A Bench That Fits Every Room
Tapered seat is comfortable, elegant, and easier than it looks
Synopsis: The clean, contemporary style of this bench makes it versatile enough to use in the dining room, foyer, hallway, porch, or even the back yard. The seat slats are tapered with beveled edges. The routed groove in the legs serves a dual purpose — hiding the glueline and adding a design element. A simple planer jig and templates make it easy to build multiples of this bench. And aside from the mortise-and-tenon joints, everything on it, from the tapers to the grooves to the pocket joints, is simple to execute.
From Fine Woodworking #207
I designed this bench to match a dining table (see Contents, p. 5), but its clean, contemporary style and comfortable seat let it sit just as well in the foyer, bedroom, mudroom, or on the front porch. It even works under a tree in the backyard, if made with exterior woods and finishes.
The slight taper on the tops of the seat slats complements their beveled edges. The legs, which are glued up from two boards, have a routed groove that both hides the glueline and ties the legs to the spaced seat slats. The legs also are arched along the bottom, a detail repeated on the stretchers.
These design details seem difficult, but they are surprisingly straightforward. Tapering the seat slats would be tough by hand, but I’ll show you how a simple stick turns a planer into a tapering machine.
Make a template for the legs: You could make the legs from a single 15-in.-wide board, but few people have a jointer and planer wide enough to handle it. I recommend using two narrower boards for each leg.
Leave some extra width on the boards. That will help keep the glueline centered so it will be hidden by the routed groove. Keep the boards…