The Next (Oficial) Project – Dining Table Bench

In my mind, the next project is the back stool from the Anarchists Design Book but SWMBO is concerned (rightly so) that the planned dinning chairs may take a while.  As a result she has requested that the next project be a bench for the dining table. So while I will be sneaking in work on the back stool, the official next project is a bench.

Because the plan is to build a set of 6 chairs the bench will eventually need a new home so it will be sized to act as a bench near the front door, under the coat rack.  This means the bench seat needs to be fairly narrow (less than 12 inches) and no longer than 4’10”.  After doing some searches on (which has become one of my favorite inspiration sources) I found this pair of french oak benches  which fit the bill.  The stated width is 10.5 inches, the style will go well with the contemporary shaker dinning table and the overall feel of the house.  Most importantly, we both like the look.

Dimensions/proportions took a bit of finagling.  I printed out the end on image and laid out the sizing using the stated dimensions of the piece.  I assumed a 1.25 inch thick two inch wide legs and a 1.5 inch wide stretcher/foot rail but the totals would not work out.  Then I realized the height of the base was equal to 13 times the thickness of the stretcher/foot rail; 18 (estimated base height) divided by 13 resulted in a rail thickness of 1.3846 inches which was an odd dimension for what was certainly a factory produced piece.  Then I realized I was being an Imperialist (well American Standard) fool and the dimension was likely 1.37795 inches, otherwise known as 3.5 cm.  With that everything fell into place.


Making some assumptions regarding human error (a common requirement in the data analysis work) I think the piece is 49 cm tall and 65.5 cm wide.  I’ll need make a sketch-up model to finalize the ratio and convert to inches.

The goal is to make this an inexpensive project and given its intended uses, I decided to look at inexpensive hard woods known for being hard (you know what I mean).  The inspiration piece is made of that wonderful fine grained french oak so red oak would not look right.  When I purchased the wood for my back stool I had purchased some 8/4 ash, mostly because it is the cheaper than red oak (I assume this is due to the ash die off happening in the USA right now) and there was a piece with straight looking grain.  Ash has tight grain and takes stain well, plus I have so stock perfectly suited to making the legs.  The plan is to build the base out of ash and decide on the seat when I find the right material.

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