Wednesday 18 October 2017

Wherever I Lay My Hat

Don't worry. This post is not about the Marvin Gaye song. Although it fits into the period my new project is about. The song is from 1962. So we are talking about the Mid-Century.

Once again the Mid-Century is part of the story. I wrote about it a couple of times. My wife and I are real aficionados of this time. We are always looking for pieces out of this period, when we are visiting flea markets or vintage fairs. So it came that we have found a mid-century coat rack / hat rack a while ago.
It looked pretty good at the first look. Just the hardware was worth the price.
A more detailed look showed that the wood frame has got some small issues. 

Gappy bridle joint

Crack in top rail

So I sat it aside for a while. But now, the move into a new apartment in mind, it make sense to remember it.
The frame is made out of beech. A simple construction. Just a couple of slats, joined with bridle joints, does form a frame which is jointed to a backboard.

Coat rack template

Having a lot of wood in the shop which has to be moved, I decided to build a new frame.
The wood I'm using is Alder. 
I've cut the pieces roughly to size and prepped the wood to dimension.
Now, nothing more to do than cutting a few bridle joints. I have never done this in hardwood before. So it came that I had some concerns. But then I remembered Richard Maguire's video and his bridle joint jigs. I watched the video once again and spent the effort to make a pair of these jigs.

Bridle joint jigs

Unfortunately I did not had magnets which would be helpful. But I decided not to wait and to give them a try.

Jig clamped to the work piece

I have clamped them to the reference face of the work piece. On the above picture you can still see the joint layout. This is only present on my first joint, because I took the dimensions for the jigs from here. It is not necessary to layout the joints on the other ends.

Sawing along the jig

I took my Veritas tenon saw which has a blade wide enough to saw along the jig and the joint.

First joint straight of the saw

Honestly I'm surprised. The joint came out like shown above straight of the saw. I'm still not 100% consistent. The first came out a little tight, the second a tad loose. But all in all I didn't had to refine any of the joints. I guess that the magnets would help to improve the result. All the joints are a tad proud and I will plane it flush after glue up.
I would almost say I spent more time  to make the jigs then cutting the joints. But it was worth the effort. No fiddling with the joints. Only sawing, cleaning the shoulders and it fits.

All that said, the base frame was done pretty quick. Before I can glue it together I have to cut a recess all around the inside face. This recess will pick up the braid. Before I can do this I should buy the new braid material so that I'm sure about the thickness and how deep to cut the recess.

Frame complete

I thought I would come further than this, but the last weekend was one of the nicest this early Fall.
So it came that I could manage to do the final touches to the garden bench.
It came out like this....

The English Garden Bench

And while you are sitting there you can enjoy the view on this....

Oak, Ginko, Beech and Birch

That's it from my part of the world this week. It feels good to work on new projects.

Stay tuned!


  1. Stefan,

    Good job on the garden bench, nice to have a beautiful Fall day and view to enjoy the bench.

    We are in the good part of the year in the Desert Southwest now as well. I'm spending most sunsets in the back garden looking out over the wash and enjoying the antics of the local Hummingbirds and other critters.


    1. Hi Ken,
      thanks for your kind words.
      I would have found it better to cope earlier. Finally it is ready to enjoy the Fall.
      Hope you are getting well soon.

  2. That bench turned out great. Got such a bench on my to do list, probably next year...


    1. Hi Bob,
      thanks for praise.
      If I can help out with any hint, then let me know.


  3. That is a nice bench to watch the leaves turn to their fall colors from.

    1. Thanks Ralph.
      Hope you will have a good time too.


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