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I have been on a 5 and 6-board bench kick lately. We are a "no shoes in the house" family and there was a great spot right by the front door to take your shoes off, but no place to sit down to do it. I decided a rustic little 5-board was in order. I spent five hours from the initial sketch design to putting on the final coat of polyurethane over a week's time. No nails or screws were used, just through-mortises, wedges and dowels.

I then built a large bench for our dining table and one for our entry-way with a shoe shelf, per my sweet wife's request. I have a couple of saw benches for the GROP (garage/shop combination), and 2 narrow ones for my office all cut out as well, but not put together. These benches are traditionally "furniture of necessity" and not meant to be fine furnishings, but I think that there is still beauty in their simplicity and usefulness (useful and helpful are the highest Talley-family compliments). Additionally, they are simple, cheap to build, and lend themselves to hand-tool only construction.

More benches, pictures and story here: http://drivenoutside.com/blog/?tag=bench

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This looks like a much cleaner idea than the wooden cubbies I was planning on building. I really like the shelf under that bench to double stack shoes.
 

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Inspiring work…did you derive your sketches from an actual bench, or did you create it from scratch?

I really like the one with the shelf.
 

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Nope, no single piece of furniture was the model. I grew up with a carpenter father and grandparents that were farmers and there must have been 20 of these around in all different sizes used as stools, improvised workbenches, saw horses, plant stands, etc… 5-6 board benches have been around for a LONG time. I added the through tenons and the detailed cutouts on the feet just because it makes me happy and makes them really strong. The no nail or screw thing is just a want as well - not a requirement. I also eased the top edges with a 3/16 bead - Sandusky hand plane. I will scan in a couple of notebook sketches this afternoon and include with this post
 

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I like the benches but like the sketches as much. Reminds me of some of the old Carlyle Lynch measured drawings that used to appear in the early Fine WW mags. Lots of good ideas there. I have to make 4 benches for a camp cookhouse and like the long version you made for your dining table. Thanks for posting
 
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