The steps here are the ones I took, and certainly not the only ones possible, and I've done my best to break each step up into a brief version for those of you with woodworking experience, and a longer section explaining the step more in depth.. I had a great furniture-maker helping me out, and that was perhaps the best part of this project, the learning of new things and honing of my skills through someone who really knows what they're talking about. Above all, I would recommend finding someone like this and getting them somehow to help you through the project. It'll do wonders.
Now, that said, I also should disclaim myself from liability and say that I have no safety instructions in here, and nothing about how to operate or use machinery properly or safely. That's your job as a user of a shop's equipment and the manager/monitor's job of the place while you're there. So take a few minutes to learn the stuff if you haven't already.
Alright, alright, onto the project.
For this project, I used:
• wood (I used 6 2x4s @ 24in each)
• wood for the legs (4 pieces)
• wood glue
• plywood (seat)
• dowel (pegs)
• upholstery cushion
• staples (for staplegun)
• oils, waxes, finishing materials
• chop saw
• chisel mortiser
• chisels, mallet
• combination square
• marking gauge, pencils
• measuring tape
• staple gun
And I'll throw in an outline of the process for reference:
1 - Mill yer wood!
2 - Laminate yer boards - stick them together and glue 'em up
3 - Make the inner dovetail box
4 - Turn an' shape yer legs
5 - Outer box and leg joinery
6 - The seat
7 - Inner box movement
8 - Sanding & glue-up
9 - Upholstering
And now, if you're ready, let's get started...
Step 1: Boxes: Milling
I used leftovers from other projects for this thing: 2x4s from a friend's giant mustache bench and some cheap mahogany from my folding silverware set last year, as well as some scrap plywood and other stuff for later on. That said, the principles apply to whatever you're using.
First of all, have a plan. Duh, right? Mine involved mainly sketching how the inner box would move and be hidden. This initial drawing stage is key, and I had to revert back to it a few times when I came to something I hadn't thought of already. So come up with a plan, draw it from all angles, make sure you know all about each part of what you're doing. Mentally going through the entire construction process can be very helpful as well.
Onto the Instructable!
First things first: square boards! 2x4s of my length (just under 2 feet) probably won't warp too much, but better safe than sorry. So place your pieces on a flat surface and poke its opposing corners, seeing if it rocks at all. If it does, flip it over and try the other side. Whichever rocks less or not at all is what you'll run against the jointer.
If you do know...
Joint a face and a side, plane the other face just until it's flat, and table-saw off the remaining face (you can use whatever is available to you, if you don't have access to the tools mentioned). Mark a center point on an edge of each squared 2x4 and rip them on a bandsaw. Plane those cut faces afterward to re-square all your boards. Don't worry about the ends yet, we're cutting these all to size later anyway, so they'll get taken care of.
Done? Boom, you've jumped through the photos and are ready for step 2!
If you don't know...
Head over to your jointer, turn on any dust collection system there is, and making sure it's up against the fence at all times, push the board through the jointer blades and check its bottom for flatness. Depending on your warp you might need to do this a few more times. Mine varied.
Next, put that jointed face up against the fence and even out one edge of each board. Do that with all of your pieces (6 in my case).
Place all boards jointed-face-down and plane the opposite faces until there's no old wood showing. It's a good idea whenever using a thickness planer to set the planer's height, send all the boards through, and then change the height. That way everything is decreased in size evenly, and when one thing is correct, the rest will be too. Waay less headache than trying to match each one individually.
Once they're planed, head over to a tablesaw to cut off the last untouched edge (a bandsaw with a wide blade would work, you might just want to plane all those edges together afterward to make sure they're even. Keep as much width as possible, just slicing off the very edges of each board.
Mark the center of each board along an edge, line that mark up with a wide bandsaw blade and pull the fence right up against the board. These boards are getting harder to hold through a blade, and bandsaw accidents can be scaary, so use push sticks to keep the board up against the fence and push it through the blade. Do that with all the boards and plane all of the bandsawn faces, in sequence like before, to keep everything even.
Alright, onto step 2, where we'll line them up so they look purty, glue 'em together and clean 'em up into the boards we'll use for the rest of the project!