For Revati Prasad;
Rarely do you find one solution that solves so many problems. Turns out puppy’s taste for shoes is almost as voracious as Revati’s hatred of clutter; a built-in shoe bench serves to hid our excessively large joint shoe collection from her field of vision and his dinner plate. No longer will I see puppy sneaking off to his crate dragging a single shoe in tow. I am always looking for ways to ensure that our front room looks less like a mud room and more like a study – the cushy bench allows me to both tie my shoes and admire my wife as she taps-taps away on her dissertation. She is only 500,000 key strikes away. I was trying to fit the whole bench in the 30’s style of the home – plus I think that anything you are permanently affixing should be more classic and less trendy.
Two years ago raising panels by hand, raised my anxiety. With a little help from Roy Underhill and a lot of practice (jewelry box, tea chest and wedding box) I was ready for a large scale production. With seven panels to cut and fit – I upgraded my operation. This time around, I scored a deep line with a panel gauge and than used a skewed rabbet plane to give the board shape. A cheap piece of pine – and two screws converted my rabbet plane into a make-shift panel-raiser. My god, skewed planes are a real treasure.
Not so carefully I hunked out some pretty beefy mortises to hold the whole thing together. Anne of big little farm lent a hand when the project was at risk of languishing – if you happen to be in the Hudson Valley sign up for her CSA! I drove some draw board pin into the tenons – and am now pretty confident that these frame and panels will last longer than I do.
Alot of my woodworking over the last year has felt like home repair. Looking forward to putting the nail gun back on the shelf.
When I did dry fitting – all of my rounding errors along the way came to light. A couple of sections got a haircut. I used 2x4s to fasten the frame to the wall and floor.
This puppy just doesn’t know what to think! I was aiming for a cute photo of ruffles climbing out of the box – he was looking to flee the scene! Either my camera needs a faster shutter, or this puppy needs to shudder a little less.
A couple of coats of paint and the bench is all ready put to work. To match the rest of the house I will have to slop another thirty years worth of paint on – but for now this will work. Also, notice the bamboo floor that I installed a couple of months ago. I ran the same base-cap molding around both the bench and the room – giving the allusions that the whole thing is fancier than it is.
Turns out I am horrible at all things upholstery. I leaned on Revati’s executive prowess after I went to fabric row and returned empty handed. Apparently choosing material along Philly’s fabric row invokes my existential fear of choice. After sorting through rolls and rolls of fabric we settled on a classic navy.
I wish I had a before and after photo of my attempt at upholstering and Donna’s redo. I haphazardly upholstered the cushion, and was ready to toss it in the garbage and find some live edge boards to use as lids. Donna saved the day; with careful precision she upholstered both cushions – paying close attention to neat corners and even tension. Thank you! I wish I had selected a thinner foam but all things said and done, a lid which protects your tush and shoes is doing double-duty.