Nelson Bench (DIY)

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I have always wanted to have a Nelson Bench. I consider it to be one of the most striking and timeless pieces I’ve ever come across—that and the Eames Lounger, of course.

After determining that an original—or even a good knock-off were out of my price range, I decided to see how affordable it would be to build one myself.

I was happy to find this handy guide on The Uncommon Common Law, made by others who had already successfully reproduced the design, including a parts list. I lacked a few helpful tools at their disposal (i.e. a dado set and a right-angle drill), but I managed to complete my bench without them!

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Once again, my budget interfered. I couldn’t afford to spend another $200 just for a dado blade set, so I chose the time-consuming road of using a basic  table saw to make the dados weak enough to chip out with a chisel.

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A dry assembly allowed me to get the fit right for all the joints. Every piece was indexed because every joint was a unique fit (no dado blade to keep it consistent).

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My tests with black stain produced terrible results, which led me to learn about dye. That stuff soaked right into the wood and gave me the deep black I wanted, and without requiring paint which would hide the grain completely.

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With the top and the legs now complete, I was able to screw the bench together for once, and for all.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed following along!

Categories: Industrial