Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Building project: Step 1, planning

Today I decided to start my bench building project in earnest. I'm trying to construct a bench to be used inside as both a sitting and storage area. It will be 15 to 15 1/2 inches tall, about 30 inches or a little over 2 feet deep (from the wall), and about 6 feet long. And I'm trying to construct most of this out of salvaged wood around the property!

My plans thus far.

This seems like quite a task especially since this is my first big building project and I haven't really done any wood working since middle school, but I feel confident in my abilities. So far I have figured out how I want to do the sides of the bench, using some cedar wood planks that I've found (see below: the pile of leaning wood on the right).

I drew out two possibilities for building the sides, which will be 3 pieces of the cedar planks placed side by side. I will need to nail a board across to hold them together--and I could either nail two horizontally across or one diagonally across.

Once I drew out the mock diagrams of each possibility, I realized that I needed to figure out the measurement of the theoretical diagonal board. Suddenly memorizes of geometry flooded my brain--I was staring at a real life math problem. I had to find the hypotenuse!

Below is a picture of my diagrams and my (sucessful!) calculations:

I have to say, though they may be small, I'm proud of my accomplishments today. I look forward to doing more on the bench, as soon as I learn to use the power tools here of course (hehehe).


  1. One of my proudest accomplishments is the picnic table I built about 15 years ago, after much research and power tool use. We still use it, but it's a little...changed by time. Our botanist neighbor praises it as a habitat for moss and lichen that are challenging to cultivate - they apparently require a careful balance of cedar, moisture, ignorance and time.

  2. Scott, you're a riot! I would love to see your special habitat :)

    Luckily the bench I'm building will be indoors so barring any catastrophes it shouldn't cultivate moss or lichen. Hopefully it will cultivate comfort!