This one of a kind shaker influenced bench is handmade from quartersawn white oak using tradition joinery mortise and tenon exposed joinery and pegs with no mechanical fasteners. I sawyer part time and cut this wood about 10 years ago and it has been air drying in my shop since. The oak log used for this piece was removed from a lot in Decatur Georgia to make room for a home expansion and was a dead-standing tree. The early stages of decay in wood species can result in spalting or unique coloration of the wood itself. This white oak is some of the most beautiful oak I have ever seen and speaks through the design of the bench and is simply mesmerizing to look at.
Some notables about the design of the bench not common for shaker style benches are the back rest itself and the seat angle. The seat drops 1″ from the front to the back adding significant comfort in use and adding drama to the aesthetics of the bench. The back rail is placed and angled back to just catch you in the right spot when sitting. The angle of the seat does complicate the mortise and tenon joinery and fitting of the rails to the seat itself.
All the surfaces of this piece are cut with edge tools leaving facets and textures that can not be duplicated any other way and are lovely to touch.
The finish itself is a process that I developed (really an accident) for open grain wood like oak. Every time I go through the process, I am reminded that I am crazy to endeavor down such roads.
I first paint the entire piece with black enamel high-gloss paint, I then hand scrape the entire surface leaving the black paint only in the open pores of the surface. I then stain the entire piece using a blend of commercial stains to enhance the ray fleck grain. The fourth step is application of a wipe on oil varnish blend that leaves a beautiful close to the wood finish with a wonderful texture. The last step is that I use super-fine steel wool and Renaissance Wax to bring out a wonderful luster. The total time to finish this bench took over 7 days, 2 dedicated to nothing but hand scraping the paint off!
The dimensions and estimated weight are as follows:
Height of Seat at the Front edge – 19 3/4″
Height of Back Rail – 32″
Depth (how far it stick out from the wall when against a wall) – 17 3/4″
Depth of the seat – 13 1/2 ”
Overall Length of the Top Rail – 65 1/4″
Overall Length of the Seat – 63 1/4″
Estimated Weight – 40-50 lbs.