Introduction: Modular Bench
This is a modular/folding bench.
It can be used in multiple ways: A normal bench, a tete-a-tete seat, a seat with a side table, or a full desk.
5/16" Steel Rod
Drill with twist bits
Step 1: Get Your Plans Ready
I first drafted my chair to know how big of a sheet I needed for my seats as well as to know all my other dimensions.
The seat sits at 18" tall in either orientation, as well as 18" wide.
The frame is a simple rectaliner frame made from 2 laminations of poplar to be 2" x 2"
The back/table top is from 3/4" plywood at 20" x 14"
Step 2: Build Your Seats
I first cut down bendy ply a few inches larger in both directions from what I needed. The extra inches allows for slop and lets you cut new clean edges once built up.
Make sure the bendy ply is all running in the same direction. This will allow it to bend to the curve desired.
The jig is made from scrap plywood. Matching the curve of my chair.
Take your three sheets of bendy ply and spread a good amount of wood glue between each layer to make sure it holds.
Set the bendy ply into the jig and clamp down tight. Let it sit for at least 2 hours. I ended up leaving it over night, just because I couldn't work on it again until the morning. A little more time never hurts.
Step 3: Finish the Chair
To create a clean edge, and match nicely with the frame, I added a poplar edge to the chair. This also gives it more support.
First cut clean edges along your chair and take it down to the correct size.
Trace the chair on your poplar and cut it out to make your frames.
Take time to make it match well and then sand it some, but you will also need to sand the entire thing once assembled.
To attach the edge to the chair I made a dado cut into the center of the frame, and rabbit cuts into the chair with a hand router.
Glue and clamp the frame on the chair.
Now grab the sander and make it all smooth.
Step 4: Build the Frame
For the frame I laminated some poplar together and milled it down to 2" x 2".
I joined most of the frame together with wooden dowels, except the top handrail.
To give it more character I used a mortise and tenon joint for the end of the hand rails. This obviously takes more time and skill, and isn't necessary, but looks neat.
Glue and clamp the frame and keep clamped for 2 hours.
On the back of the frame I attached my 3/4" plywood desk top with a couple basic hinges inset into the frame.
Step 5: Attach the Seat and Paint
To attach the seat I ran a 5/16" rod all the way through both seats and into the ends of the frame.
Use a 5/16" drill bit, or a slight step up, and carefully run it through the full length of each seat and the frame. You will need an extra long twist bit to do this.
Use washers to keep the correct spacing between the chairs and the frame.
Plug the ends of the frame with some more dowel to lock the rod in place.
Paint and seal your chair as you see fit. Mine was a nautical theme. I see it going near the end of a dock or on a porch of a beach house.