MAHOGANY GARDEN BENCH
A nice blend of Tudor and Asian styles.
SHOP OWNER: Fred Davis
LOCATION: Abilene, KS
This is a copy of Russel Jensen's Japanese garden bench featured on the front cover of Fine Woodworking #198. Itís a blend of traditional Tudor and Asian styles. The curved armrests, crest rail, and tapered back splats provide an Asian feel, while the chunky front legs and angled back legs are strictly Tudor.
Jensen used teak for his bench but I went with mahogany for my version. Most of the mahogany has ribbon-stripe grain, especially the seat slats, which are all from one board. It is finished in CAB lacquer for an interior application. This bench appears deceptively easy to make but with forty mortise and tenon joints, some of which are angled, there is more to do than first meets the eye.
I did a couple of things to the bench that for some reason he left out. I departed from the original by returning the front seat slat onto the front legs instead of terminating the slat with the butt joint Jensen used.
I also put a seat slat under the bottom back rail, which he left open and looked funny that way to me. I suspect the reason was that he painted himself into a corner when he discovered that there was no room to screw it down and plug it like the rest of the seat slats. I wedged mine down until the glue dried.
. . . Fred Davis