It might not be apparent that between my random musings about slingshot-roadtrips, snow-wanderings, and the occasion piece on chickens or bees, I sometimes build things. Many times, it chicken-related. The chicken coop is a sort of ongoing project. There is no master plan for the coop (similar to the Winchester Mansion not having a master plan). When there is a new – be higher fence panels, or the addition of an infirmary-coop for injured birds, it gets added on to.
Generally, though, the common thread for building things is a perceived need. Around 2004, I got stuck in my head that I needed to make a Mission-style oak bed frame. So, I did (more pictures here, and here). It’s still the bed frame that we have in our bedroom. Other things are simpler – like a solar wax melter I built when I was first interested in keeping bees. I still use it. There was also the shed at our old house, the chicken coop at our old house, and many other projects including an excessively expensive and complicated walnut and cherry desk that worked on, off and on, for nearly two years; it sits in our home office now, Melissa uses when she works from home.
Early in my double-digit-age-days, I had, what some artists might call a period. Picasso’s early period was his blue period. My early period was a clock period. Some how or another, I got my hands a Klockit mail order clock catalog. I kind of went nuts making wooden clocks. To this day, there is clock that I made in nearly every room of my parents’ home.
Somewhere in the late aughts, I found myself with a excess supply of 4″x4″x8′ green treated timbers, and a couple 6’x8′ panels of dogeared fencing. There must have been a woodworking muse or the like that whispered in my ear, make a garden bench; ok, it was probably Melissa. The aesthetics that I like tend to be clean lines, angles that divide 90 degrees without a remainder (90 modulo angle = 0), and in some cases, parallel piece that have touching surfaces follow the golden ratio (this was the case with the top for the desk). With the benches, there was also the idea of minimizing wood waste. Three pickets where used for the seat area, shallow, compound angled legs, and an underskirt. The picture to the left is of the original timber bench I made for Melissa. It currently resides in our backyard, under a walnut tree. Notice the underskirt that the legs fasten into – it’s square. In later iterations of the timber bench, the underskirt had a bevel that was the same angle as the legs, just the slope was opposite direction of the legs. We have one these beveled underskirt benches on the familial land in northern Minnesota. My mother has a pair of three feet wide benches, and I also made an identical pair of these benches (dubbed meditation benches) for a woman in Hibbing.
And then, I ran out of fence panels. I moved onto the next woodworking project or went back to working on the house. I cannot remember.
Then, a few weeks ago, the bench-muse returned. Melissa asked me if I could make a bench for a section of the patio she has been gussying up. Sure. I finally had a bit of time this weekend; I headed to a big-box lumber store and picked up a few things. Below is a photo gallery of what I made.
If by chance, you, the reader are interested having one of these short, stocky benches of your own, and you are somewhere in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro, Duluth, Rochester, or the Iron Range (Grand Rapids to Virginia) — hit me up in the comments on this page, or check out the About Me page on contacting me. A bench won’t be free, but we can likely work something out.
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