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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I have a project in mind, after using this site for a couple of weeks, I wonder if this fine community would be interested in helping?

I am a complete carpentry beginner, and I would like to build a bench for our living room, and I would like to do it by sourcing and recycling used materials. I wonder if the 'Woodworkingtalk.com' community could assist and mentor the build via this thread?

I live near the centre of London, I have many opportunities near by to source materials and perhaps even tools using sites such as Freecycle, and by visiting construction sites.

If I manage to complete this project to a good standard, I would like to start a second project build for the purpose of it giving away for free back into the freecycle community.


The bench design is very simple, I would like one long thin bench to act as a table, with a smaller bench of the same shape for sitting on, that can be pushed underneath the table when not used. Although perhaps a very simple build, I would imagine it will take some experienced knowledge to actually make a good quality finished product.

This is the area where the bench will go, and the bookcase that is there at the moment, is the exact size I would like the bench..




So what do you think? What kind of wood do you think I would be best to source? Should I build it with four legs or with three rectangle cuts? How should I connect the peaces/legs? How do I get the best finish? Which tools do you think I will require? As I begin and progress with the build I will continue to post updates and photos to this thread.

Your help with this is so appreciated! Hopefully this could be the start of a Freecycle "build & share" culture! Personally I would take great joy from building something that it is in use with a family somewhere nearby!

All the best

Tom
 

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Too many variables.

If you want to use "free/recycle" wood, then you will be limited to whatever you find. This may dictate the design.

I think getting the materials first is most important, then figure out a design around what you have found.

Same applies to the tools - what is needed may depend on the material. If you find plywood of relevant size you may only need to cut to dimension. If you find boards, you may need to glue together to make a top/legs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Okay thanks Dave, Ive started my hunt for materials and will upload pictures. I was wary of the variables but thought i'd start the thread anyway.

I was thinking I may be able to get hold of scaffolding boards, which could create a rustic/industrial kind of look. Any for-warnings or advice on that idea before I try and source?

Thanks again
 

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I was thinking I may be able to get hold of scaffolding boards, which could create a rustic/industrial kind of look. Any for-warnings or advice on that idea before I try and source?
Scaffolding boards can be useful. Be prepared for cracks, dings, chip outs. Likely to find they have stains/paint. Cleaning up for use can be a lot of work. Start looking for some hand planes and a B&D Workmate, or two to use as workbench.

If you get boards, then you will be looking to glue together to make top/legs. Start looking for some pipe clamps.
 

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Mere mortals

There is a wood working channel on youtube that is called woodworking or mere mortals. Steve Ramsey hosts it. He has targeted beginners and you might want to check out some of what he has done.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies, ill start giving that YouTube channel a look over thanks!

so I've sourced a workmate for free so far and I have realised that the materials I will use I already have!

This is a unwanted and hardly used wooden ikea table.



Furniture Table Desk Room Wood stain



Hardwood Wood Wood stain Room Table


It's dimensions are:

W: 74, L: 118, H: 74 cm

The bench I would like to make is:

W: 37, L: 149, H: 74 cm

So I believe ill need to cut the table in half length ways and create two 74.5 x 37cm cuts, then I'd need to join them and re-attach the legs.

It would be good to reattach the legs using the brackets (above) but I think buy cutting the table in half I may lose (at least two) of the wooden 'skirts' that they attach two.

I'd then like to sand it down and paint it a light grey, but ideally using a kind of stain so that a keep the wood markings.

So that's the plan so far, what do you think? What would be your advice?

Thanks again
 

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If your going to take the finish off the table with the intention of staining you should use a chemical paint and varnish remover. Sanding only gets off what is on the surface, not what is imbedded in the wood.

What we need to help you on your build is a picture. When any of us build a project we start with a sketch or a photograph or combine different elements of multiple photographs but we need a vision of the end result and then see what parts are needed to get there.
 

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I'm going to disagree with Dave on this one and say the only thing limiting you is your own imagination, not your materials. Any board can be used effectively, as long as the wood is not rotted (and sometimes even if it is) and if you need to make them longer you can scarf two shorter boards together. Yes, there will be a seam but there's no reason you couldn't build quality furniture from recycled materials.

I agree, though, that pictures would be incredibly helpful to us in order to help you. I'm thinking you're basically describing something like the landmark sofa table and bench shown on this website: http://www.heritageamish.com/products.php?cat_id=Sofa+&+Hall+Tables&room_id=Living+Room&bb=1

That should be pretty easy to build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Hi frank, yea I am open to experimenting with any and all materials. I do also like unconventional looking furniture so the stranger the material the better really.

However contradicting that notion, here are some rough plans I've drawn up as requested above referring to the way I think I can use the standard ikea table (pictured above) to make a long bench-like table.



Diagram Table Furniture Design Technical drawing



Text Diagram Design Sketch Drawing



Diagram Line Design Font Furniture


I guess my real questions about the above plans are:

- which tools should I source for the job (cutting, sanding, painting, finishing etc.)
- how should I attach the two legs with no skirt & bracket attachments (or all of the legs if I don't use the brackets)
- how should I join the table top cuts and will the join be strong enough (so that there is no bow in the middle)
- what should I use and at which stage to paint/stain the wood to a light grey whilst keeping the wood marks/character
- how can I smooth and finish the sides of the wood which I have cut through.
- any ideas on the design to make it better?

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The smaller bench in this picture is essentially the design, very simple (only taller obviously to use as a table rather than a seat).



Thanks for advice re: chemical remover. Will a simple coat of stain suffice after the chemical treatment or is there a particular process I must follow to get the best finish?
 

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I guess my real questions about the above plans are:

- which tools should I source for the job (cutting, sanding, painting, finishing etc.)
- how should I attach the two legs with no skirt & bracket attachments (or all of the legs if I don't use the brackets)
- how should I join the table top cuts and will the join be strong enough (so that there is no bow in the middle)
- what should I use and at which stage to paint/stain the wood to a light grey whilst keeping the wood marks/character
- how can I smooth and finish the sides of the wood which I have cut through.
- any ideas on the design to make it better?

Thank you!
Tools: You can do that with a couple of chisels, a hammer and a hand-held circular saw along with some sand paper. I don't know what you have available but you can pretty much do whatever you can imagine with hand tools so anything extra is just faster (for some of us).

I'd probably tongue and groove the two top pieces, myself. You could also do some mortise and tenons, but I think the tongue and groove would be easier.

I'd attach the legs with through mortises and tenons. It's very sturdy, and looks good too.

Getting a light grey might be difficult, but I'd look into water-based tints/stains if you want to keep the grain visible. Paint will almost always fill in the grain and hide it, while tints and stains will let it show through. Consider doing the stain then something like Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) followed by a varnish or hard shell finish. Personally I do all that after assembly but that's not always the right choice. For a table it should be okay, though.

You can smooth the sides with a scraper, sander, planes, or any number of other methods including a router. What do you have available or budget for buying?
 

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The table you are cutting down to make the bench is designed so you can take the legs off for shipping. I would dissassemble the skirt from the top and dowel and glue the skirts to the legs. You could still use the metal bracket and you can also get more of them at www.woodworkershardware.com but you will need the strength of having the joint glued. The table wasn't engineered to be sit on. You would need to take the skirt off the side anyway to shorten it to put the other legs on. When you cut the top it may be plywood and might have some void or defect on the edge of it. You could just fill the void with bondo and put veneer tape on the edge. The box stores have veneer tape which already has a hot melt glue adhesive on the back side. You can just apply the veneer tape to the edge with a hot iron like you iron clothes with. If you put it pretty much flush with the top you could carefully sand it with a block of wood and sandpaper on a angle to where it doesn't damage the top finish of the bench.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Tools: You can do that with a couple of chisels, a hammer and a hand-held circular saw along with some sand paper. I don't know what you have available but you can pretty much do whatever you can imagine with hand tools so anything extra is just faster (for some of us).

I'd probably tongue and groove the two top pieces, myself. You could also do some mortise and tenons, but I think the tongue and groove would be easier.

I'd attach the legs with through mortises and tenons. It's very sturdy, and looks good too.
Hi Frank, i've been looking a bit further into the job after reading your advice. I am looking to source as much of the tools for free or for very cheap, as the nature of the project is recycling and also I kind of want to prove to myself what can be done on a budget using the internet.

So I think I can source all the above tools that you have mentioned for under £40 - 50 after having a search around online. However after doing some research on the tongue & groove, and mortise & tenons joints, I cant quite see how ill manage that without a table saw.. am I right in thinking that? Also how should I go about making sure my circular saw cut through the table top is dead straight?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The table you are cutting down to make the bench is designed so you can take the legs off for shipping. I would dissassemble the skirt from the top and dowel and glue the skirts to the legs. You could still use the metal bracket and you can also get more of them at www.woodworkershardware.com but you will need the strength of having the joint glued. The table wasn't engineered to be sit on. You would need to take the skirt off the side anyway to shorten it to put the other legs on.
Hi Steve,

my problem with the bracket and skirt assembly is that after cutting the table to lengthen it, I will not have enough skirt for both sides of the length-side of the table. Therefore I can only attach two of the legs this way. Also the table/bench will be to put things on rather than to sit on. I think my next project may be to build chairs/stools/smaller seating bench after this table/bench is built.
 

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Hi Steve,

my problem with the bracket and skirt assembly is that after cutting the table to lengthen it, I will not have enough skirt for both sides of the length-side of the table. Therefore I can only attach two of the legs this way. Also the table/bench will be to put things on rather than to sit on. I think my next project may be to build chairs/stools/smaller seating bench after this table/bench is built.
The bench will still need the skirt. Even if it is not sat on it will sag over time without some support. If you don't have sufficent wood from the taking the table apart I would buy some to replace it.
 

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However after doing some research on the tongue & groove, and mortise & tenons joints, I cant quite see how ill manage that without a table saw..

...am I right in thinking that? Also how should I go about making sure my circular saw cut through the table top is dead straight?

Mortises can be bored with an auger and chiseled and pared square in the corners. Tenons can be cut with a Gent's saw, backsaw, or Japanese type pullsaw. They can be pared to fit or planed or sanded.

http://www.finewoodworking.com/how-to/article/how-to-cut-tenons-by-hand.aspx

Use a straight edge guide for the edge of your circular saw base to ride against. You can use a clamped metal bar, a plywood factory cut edge or a clamp made for this purpose.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/4283497

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=25134&site=ROCKLER


Yeah, a table saw is a great tool to have and it's one of the first tools I got right out of high school. My circular saw came before that however. Between the them, I could break down plywood into usable sizes and rip construction material to width.
 
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