DIMENSIONS: 42½" W × 17¾" D × 41" H
Approximate materials cost: $350 including webbing for seat and back
Turn some spindles, weave some webbing.
Simple Shaker-inspired style gives this bench a timeless look. Basic spindle turnings form the frame, and you can easily weave the comfortable seat yourself.
To turn the back legs (A), your lathe must accommodate a workpiece about 42" long. Many midi lathes with a bed extension fill the bill. Otherwise, round the legs with a round-over bit and table-mounted router, then add separately turned finials. Or, make the legs (and long spindles) from ready-made dowel rods.
Note: Hole depths shown on Drawings 1 and 2 are after turning; drill about 3/16" deeper into the blanks.
Begin With the Legs
1 Cut 1½"-square stock for the back and front legs (A, B), allowing an inch or so extra length at the top end [Materials List, Exploded View]. Measuring from the bottom, drill holes in adjacent faces to make mirror-image legs [Drawings 1, 2].
Run the lathe at about 1,500 rpm to round down square stock for the spindles. Then, speed up to about 2,000—3,000 rpm for finish-turning.
Note: Install a ⅝"-diameter drive center on your lathe for turning the legs. This allows you to turn the foot to ¾" diameter without needing a wasteblock.
2 Mount a back leg (A) between centers with the bottom of the leg at the drive end, and round it down to 1¼" diameter [Photo A], working about 8" at a time.
3 Lay out guidelines for the finial and the foot [Drawings 1a, 1b, Photo B]. Cut in to set the minor diameter of the finial cove [Photo C] and define the leg top [Photo D].
Brush up on using a spindle gouge. woodmagazine.com/spindlegouge
4 Cut out a copy of the finial pattern [Drawing 1a] for a template. Shape the finial [Photos E, F]. Taper the foot with the roughing gouge or a skew [Drawing 1b, Photo G].
5 Finish-sand the leg [Photo H]. Remove the turning from the lathe and cut off the waste with a fine-toothed handsaw. File and sand the finial tips to shape.
6 Turn the other back leg (A) and both front legs (B) following the same procedure. Cut a template of Drawing 2a for the top of the front leg.
Tip! Form the tenons on top of the front legs with a parting tool to create sharp shoulders.
Turn the Spindles, Add Arms
1 Cut stock for the stretchers and spindles (C–H), adding a couple of inches extra to provide wasteblocks at both ends. Drill holes in the back stretcher (E) blanks [Exploded View].
2 Turn and finish-sand the stretchers and spindles, and form tenons on the ends [Exploded View].
3 Cut 2½"-square blanks for the arm caps (I) and scribe a 2⅛" circle on each blank.Drill a ½" hole ⅛" deep and a centered pilot hole for a screw center in each blank.
4 Bandsaw each blank just outside the line. Attach the screw center and grip it in your lathe chuck. Turn the cap to shape [Photo I].
5 Dry-assemble a bench side (A–D) and measure the distance from the tenon center on the front leg (B) to the face of the back leg (A) to determine arm (J) attachment distance [Photo J, Drawing 3].
6 Cut blanks for the arms (J). Adhere enlarged copies of the arm pattern [Drawing 3] to the blanks.
7 Bandsaw the arms to shape, drill the holes, and round over the edges. Rout the tenons [Photo K], and finish-sand.
Assemble the Frame
1 Glue and assemble the two sides (A–D), making sure the holes in the legs (A, B) face each other [Exploded View].
2 Dry-assemble (do not glue) the back stretchers (E) and vertical stretchers (F).
3 Glue the back (E/F), stretchers (G,) and spindles (H) into the holes in the sides (A–D) [Exploded View]. Install the arms (J) and arm caps (I). Make sure the frame sits solidly on all four feet.
4 Touch up sanding as needed, and apply a clear finish. We applied water-based satin-finish polyurethane.
5 Weave the seat and back as shown on the next page.
See how to enlarge gridded patterns. woodmagazine.com/enlargeplans