building a bench - part 1

I've been meaning to build a bench for quite some time.  First it was going to be entirely made from maple but then TechShop imploded and I lost my access to a wood shop.  Since then the design has changed several times.  Upon enrolling in welding and metal working classes at the local community college, I changed the frame to be mostly square tube steel.

 planed wood close-up

Then I realized that unless I wanted to waste a lot of money on materials while learning how to weld nice 90 degree corners, I should reconsider the frame.  The second and third design borrow heavily from an article about a reclaimed fence post bench

The second design relied on making sixteen precise bends in some flat bar stock.  Let's just say I ended up with some oddly bent flat bar and no bench legs.  The third and final design is once again going to rely on square tubing and right angles, but will require much less precision and should work just fine.

Despite the learning experiences and road blocks of the legs, the bench seat is looking great.  It's made up of seven two by fours that I bought at the Rebuilding Center.  They are old wall studs (really old.. one had a square nail in it and they actually measure 2" by 4") set on edge and laminated together with excessive amounts of wood glue and lots of clamping.

After I had a solid slab of wood I hand-planed it flat and have applied many coats of tongue oil finish.  It's silky smooth to the touch now and is looking fantastic.  For the metal work and assembly, I've taken the plunge and signed up for a full membership at ADX so I'll be doing the welding and finish work there soon.