Monday, March 15, 2010

Civil War bench challenge

While waiting for the paint to dry between coats on the Job Guide shelf project. I spotted an 8 foot pine board hiding under some rotting press board in my temporary neighbor's yard. I mentioned to him that I could take that one board and make a civil war replica bench out of it before the sun went down (about 2 hours). This is important since the work-shop is located mainly outside. He didn't think I could so I considered it a challenge. My only alterations were the use of a jig saw, cordless drill, and screws, which he was fine with. He took up my camera and followed best he could:

This are his pictures...(mostly).

Ah, board. Soon you will feel my hands all over you.

Lining up for the first cut.

I marked up all my cuts before hand....bad idea.

I used this clamp to guide the jig saw straight...another bad idea.

This will be one of the legs. (Eric has fun with the camera. I like to think that he was so exited that he forgot to take the pictures. I think he was doing the pee dance at this time and went running away for a time.)

To lay out the legs I measured the center and found a 45 degree combo that I liked.

Using the seat as a straight edge, I lay out the cut line for one of the skirts.

Another shot of one of the skirts.

Too fast for Eric.

I layed out 45 degree angles on the ends of the skirt boards.

Buzzzz...I cut.

I then used the discarded corner from the skirt to draw the notch on the legs.

Cutting out the legs.

Leg complete.

Cutting out leg number two.

I tried to explain how the pieces would fit together.

At this point, he finally got it.

Eric was called away to help family at this point. I clamped on of the skirts on and predrilled some countersunk holes.

Both skirts screwed into place.

I then measured in and squared up the legs and screwed them into place. (Eric's back)

He likes taking pictures. . . of non-action things.

Flipping the bench over, I layout the line where the screws will be placed.

This is me ABOUT to predrill.

Almost done.

Last screws.

Finished! I was actually sitting on the bench when he took this picture. This is the bench I replicated loosely.

Eric decided that he would like to keep this bench. Total time taken to make the bench = 45 minutes.

I had a great time doing it and I'm sure it's not the last one that I make.


  1. Thanks, Eric! I will definately be doing this one with only hand tools in the future. I got the design from a book about Civil War furniture and have plans to tackle many of the projects in it! :D

  2. Dan, just bought an old house built in 1870 been empty for over 20 yrs in the blue ridge all chestnut come work some magic and build some furniture as well

  3. Hi Chuck! Thanks for the post! I currently have settled some in Eastern NC and focus mainly on pre-1900 structures. It has been over a year since I sat down and gave myself the time to update the blog site. In the last year, I've really driven myself to learning and working in the historic preservation trades and have successfully combined that with my previouses experiences to become quite able of restoring a building from the foundation to the roof. I've working on many old structures such as yours (I'm in the middle of rebuilding a small cottage built in the 1830s).

    I would really love to help you out as much as I can, whether you need advice or some work done. You aren't too far where I can't pack some tools into the RV and head your way for a few days.

    Feel free to contact me through email.



Let me know what you think! Comments and suggestions are always welcome!