Wednesday 26 April 2017

The Balcony Bench (Pt. 3)

After the excursion into sharpening last week now back to the actual project.

My English Balcony Bench.

Fancy things like a crest rail and the armrests are waiting.

The crest rail presented me with a small challenge.
I wanted to shape it somehow. Nothing more than two 45° bevels coming in 30 mm from the top edge and 250 mm away from the ends.
Hopefully you can see in the picture what the plan was.

Layout of the joint and the cut out

The challenging question was, what had to be cut first? The joint or the cut out?
I decided for the cut out, which turned out to be right afterwards.

I started to saw down the angle....

Sawing down the 45° angle

And then saw parallel to the edge....

Start the rip cut
Sawing along the line carefully

After all this tasks it came out like showed below...

Crest rail shape

I have refined the shape with a block plane and a sharp chisel.

Refining the cut out edge

And....drum it is....

First dry fit of the bench

....and from the other side

As already mentioned, I'm now in the situation of not having enough space for quality pics.


There are two major parts missing to complete the frame work. The armrests and a center rail.
Both topics have their challenges too. I decided to go with the armrests first.
To join the armrests with the frame, there are two mortise and tenon joints needed. There is a tenon at the armrest to mount it to the rear leg. And a mortise to fix it to the front leg.
The mortise for the rear leg should look like shown in the pic.

Tenon to be mount to the rear leg

I made a test version of the complete joint to figure out the best way to cut the joint.
The joint is started with scribing a line at a 10° angle to the reference edge.

Scribing an angled line

And then drawing that line all around the perimeter

Scribe line

Finally the layout for the joint looks like this....

Joint layout I

Joint layout II

After sawing and splitting the joint looked like this...

Joint after sawing and splitting

Yeah, I was out of plumb a bit while sawing, so I had to clean the shoulder with a chisel. But due to the fact that the armrest will be shaped and some of the material will be cut away it only had to be perfect closely around the tenon.
That done, the corresponding mortise had to be done. I have drilled out the bulk of the waste and then defined the mortise with some chisel work.

Drilling out the waste
Nice crisp lines, or....?

Well defined mortise

So, last step was to fit the tenon into the mortise. That could be done by paring the tenon sides.

Marriage of mortise and tenon

At the front of the armrest I have done the same stuff. But it required some concentration and I haven't made any pictures.
Somehow I managed it so that the first side frame was complete.

First side frame complete


Where are we?
The side frames are done now.
The cross rails are done.

What's open?

The armrests have to be shaped
The stock for the back slats has to be prepped.
The mortise and tenons for the back slats have to be cut.
The center rail has to be joined.
The seat slats have to be prepared and installed.

You see, there is another mile to go. But I'm lucky how it came out so far.

Stay tuned!


  1. Good job, these angled tenons can get tricky DAMHIKT :-)
    Soon your biggest challenge would be getting the complete bench out the shop doors to the balcony... :-)

    Bob, with Rudy napping on my lap

    1. Hi Bob,
      thanks for the kind words. You know what, they tricked me too ;-)
      Balcony door is not an issue because it is a double wing door, but getting that thing out of the basement might be a challenge.


  2. It is really looking good.
    With that steady progress, you will have the bench complete when the nice summer weather comes.

    1. Hi Jonas,
      thanks. Yeah, that was the main idea. Sittin' on it and enjoying the sun.

  3. Looking good, Stefan. That mortise is so crisp - even the interior walls look great!

    1. Hi Matt,
      thanks for your kind words.
      I think I managed to find out the secret of getting better mortise lines.


  4. It seems it will be ready for the end of this Spring and be enjoyed during all Summer!

    1. Olá António,
      hope so. But progress is looking good so far.