An Annotated Portfolio & Project Documentaries

Twenty-eight. Joining legs to the bench back rest.

April 17, 2013

For personal and family reasons and priorities, I haven’t worked much on the bench for the past month.  I had originally planned (!) to have it finished by the end of April, but since that was a self-imposed time frame, I’ve relaxed my schedule. And, besides, the making of tree art is only one of my creative practices ….

I’m also continuing with my relaxed standards for the quality of these posts, especially in literary terms.

Because of the size of the bench, and the crowded condition of my workshop, I decided to bring the bench up to our attached greenhouse.  As long as it’s sunny, the unfinished greenhouse is a comfortable, roomy, and well-lighted workspace.  And the deck serves as a good workbench.

Here are photos of my latest efforts to combine the back rest with the seat, and to add two legs:

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I’ve selected four swan neck pieces for the bench legs. In this photo, I’ve placed one of them to explore options for joinery that connects the leg to both the top and the bottom of the back rest.

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Using a piece of light cardboard, I’m starting to make a pattern for the coped cut out on the bottom of the back rest, the first of the two to receive the leg.

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After the pattern fits around the leg, it will be placed on the underside to mark for the actual cutting. I have added the matching letters “A” to keep the correct alignment when the pattern is transferred to the underside.

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So here’s the guideline for the cut out on the back rest base, to receive the leg.

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The cut out is completed, and the back rest will be turned over for a test fit.

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This photo is the first in a series showing the cut outs in both the top and bottom of the back rest to receive the leg. It’s a top view, looking down after the cut out has been made in the top rail of the backrest. Notice the black line that has a matching line on the leg for correct realignment of the joints. Also in the photo is the grinder and special cutting wheel that works very well, with and against the grain, in “sculpting” these cut outs for the coped joinery.

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Another view of the cut outs. I decided to leave the leg “as is” and fit it fully into the two cut outs. It’s complicated to make just one of these kinds of joints because of the curves and slants of the cut out, and of getting the correct horizontal alignments of the legs so the bench sits firmly on the ground.

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This is another view of the leg fitted into the two cut outs, with the top joint showing the alignment marks I mentioned above.

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Viewed from the other side, the leg is securely fitted into the cut outs. At this point, I’m not sure how I will fasten the joints–whether I’ll dowel and glue them or use concealed wood screws to allow for disassembly because the bench is getting heavy and will be awkward to move.

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