A torii inspired garden bench

Glueup time!

The most stressful of all events – grabbing the glue bottle and whizzing past all the points of no return. Thankfully though, I can do this in stages. The first order of business was the side frames. They are already done, except for the arm rests.

Two big F clamps and some scraps to prevent dinging the surfaces. Done! Pro tip: tape the scraps in place, it saves a few gray hairs when it is go time; wishing you were an octopus while juggling a big clamp, parts and some small scraps that flies off into oblivion if you look at them wrong… Tape the things in place. It’ll keep your sanity. Yellow or blue masking tape can be left on for a long time before it becomes a problem. Serenity now!

The back rest is quite a different beast. I started the job by gluing the central “panel” to the rails. Notice the taped-on serenity wood sticks… I used my sash clamps for this. You can spot this in the background of the image with the side frame above. Disregard the continuity error… Even Star Wars has some of them.

The biggest glue job on this bench is the back rest. 12 mortise and tenon joints at once. But with a bit of planning ahead – and a dry run before grabbing the glue bottle – it all went swimmingly in about a half hour or so.

I put the side frames on to check that I would be able to put them on, and to verify that the back is square.

Doing a dry run with clamps before you use any glue is a really good idea. In this case, one of the rails had a tenon that was slightly too long. I did not notice that until I put some clamping pressure on. A couple of swipes with the hand plane, and every single joint closed up beautifully! I applied glue, put the clamps in place, wiped off the squeeze-out with a wet rag and tightened the clamps during the next 10 minutes until no glue oozed out anywhere. I then left everything overnight.

Then it was time for the really big point of no return. I did not stop to take any pictures during this operation – there was absolutely no time for that! I applied glue to both the mortises and tenons.

I started by mounting a side frame to the back. I then placed the assembly on the floor with the side frame resting on the floor. This enabled me to mount the seat frame to that side frame. I then could mount the other side frame. I then placed the bench on its legs and added clamps. Any glue squeeze out was wiped off with a wet rag. I felt like Bugs Bunny playing all the positions in a game of baseball!

I left the clamps on for a day, but loosened the pressure after a few hours. The glue specifies press time to 25 minutes, so I was in the clear. But I wanted some clamping pressure until the glue had thoroughly hardened, to be certain I would not have any surprises.

With the glue up done, I could finish the seat slats. I cut them to length, drilled holes for screws and plugs and made the 40 wooden plugs from some gash.

I installed the slats by using a large drill bit as a center punch, then I pre-drilled for the screws with the correct sized bit.

I used small pieces of scrap as spacers and screwed the slats in place.

Most of the slats are rift sawn, so they should be very stable. I selected the material carefully…

In the process I found that the rearmost slat was too narrow, so I made a new one from a piece of 2×4”. Problem solved.

Next up: installing the front and aft slat, the plugs and sand the entire bench in preparation for finishing. Turn page here. 🙂

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