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The Skansen bench that I built for the April 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine has proved to be a popular project with readers. But if you like, you can do a better job of emulating the original than I did.

I built the project for our “I Can Do That” column, which features furniture you can build using basic tools and home-center materials. As a result, we sometimes have to make design changes to our projects because of the rules set down by the column.

For the Skansen bench, I made the bench a little shorter in length (to suit dimensional stock) and I made the legs a little thinner. I wanted big, chunky Swedish tree trunks, like the original. But doubling the thickness of the legs didn’t look right (and there is no thickness planer in the “I Can Do That” tool kit). So I used 2 x material and tweaked things until it appeared right to my eye.

However, if you have a planer or some thick stock, you can go full-on Swede. Bengt, a reader in Stockholm, Sweden, recently visited the Skansen and took some photographs. He estimates the legs on the version there are 2″ thick (which I think is a good guess).

He also put more photographs of the bench (and other nice pieces from Skansen) on a page on Photobucket that you can view.

I have my version of this bench at home in our dining room, and it has saved our butts (literally) when we had too many butts over for dinner.

– Christopher Schwarz

Other Helpful Resources on the Skansen Bench

– Get a free downloadable copy of our “I Can Do That” manual that will start you out in woodworking with just a few tools.

– Download (for free) our plan, instructions and cutting list for the Skansen bench.

– Visit Bengt’s Photobucket pages with lots of great photos of the furniture at Skansen.

– Download a free SketchUp drawing of the bench.

Read a tutorial on leveling the feet.

– Visit the official Skansen web site.

– Get a copy of our “I Can Do That” book from our store.

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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  • Damien

    I appreciate the ‘I can do that’ column, it’s at my level.

    There is something for the Skansen bench, the legs seem more square, looking less like cut out boards. Thank you for sharing these images, I should maybe give a variation of that project a try.

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