11309 posts in 3885 days

#5 posted 03-13-2014 08:41 AM

Very Nice Indeed! Love The Design!


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3028 days

#6 posted 03-18-2014 03:38 PM

That’s beautiful and solid. Like the design especially the awesome joints and additional storage. Great job!

View BFamous's profile


344 posts in 973 days

#7 posted 04-26-2018 01:30 AM

Very nice design and execution!

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC ::

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