Woodworker's Journal 101-Projects-for-Woodworkers, страница 25


Eighteenth-Century Water Bench

In the days before indoor plumbing, water benches, like dry sinks, were used for storage of buckets of water drawn from the well. Buckets were kept in the lower cupboard section while the upper drawers and shelf were handy for various small kitchen implements.

More functional than decorative, many water benches were rather crude home-built affairs, but one occasionally sees particularly well-designed and executed examples. These invariably command a high price on the antique market. The bench offered here—a very nice reproduction of a late eighteenth-century piece —is typical of one that might have been made by a rural cabinetmaker for a customer who had the means to "farm out" such work.

Though it is no longer needed for its original function, the water bench fits in well in the modern home. Use it in the dining room, kitchen, or anywhere an attractive storage unit is needed. Most utilitarian furniture was built of pine or poplar, and either painted or left unfinished. The

present-day use of stain is an attempt to enhance the wood and simulate the coloring of old pine that has been exposed to years of sunlight and use.

Select flat, well-seasoned #2, 1" pine for this project. Begin construction with the sides, which are glued up from two or more boards, joined with dowel pins and glue. Locate the dowels so you w ill not be cutting into them when shaping the curves.

Run two dadoes across the inside face of each side, one for the bottom and one for the counter-top. Next, lay out and cut the stopped rabbets along the back edges of each side. Note that the upper rabbet, which holds the shaped upper back board, is 1W long and ends at the lower drawer frame.

Cut rabbets to hold the lower back flush with the back edges of the bench sides; then run a % x stopped rabbet up from the bottom of the rear foot to meet the lower back rabbet. A router will make an easy job of cutting these rabbets. If you lack power equipment, cut the wide rabbets by hand, and nail and glue a % x %" strip of quarter-round molding along the inner faces of the sides and set back from the edge. This strip provides a fastening surface for the recessed plywood panel. Next, run the short dadoes to hold the drawer support and top shelf.

It will be necessary to edge join boards to make the bottom and countertop. Note that the countertop is notched around the sides and the exposed edges are well shaped. A plate groove was cut on the original, and you may wish to duplicate this feature or add a small half-round molding for standing plates. The counter butts against the lower back, which is nailed to it. The bottom is given a Y* x '4" rabbet to hold the plywood back panel.

Cut the upper and lower back boards, drawer support, dividers, shelf and back panel and assemble the bench with finishing nails and glue. As you proceed check the assembly constantly with a framing square, and nail diagonal braces across the back if necessary to maintain squareness. Cut the parts for the front-door-frame as


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