An Annotated Portfolio & Project Documentaries

Twenty-seven. Making the bench seat

The making of the bench seat with 8 pieces of 2″ thick planks.

Perhaps, since tree art is a collaboration with Nature, I tend to abhor straight lines (and square corners, etc.). In the making of edge to edge butt joints, I like the mate cut, waney edge joints as a design detail.

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After one side of a piece has been cut on the bandsaw, the compass serves to scribe the adjoining piece, for a paired and mate cut joint. It’s important to keep the point and the pencil directly opposite to each other, closely perpendicular to the direction of the joint.

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Piece number 4 will now go to the bandsaw for a cut of the second half of the paired pieces, for an approximate fit. It is important to number the paired pieces for replacement.

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The edges of these pieces have all been cut on the bandsaw. Now, one joint at a time, after each end of the paired pieces has a log dog driven in, the jigsaw will mate cut the final butt joint.

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Here’s a close up of the mate cut in progress. Tightly fitting the joint sometimes takes several passes, releasing the log dogs each time, depending on how tightly the bandsaw’s approximate cuts fit. The two points of each log dog are pointed and wedge shaped so they draw the joint together as they are driven into the end grain.

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The jigsaw is cutting a uniform kerf the length of the pieces, so when the log dogs are removed the waney edges fit tightly, i.e., are mated to each other.

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These 8 pieces are ready for gluing and clamping to make the seating surface for the bench, about 80′ long and 20″ deep–deep enough for the backrest to be placed on top.

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