Album: Photos:GothicBench
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I started this bench around 1998, but set it aside when I started on my harpsichord. It's been sitting in my shop since then, and I decided it was time to finish it. The project started as a group build at a friend's shop. We made quite a few of these in two days. As I recall, it's based on an surviving bench, so is historally accurate to the late Medieval period from England, probably even well into the Tudor era. The top gets glued to the two runners. The other pieces fit together with slots, mortices, and cross-pinned tenons, as it's meant to be disassemblable and portable.

Not satisfied with a plain bench, I decided to carve mine in a Gothic style. I admit this is not my best carving work, but I think some roughness is appropriate given the utilitarian nature of the piece.

It's made from red oak, which carves nicely. However, it turns my fingers purple; also, maple is better for the fine details of the flowers. The finish is relatively-period-accurate linseed oil, with a final coat of a an oil/turpentine/beeswax mix on the seat top. I used a mix of 3/4 boiled linseed oil and 1/4 mineral spirits, which isn't quite accurate historically, but it's what I had and is close enough.

Pieces Set together Carving Ready for the flower
First leg is done Legs are done! First flower is done..ools and test piece) Flower making step 1
Flower making step 2 Flower making step 3 Flower making step 4 Gluing the rails under the seat
One side ready for finish Other side Other other side Slap on oil with a sponge brush
Darkens the wood nicely Slimed! Warming up the top in my chilly basement Warmed and ready
Waxing the top Done!
All photos Copyright Brian A. Whaley. All rights reserved.
Photo album generated by album tool a script written by David Madison on Wed May 26 15:36:26 2021