Introduction: Curved Seat for Photographers

A photographer friend of mine asked me to make one of these for her photo studio. It is a bit different from what I normally like to do, and as much as I dislike painted finishes I an not a man to turn away a challenge. I learned a few things along the way and hope to share those with you here.

Tools

Long nosed marker

Coping saw: You could also use a turning saw or jig saw

Panel saw

F-Clamps

Brace you could use a drill and drill bits

Bit set

#4 Hand plane

Flat spokeshave

File set

Paint brush

Pull saw

Compass Pencil

Supplies
1 X 12 X 4' Pine (1)

1 X 2 X 4' Pine (2)

2 X 2 X 8' Pine stud grade (2)

Flexible plywood

Wood Glue

Wood Filler

Paint

Step 1: Shape the Bananas

I start by making a template out of scrap cardboard. there is no hard and fast design to this I just drew something I liked with the seat 12" off the ground. that seemed good for the kids. the circle has about a 24" diameter on the outside and the ring is 1.5" thick.

I use a marker to trace out the template onto the piece of clear 1X12 pine. Next, use a coping saw or jigsaw to cut out the shape. You will need 2 of these curves (bananas).

Step 2: Make Legs

I wanted the legs to be 1.5" squared so rather than cutting them out of 2X2s I decided to laminate them so there would be a half lap joint at the top where it meets the bananas.

I cut 4 pieces at 11" and 4 at 12.5" then glued them up in pairs.

Step 3: Glue Up Assembly

It is important that the front and back match so when I glue the legs to the bananas I want them to be perfectly lined up.

To do this I clamp the two bananas together. then I clamp two pairs of legs together so the half lap joints face each other. With these in place, I can add glue and slide the leg pairs onto the bananas and add clamps. This way when I take the clamps off I am left with a matching front and back shape of the seat.

Step 4: Attach Supports

Next, we need to separate the front and back. this will be done with 2X2s they are the same thickness as the bananas. I place them every 4-6" spanning between the two frames.

Start by cutting all of the spacers at 10.5". Then pre-drill and countersink all the screw holes in the bananas. we do not want them splitting. Then with 2 1/2" screws and glue attach the spacers so they are flush with the bottom and top of the seat. For the last two on either side of the seat, I used 2X4s but you could also use 2X2s there too. just make sure it is flush with the bottom and top and sticks out on the end of the banana seat.

Step 5: Trim Off End Supports

You will want to trim the last space back to be flush with the bottom top and outside edge of the banana.

I did this with a panel saw and hand plane. it made quick work of smoothing it out.

Step 6: Face Seat

I decided to use this roll wood used for facing columns in the basement. I got it at the local home center, but if I had to do it again I would use 2 layers of 1/8" plywood like I have listed int he supplies.

With a flexible tape measure, measure the width and length of the seat. then cut it to dimension. I decided to make mine about 1/2" larger in both directions so I could cut off the excess.

To attach it down I just used wood glue and clamps to hold it in place. you could also use brad nails.

After letting the glue dry overnight I trimmed off the excess with a pull saw or flush cut saw.

Step 7: Trim Off and Fill Edges

Now it is time to smooth out all the edges. I used a spokeshave to round over all the edges. and give it a smooth look.

Then I used Wood Filler to fill all the cracks, voids, and screw heads. and after it dried I sanded off the wood filler with a file.

Step 8: Paint and Refill

This is the step that does not end. I applied a thin first coat of primer, but this shows off all the imperfections.

Once that coat dries, you can add more wood filler.

Then let that dry and sand it again and paint again. I did this 3 times tell I was satisfied the look.

Step 9: Trim Legs

I had left the legs long till now to let any wood movement have its way.

I set the bench flat on a table and put a spacer under the one leg that wobbled tell the bench was flat.

With a Pencil Compass, I marked all around each leg with a line that is parallel to the surface.

With a hand saw, I can then cut the legs off at that line. last, I want to add a chamber to all the bottoms so that they will not chip out when moved across the floor.

Step 10: Final Paint

At this point, it just needs a final paint. take your time and make it look nice.

It is not a difficult project if broken down int the steps and taken one section at a time.

Comments

author
jayedwin98020 (author)2017-03-28

Would plywood door skins work well for this project? I think they're 1/8" or 3/16", 3-ply, if not mistaken. To allow the the door skin pieces to be easily attached, you could use multiple "partial" cuts through the side being attached to the frame. The best spacing for these cuts would take a little bit of figuring. I would think these "relief" cuts, would greatly assist in bending the door skin pieces to fit your framework. This method would also give you a "smooth" seat, with no segments.

Enjoyed your article. Now, how about an "adult" version?

author

The 1/8" is what I have used in the past but could not find it around here.

you are the 3rd person to ask for an adult version. LOL not sure I want to do that but would be fun!

author
BillMil (author)2017-03-28

I actually think this is great for the job it was designed for. Also, it's a good idea to stretch your skills a bit. Build some grain synapses while you're at it!

How about steam forming the bench. I realize this was probably a quick, get-er-done job but when you have more time invest in some quality wood (like what drum shells are made out of) and think about steam/boil/etc. I also know some drum makers cut very fine, close strips on one side of the plywood..

author
woodbywright (author)BillMil2017-03-28

thanks! If I have the time I would have made my own from bent plywood for it but the time and expense just did not fit this project. steam bending is always fun though!

author
ManCrafting (author)2017-03-28

When I saw the thumbnail, I was kind of surprised this was a Wood by Wright build. It had a very Modern feel. It was cool to see how you were able to use traditional tools to create something that looks so modern including the joinery. I would have loved to see a shot or two of it in use. As always simply a fantastic build with great video, audio and instruction.

author
woodbywright (author)ManCrafting2017-03-28

thanks man! I wanted a shot of it in use but my kids were too big for it. and the photographer does not have the rights to use other kids for my videos, so oh well.

author
SomervilleDesigns (author)2017-03-28

This would be very kewl as a set of adult chairs/benches. However, I would think it would need a stronger top for an adult to sit on perhaps? I would personally build this by cutting a number of "U"'s and gluing them all together. This would make the chairs strong to sit for an adult. Love the build thanks for sharing.

author

yes there would need to be a lot of changes for an adult. It would also need to be about 8" higher and less of an angle on the legs. that would be a fun build thought!

author
Meglymoo87 (author)2017-03-28

I love it and your video! You present it so simply and professionally. Thank you for your ible! I may never have all the tools or skills to make anything you post, but you gained a new follower nonetheless. ;) Blessings!

author
woodbywright (author)Meglymoo872017-03-28

Well, thank you, that means a lot. Never discount your skills it is simpler than it looks!

author
deluges (author)2017-03-27

I'm not a photographer - can I have one anyways ? :)

author
woodbywright (author)deluges2017-03-27

LOL I guess!

author
ClenseYourPallet (author)2017-03-25

Very nice as always. I'm still astonished that you only use hand tools to create these beautiful projects. You definitely inspire me to give it a go. Maybe once I build up my collection of hand tools I'll give it a try.

author

Thanks! that is about the best compliment I could get!

author
4DIYers (author)2017-03-25

Very well done!

author
woodbywright (author)4DIYers2017-03-25

thanks!

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Bio: I have been working with wood since I could stumble into the shop with my dad. About a year ago I moved into a house ... More »
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