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Last week we offered free plans for the Skansen Bench I built for the April 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. If you didn’t hear about this, it’s likely because you don’t subscribe to our free weekly newsletter. You can correct that oversight here.

In any case, this bench was tremendous fun to build. It was $22 in yellow pine from the home center and a couple evenings in the shop. The sucker is stout, has some nice curves and exposed joinery as well. Read the whole article and download the free pdf here.

So what’s stopping you? The legs?

We included a scaled pattern of the legs in the pdf, but scaled patterns put some people off. In fact, I have received quite a few calls about how to use these patterns. You have a few options. Here are four.

– The New Testament Option: Take the printout to a copying store and throw yourself on the mercy of the nice young people there. Ask them if they’ll enlarge the leg pattern until each square is 1″. That’s full size.

– Old Testament Option: Get out your dividers and some posterboard. Set the points of the dividers to 1″ and turn that posterboard into oversized graph paper with a 1″ grid. Then gaze at the small drawing and attempt to replicate it on the big posterboard. It’s easy.

– The Good News for Modern Man Option: Dude, you like take the SketchUp file (in our way-groovy 3D warehouse) and scale the drawing yourself. Print out the results on 8-1/2″ x 11″ paper and tape them together. Dude. Then stick them to your wood and go to town. Download the SketchUp file here: (12.56 KB)

Read a tutorial from Robert Lang on how to scale things to full size here.

– And the “Please Don’t Teach Me to Fish” Solution: Download a pdf of the leg template here. Print it out. Tape it together. Forget about it.

Skansenleg.pdf (105.81 KB)

– Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 7 comments
  • Henry Miller

    I prefer this option: look at the picture. Now take your blanks and start drawing. When you find something that looks good and has wood in the right places, cut. You can clamp them together when you cut so they are identical, but it adds character if you make them different (but if they are different make them obviously different: slightly different makes you look like an idiot, large differences make it obvious symmetry wasn’t the goal)

    There is a time to follow the pattern exactly. However a simple bench like this is not one. Get creative and have fun.

  • Chuck Brewer

    Reading the blurb on the mainpage, I thought you were going to address the ‘the legs keep making me think of bow-legged cowboys’ thing instead. 🙂

  • David Wilkes

    Agreed! Scaled patterns make me think (I’m lazy) – thanks for addressing this fear with your tips!

  • Mike D.

    Modern man option! LMAO!!!

  • tms

    Hey Chris,

    I would suggest yet another option; you could use a pantograph. A pantograph is easily made with four sticks of wood and four pivot points. It can be made to duplicate drawings in any scale.


  • Sandy Navas

    I already have fifteen miniature benches completed and NOW you tell me . . . .

  • Paul Stine

    Thanks for all the fish.

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