I was told by some readers that they enjoyed seeing some of my wood working jobs. I thought I would put up some photos of my latest project since nothing is happening to Anna yet. This is actually one of the more complicated jobs I have worked on. I am very proud of how it turned out and thought I would share it with you.
My customer has lived in their 1951 modern house for the past forty years. Their neighborhood is all 1870's Victorians and Edwardian houses. This house was built as an in fill project in 1951 and looks very out of place in a sea of big old houses. The bench was built in 1979 and is the focal point the clients outdoor area. They like to have 1950's style cocktail parties and during the nicer months they do it here on the patio.
The bench not only adds a great deal of seating, but it also serves to keep people from rolling or falling down the hill. The thing that made this job so challenging is that it is curved. Wood wants to be straight not curved. The client has believed that the bench was made out of redwood like the rest of their house, but the contractor in 1979 used western red cedar and told them it was redwood. When I brought in my new "B or better" Western Red cedar they were flipping out over the quality of the new red wood. I broke it to them gently.
Here is the old bench gone and the new horizontal supports are being fitted into place. This is very tricky for the curve of the wall is not consistent. The vertical timber have shifted ever so slightly and I have to compensate for those variations. So not only did I have to set all of these level and plumb, but they had to be shifted in and out to keep the curve consistent. The eye can really see any deviation from a true curve. The eye can see it if you allow it to be there.
The lamination of wood can be seen here. It took four days to clamp up all the various layers. Polyurethane glue or Gorilla glue was used between each layer. The glue uses moisture to react and create the bond. Western red cedar has a very high water content, so this glue is ideal. It foams up and expands as it reacts. Once it dries, the glue is very hard and it is impossible to separate two pieces that are glued together.
Nice new bench all ready for the next cocktail party. I do not know why but an Old Fashion sounds good right now. A whiskey sour maybe...
A sweeping view straight on. This shot shows the curved wood bench seat and back very clearly. This is actually my favorite picture of the bench.
Here is the back side now with the bench all sanded and ready for whatever finish they choose to apply.
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