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Shaker Bench

Making the tool tote in my previous post and this Shaker-style bench has been very satisfying. It’s been a while since I’ve thought about these simple projects using highly accessible tools and timber, but doing so has reminded me how far you can go and how much fun you can have. To make this bench, all that is required is a length of pine board from the store. No need for machines to prepare your boards or the time required to mill by hand. Breaking down 3/4″ pine by hand is a delight and my cheap hardpoint saw coped with ripping and crosscutting just fine.

One issue I did encounter was the limit of the coping saw. You can, and I did, use a coping saw for curves like the ones on this bench, but it is not efficient. No surprises, really, as the clue is in the name of the saw: “coping” not “fancy curve saw.” That made me put myself in the situation of someone new, taking the next step beyond a good core set of tools. If like me you really enjoy the speed, flexibility and results you get with hand tools, the next step would be a decent turning saw and I’ve been reviewing my options there.

However, beyond that there is lurking the time when you will want to resaw hardwoods. A frame saw perhaps? I like that idea but I’m slightly worried – could it be a rabbit hole of discovery that would knock me off course of making things? So in addition to the turning saw I’ve been thinking along the lines of a secondhand 14″ band saw when funds allow. One things for sure: I have plenty of stuff to make before I hit the resaw issue.

Setting Out

It was also good to do some basic setting out. I’ve had some feedback on this element of the video so I’ll go into some more detail on that next time. I like to keep hold of templates like this as making small projects like this bench can be a nice gift, and having patterns and templates ready to go can help save time.

I’ve attempted another FFWD video and broadly the feedback has been in favour of the format and it’ll be the way I’m going on projects. Although being a woodworker is my day job, it’s different when I’m building in my spare time – trying to present projects step by step will just destroy my shop efficiency. For people looking for those types of projects with lots of good info be sure to check out Popular Woodworking Videos – but mine will be rapid video diary style videos. Thanks also for the comments last time out, when you try something new having feedback is great.

— Graham Haydon


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Showing 12 comments
  • uumikew

    nice video. Looks like another Paul Sellers fan! Added you to favorites too. Where did you get layout plans for curves? Thanks.

  • ArtieMax

    Technique question followed by a technique kudo. At 6:04 why did you place the template this way? It seems to add another set of cuts? Kudo on the use of the mesh matting!

  • adifrot

    Graham , you are an inspiration to a generation of woodworkers who came up learning to replace power tools for hand tools. As a 60 something woodworker who learned both and still perfecting my skills as I slide into retirement , I have found you to be exceptional in illustrating the straight forward approach to getting the job done with simple tools and careful use.
    As a long time fan and student of Paul Sellers, Jim Kingshott , Chris Schwarz, Roy Underhill and Will Myers , you have a new fan and follower.
    Keep making the work real for us , Love your style and videos too.

  • bmayfield001@centurytel.net

    Very well done! Bench and video! Entertaining and informative. I very much like the design of the bench.

  • MysticValleyWoodworking

    Good chuckles at the Epic Slo Mo segments. Thanks for the videos!

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