Introduction: A Bench of 13 Nipples
This bench gets its name from the lengths of pipe that support it - see the photo as proof.
All in all, the bench has 13 nipples (4x6", 4x5", 4x2" and 1x4'), 6 tees and 8 flanges, and all this hardware ended up costing me around $200 at the Home Depot, so it's not exactly cheap.
The wood came from a supporting beam from our old deck which was lying outdoors for two years after the deck's demolition.
Step 1: Clean the Beams
The beams were 4x8, painted and rotten. You will need two beams for this bench.
* Make sure you've gotten all the nails out. If the nail cannot be extracted, hammer it deep in with a punch and a hammer, in order not to damage your tools.
* The edge of the beam that used to face up will be rotten, which is, unexpectedly, a good thing. With a steel brush attachment on a power drill, clean out the rot. You will be left with a clean "live edge" which is very beautiful
* The edge that used to face down will be relatively straight. You can sand it with a handheld belt sander and/or an electric plane.
* Run the beams through a thickness planer and then sand them with an orbital sander, all the way down to 220 grit.
Step 2: Assemble the Beams
After cutting the beams to length, you'll want to assemble them together. I chose to use a purple heart spline for the assembly.
You will need a powerful router and a long 1/2" straight bit. I was using a 3 HP plunge router equipped with a Whiteside 1071 bit.
Attach the beam vertically in a vise or a Workmate kind of workbench. Standing on a ladder or a sturdy chair (the beams are 75" long), make a deep groove down the middle of each beam. Use the router's edge guide to get a straight like and pay attention to use the same side as reference for both beams.
The attached picture is not from the bench, but from the third beam which I had used for practice.
Once you've made the grooves, make their rounded ends square with e 1/2" chisel.
Plane a piece of a contrasting hardwood to 1/2" thickness. Cut it into two pieces 1 1/2" wide and 6 1/2" long.
Holding the two beams together with clamps, gently hammer the splines in on both ends, using a wooden mallet, until they start entering, 1/4" or so. Then, do not hit the splines directly, but rather hammer them through a scrap of wood, to avoid leaving hammer marks, until both splines are fully in.
Step 3: Assemble the Hardware
This part is quire obvious with the photos - all the plumbing pieces are threaded.
Laying the assembled beams on the floor upside down, pose the installed hardware on top of it, also upside down. Center the assembly and loosen some flanges to make sure all of them are in contact with the wood.
Attach the flanges to the wood using screws. Flip it over - you are done.
For finish I used teak oil and Briwax brand furniture wax.
Over the years, the bench has developed a nice patina.
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