Building a Stone and Wood Bridge Bench – Woodworking – Stone

Building a Stone and Wood Bridge Bench – Woodworking – Stone


for today’s project I’m going to build a
bench it has a carved opening for it to fit around the top of a stone leg and
some hand cut through mortises for the arch support to pass through
to get this project started I’m going to get the most physically demanding part
of the build out of the way and that’s dealing with the stone leg this granite
boulder was more than I could lift by myself so I used an engine puller to get
it out of the back of my truck once out of my truck I rolled it around to the
back of the shop and used an angle grinder to score around the bottom so I
could cut it to size I cut as deep as the grinder disc would allow and then
used to cold chisel to break off the bottom I wanted to make it light enough
so a client could pick it up and move it around by themselves
so I started grinding out the inside of the rock with a four inch angle grinder
this was quite the workout and took a full day to completely grind out the
inside of that rock my arms grew three sizes that day as I was posting progress
pictures on Instagram I got a friendly ribbing from the usual suspects on what
possessed me to come up with such a crazy design the jumping-off point for
this design came from an architect friend of mine Erik Bryan Holt from 35
40 design he designed the house where they took a granite boulder from the
site and craned it through the roof of the house and turned it into a fireplace
in the living room there were a lot of challenges in fitting such an organic
piece in a contemporary setting so this got me thinking how I could incorporate
stone into my work the idea bounced around in my head for quite a while
trying to figure out what that piece should look like then on a trip back to
Oregon and a short hike through the Cascades it all came together bridging
the gap between refined joinery and organic shapes now that I ground out enough of the
rocks of the weight was manageable I started million the lumber for the top
of the bench after the glue dried I started carving out for the rock to pass
through the top to get started I drilled some holes through the top and started
chopping out the opening with a chisel to figure out how much wood I needed to
remove I set the board in place and traced out the shape with a sharpie from
the underside now for those of you who are yelling at your screen that I was
going to ruin the angle grinder carving out that stone you were correct if the
power carving disk installed on the grinder I started relieving the material
leading up to the line I had traced out early I test fitted as I went using a mouth to
tap on the top so the stone would dent the wood leaving a mark showing where to
grind as it got closer to the stone fitting I switched to some smaller burrs
and just kept repeating the process until I got really close to a nice bit this took most of the afternoon to do once I was down to the final fitting I
switched to hand rasps and files slowly removing material until I was happy with
the fit the final step was to use some sandpaper to round over any sharp edges
and create a little space between the rock and the wood this will allow for
some wood movement during seasonal changes now that the carving is taken
care of I moved on to gluing up the lake once the glue is dry I set up a stacked
dado head in the table saw to cut the tenon the tenon is going to be wedged in place
I use my shot made jig to safely cut two slots to accept the wedges to add some
visual interest to the leg I use the bandsaw to cut a few tapers on it and
cleaned up the saw marks at the jointer then I milled up some walnut for the
wedges to create the wedge shape and such a thin strip I cut a notch in some
scrap wood to help hold the piece in place while I used a hand plane to taper
one end just enough so it would slide into the slot of the tenon and tighten
it up a bit I made a jig that fit around the tenon
he used it to rout out the mortise in the top of the bench I squared it up with a chisel and did a
quick test fit to add some stability to the bench I made a custom bracket to
bolt the wooden stone together this required me to drill a few holes where
the wood and stone met i used a class drill bit cold with water to drill out
the holes of course with the shape of the rock all over the place it was hard
to get a good reference to know what would be leveled to the top of the bench
so the steel rods were of course pointing down to solve this I cut a
notch with an angle grinder bent the steel did a little test fit and filled
the void with the fat weld cut a piece of flat bar to weld to the rod stuck in
the stone drill some holes for bolts and weld it
in place I transferred the boltholes to the bench
top and drilled and tapped the holes for some bolts now moving on to the arch I made a quick
bending form out of plywood and covered it with packing tape so the food
wouldn’t stick to it I cut some strips from walnuts to bend around the form to
create the arch you glued the month when I glue them together I made sure I
kept them in the same order as I cut them so the grain would blend together
hiding the cut line after the glue set up overnight I
cleaned up the squeeze out at the jointer and cut it to length with the
Japanese bull saw ascribe the angle of the leg on to the
arch and cut the bulk of the material off at the bandsaw then using a hand
plane and multiple test fits I’ve refined the angle until it fit snugly at
the top and bottom once I was happy with the fit I rounded
over the ends at the disc sander I did a little layout for the placement of the
cross pieces and transferred the angle from the arch to my support pieces I finished laying out that through
mortises and hog out the bulk of the material at the drill press then I
started chiseling towards my layout lines as I chisel closer to the line I
paid attention to the angle I was holding the chisel at and tried to match
it to the angle of the arch working from both sides and a few tests fits I snuck
up on the fit little by little we’re finding as I went until I had a nice
tight fitting mortise all the way around I cut it to length and I repeated the
process for the rest of the cross braces it’s easier to stand everything before a
sibling so I wrap the leg in tapes I wouldn’t get any glue on my freshly
sanded surface once I got the leg positioned in place I drove the walnut
wedges in to secure everything after the glue dried I flushed trimmed
them with the full saw and cleaned it up with a block plane when freshly milled
mahogany has kind of an ugly pink hue to it to get it back to that rich look
we’re used to seeing I used some water-based dye to darken it up and pop
the grain and before assimilating the archetype
refinished all the parts the final step before assembly I decided to fill the
void I carved in the rock with spray foam the rock had a natural crack in it
and after removing the bulk of the structure I wanted to make sure it
didn’t come apart the spray foam filled all the nooks and crannies and it is
extremely sticky so once dry the shell of the rock should always stay stuck to
the foam inside I filled it up little by little so it wouldn’t over expand
breaking the stone apart once dry flush trimmed it off with an old saw I covered
the bottom with felt to protect the floor and trimmed it to the shape of the
stone base it was finally time to symbol all the pieces I used a slow setting
epoxy so I’d have plenty of time to fiddle with the fit of the arch and to
be sure everything was tight and aligned perfectly the cross supports are held to
the leg with dominoes since the arch was a heart shape to clamp I use the screw
to hold it in place while the glue dried I then came back with some dowels to
plug the holes and added a little decorative feature of course down to the
last detail as I drilled out the hole for the dowel a piece splintered off no
big deal I used some CA glue to glue it back in place flushed it up with the
chisel drove home the dowel and sanded and touched up the finish the last thing to do is to bolt it to
the rock it is really easy to over tighten and strip out atwood thread so I
generally only tighten it until the washer stops moving this one sure I
don’t strip the threads and that there is enough give that the wood can move
without splitting the top thank you for making it to the end of the project if
you’d like to see what my upcoming projects are and what designs I’m
working on please join me over at patreon and if you’re interested in
architecture please check out 30 by 40 design yeah some great stuff going on
over there and it gave me the initial idea for this build if you haven’t
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