Power-Carved Lounge Bench

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Introduction: Power-Carved Lounge Bench

Full Video of the build is below which can be found on my Youtube Channel, followed by full steps and materials list / tools list that you'll want to have to complete.

Step 1: Design, Design, Design!

This project was the second build in a series of TurboPlane Projects I have tackled. I was sent a reference by ArborTech of a cool looking carved bench and wanted to tackle my own version of it using my own building methods. I was very excited for it, as I had learned so much the first time building something and was ready to take on another build, armed with that knowledge.

I planned to use Douglas Fir lumber from Home Depot for this build as I thought the raw wood look would be awesome. In order to figure out how much material I needed, I laid out all of my cuts in excel and then translated it to dimensional lumber, then purchased what I needed ahead of time to let it dry out. The diagram shows what lumber I purchased and how I divided up my cuts.

Step 2: Gather Materials and Tools and Get Stoked!

Below is a list of the lumber, materials, and tools I used for this project.
Note - all wood is Kiln Dried Douglas Fir from Home Depot.

MATERIALS

TOOLS

FILM / AUDIO EQUIPMENT

Step 3: Make Your Cuts

I made the following cuts from my rough lumber (reference Design step for confirming where to make cuts from):

From 2 x 4's
12 x 9"
12 x 10"
4 x 13"
4 x 17"

From 2 x 12's
1 x 31"
1 x 32"
1 x 34"
1 x 50"
2 x 54"

Step 4: Plane All of Your Pieces

Since I would be laminating all of these pieces together, I needed clean, flat surface.

I planed down all of my pieces as the edges were slightly rough or cupped and in order to make this type of project work, you'll want your surfaces to be as flat as possible to the glue joints are as flush as can be.

Tip - If you cut all of your pieces and don't necessarily plane and glue them up in the same day, make sure you store them flat and stacked to avoid cupping or bowing. Also, it is easier for me to make my cuts then plane the wood down versus planing very large pieces and maneuvering them constantly.

Step 5: Cut Your "Seat Backs"

This next step is a little tricky but I'll try my best to explain. In order to make the back of the lounge chair on one side, you'll need to cut a series of "L" shaped pieces from your 2 x 12" pieces so that when you laminate them together and eventually carve them out, everything will flow nicely and the edge grain will transition properly to the end grain.

To do this, I made the above cuts by measuring them out using a T square on my wood carefully and then, using just my circular saw and "plunging" it into the wood, I cut make the cuts. The cuts will extend into the corner of the "L" but that is okay as you'll carve much of this material away anyways.

NOTE - Do NOT cut the small part of the "L" off - your pieces should look like Picture number 4 above. The width of the small part of the "L" should be 5 inches wide.

Step 6: Laminate, Laminate, Laminate!

Next were glue ups. If you watched the video, this might be a bit more clear, but I'll write it out here for full detail. All of your surfaces should be primed for this step assuming the wood is planed down. If you need to smooth it any further do to cupping, I recommend using a stationary belt sander to tackle larger surfaces:

Legs
You'll end up making four total legs, each using 3 x 9", 3 x 10", 1 x 13", and 1 x17" pieces (pics 1-3) laminated together

Seat Bench
You'll make one bench seat using 1 x 50" and 2 x 54" pieces laminated together (pic 4). I recommend deep jaw clamps for this so you can make sure your middle is glued together - I used scrap hardwood instead as I don't have deep jaw clamps.

Lounge Back Rest
You'll use the six "L" shaped pieces laminated together (pic 5). Pieces will be laminated together in order based on their length so it forms a stepping shape.

Step 7: FINAL Lamination - the Glulam Bench!

Once all four legs, your bench seat, and your lounge back rest are glued together, you can laminated all of those pieces together as well to form this really cool looking "Glulam" bench.

Note - I am limited on clamps, so this was 9 total glue ups over the course of a week to make sure all of my pieces were properly secured and cured over the right length of time.

You can see the pic above has the final bench in it's final form and ready to be shaped!

Step 8: Power Carving Woohoo!

To shape this piece, I am using my ARBORTECH TURBOPlane Blade which is a beast at shaping, contouring, and carving away wood (Pic 1).

I marked out the rough shape I was aiming for using a sharpie (Pic 2), and then, over the course of four hours, I carved away a large chunk of material from my piece to give it a very sleek look (Pics 2-3). The TurboPlane is great at carving away wood, and as tricky or intimidating as it might sound, it is very easy to control how much or how little you take away. I carved away material on the legs, back rest, and bench top and bottom to create a flowing curved shape.

Step 9: Flap Disc Smoothing

Now, while the TurboPlane carves great, it isn't always easy to carve flat. Often, you're left with gouges, which is where Flap Discs come in handy. I used a 40 grit flap disk, which also removes a lot of material, but is much better at only removing "high points", thus helping you to flatten everything out and begin finessing the curves of your piece. I probably did this for 2 hours after carving.

Then, it literally started snowing where I was, so I called it quits for the day. I was also pretty wiped (but happy with my progress).

Step 10: A Bit More Carving and Final Finishing

Back at home where it was sunny, I went back and removed another 5 pounds or so of material using the TurboPlane as the profile wasn't sleek enough for what I was going for. After following that up with more flap disk smoothing at 40 grit, I moved onto orbital sanding at 80 and 120 grit, followed by hand sanding at 120 and 220 grit. I also did a wet sanding at 220 as this piece was going to see a lot of weather and I wanted the grain to remain smooth if it got moist.

By the way - how cool does picture 3 look with the edge grain transitioning to end grain?

After final finishing, I weighed the piece - I had removed 32 pounds of wood (taking it from 102 to 70 pounds)

Step 11: Wood Filler (Fixing Some Unavoidable Mistakes)

After final sanding, I used a bit of Minwax Wood Filler to take care of a few gaps I couldn't avoid during the lamination stage and then sanded it down. It looks perfect and you'd never notice there were gaps otherwise.

This felt unavoidable as Douglas Fir will undoubtedly cup a little bit in between all of these cuts, planes, and glue ups.

Step 12: Finishing

Last up was finishing, and I did one thick coat of Natural Danish Oil on this piece, which helped preserve the look of the wood while also bringing out the grain. I didn't apply any sort of poly or sealant to it as it will be indoors. I will likely revisit a sealant in a few months once I see how the piece holds up as it will be in the mountains and possibly over-exposed to elements and weather shifts.

Step 13: Admire the Transition

Here is a final set of photos for you to check out the transition from various stages until the final form of the bench. The first picture is the final oil piece, and the subsequent four photos show the transition from rough glulam bench to carve, sleek profiled bench.

Step 14: FINAL BENCH!

Really looks awesome right?

If you want to know any materials, tools, or have any general questions answered, you can check out the second step or contact me via my website, thecuttingbored.com and I would be happy to do answer them.

As always, thank you for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my new Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every few weeks.

Cheers! Zach

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    33 Comments

    Had a thought. What are your thoughts on using a reciprocating saw instead of an angle grinder? In terms of price and safety.

    I honestly don't think it will work. The reciprocating saw isn't meant to plunge and it doesn't carve out material very well or add much for carving. In fact, it sounds a bit unsafe to me in comparison.

    If you are inspired by this type of work, I'd truly suggest getting a good corded angle grinder (Makita is what I have for $70) and then the Turboplane which is an investment but a hell of a product long term for you. Hope this helps.

    I see your point. How long would that blade last?

    Depends on how much you use it. I've used it maybe a total of 30 hours so far and its sharp as ever. The carbide teeth can also be replaced or sharped as well, so I'd expect it to last a very long time.

    What kind of cutting blade to you use on the angle grinder?

    It's a Turbo Plane from Arbortech. If you check out Step 2, there is a product link to it id you want details on price or where to buy. Super awesome tool. Cheers

    Thanks. I'm planing on using your ideas and making it my own. I'll post pics when I finally get it under way. You have truly inspired me.

    That is incredibly kind of you to say - that is my main goal as a creator so have fun with whatever it is you go make - is you go the carving route you can't help but draw inspiration and still make something totally unique!