Jatoba Bench


Ebony spacers and plugs add visual interest to this indoor-outdoor design.
By Bert Johansen
Pages: 49-55

From the June 2008 issue #169
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My lovely wife asked me to build a bench for our entry hall. After considering the intended space – which consists of an 11′ wall – I initially planned on an 8′ bench and sketched several possible options. However, the more I considered the challenges of building such a long bench and crafting the joinery so that the bench wouldn’t warp, I opted for two 4′ benches instead. And although they are intended for indoor use, I decided to make them suitable for outside as well, because the final design is perfect for a garden bench and who knows what the grandkids will do when they inherit them?

Influenced by Japanese design and inspired by its versatility, I crafted this simple bench using hidden stainless steel hardware for durability in either indoor or outdoor settings. For materials I selected jatoba with ebony accents. Dimensions of the completed project are 48″ x 19 1/4″ x 14″.

Procure the wood and hardware, then joint and surface-plane the stock to final thickness.

Lay out the parts and make the straight cuts on the table saw. Cut the legs and rails to final length, but leave the slats and stretcher an inch or two longer than the final dimension. It is a good idea to make an extra slat and an extra leg as you proceed, as tear-out when you machine the curved edges could be a problem.


From the June 2008 issue #169
Buy this issue now