By Joshua Farnsworth
In this video I give a detailed tutorial on how to build a Shaker bench. I chose this design because I absolutely love the look of the lapped dovetail braces, and I felt that the lap dovetail joints and the through-mortise & tenon joints would give beginner woodworkers a challenge without overwhelming them. And the project is really fun for experienced woodworkers as well. The most exciting thing about this bench is that I built it using only three yellow pine stair treads from the hardware store! Below I talk a little about the details of the build, and share the project plans and list of tools that I used.
Why did I use Yellow Pine Stair Treads?
- These stair treads are usually made from very clear pine, with very few (if any) knots.
- Stair treads are a little over 11-inches wide, so I wouldn’t have to glue up boards to make the bench wide enough to sit on.
- Yellow pine stair treads only cost around $10 each, so this project is very affordable to build (under $35).
- Yellow pine is easy to use with hand tools and power tools.
In this video I used a mix of power tools and hand tools, but if you want to make the bench using just hand tools, you can check out my article & video: “How to Square, Flatten, and Dimension Rough Boards with Hand Tools“.
Project Plans for the Shaker Bench
You can certainly build this bench without my plans, but I created these for those who’d like to save the time of figuring out dimensions. I designed these plans based off of many antique Shaker benches that I’ve seen over the years. But I added some of my own details, and made my dimensions simple to work with, and so they can be used with stair treads. You can click the button below to see more details about my $5 woodworking plans:
Tools & Supplies used in the Project:
This is a list of tools that I used in this video. Because I have a school full of woodworking tools I am able to use a large variety of tools, but you certainly don’t have to have every one of these tools to make this bench. Some of these links are affiliate links, but don’t cost you anything.
- Lufkin Zig-zag folding rule: https://amzn.to/38pji9C
- Grizzly 17-inch bandsaw: https://amzn.to/2MRjbwW
- Grizzly bandsaw resaw fence: https://amzn.to/2MQGsPs
- ½-inch Wood Slicer bandsaw blade: http://bit.ly/38eSGYR
- Hitachi 12-inch sliding compound miter saw: https://amzn.to/3armeVf
- Grizzly 8-inch jointer: https://amzn.to/2LT3YZq
- Moravian Workbench (video): https://store.woodandshop.com/product-category/woodworking-dvd-videos/
- Vintage Stanley No. 5 Jack Plane: https://ebay.to/36q9cVO
- Grizzly 15-inch thickness planer: https://amzn.to/2LyUlQC
- Sawstop Cabinet Table Saw: https://amzn.to/2XvczGW
- Sawstop folding outfeed table: http://bit.ly/2O5buCE
- GRR-RIPPER table saw pushblock: https://amzn.to/31yK1NR
- Vintage Stanley No. 4 ½ smoothing plane: https://ebay.to/2NEDprB
- 12-inch combination square: https://amzn.to/2BOELL5
- My favorite cheap 0.7 mm mechanical pencils: https://amzn.to/2Q3HFSn
- Vintage metal try square: https://ebay.to/2C8ta9Q
- Vintage Stanley No. 60 ½ Low-angle Block Plane: https://ebay.to/36cOveS
- Joiner’s mallet: Shop made or buy this one: https://amzn.to/2WDo4eR
- Brass Wheel Marking Cutting Gauge: https://amzn.to/2Q0ob0P
- 6-inch combination square: https://amzn.to/2WBzvnr
- Lie-Nielsen Dovetail Saw: http://bit.ly/2AJSfXI
- Lie-Nielsen crosscut backsaw: http://bit.ly/338abb6
- Antique bench chisels: https://woodandshop.com/woodworking-hand-tool-buying-guide-chisels/
- Coping saw: https://amzn.to/2NzShse
- Coping saw blades: https://amzn.to/2u4rHk5
- Holdfast: http://bit.ly/30GFXLQ
- Vintage wood-handled hammer: https://ebay.to/2tH97yz
- No. 112 Spofford patent split chuck Fray Brace: https://ebay.to/36gBNvm
- Vintage Irwin Auger Bits: https://ebay.to/38jZrZw
- Jet 16 ½-inch drill press: https://amzn.to/2MTYC2X
- Forstner bit set: https://amzn.to/34lG5BY
- 38″ Veritas Aluminum Straightedge: http://bit.ly/38t7D9Y
- 6-inch Spring Dividers / Compass: https://amzn.to/30e6uiW
- Irwin Quick Grip ratcheting clamps: https://amzn.to/2Rh29cG
- Veritas Striking / Marking knife: http://bit.ly/2C7UxRj
- HSS Brad-Point Drill Bits: http://bit.ly/2NLMnnS
- Lie-Nielsen Spokeshave: http://bit.ly/369zPNq
- Auriou French-cut Modller’s Rasp (7” & 13 grain) : http://bit.ly/37r3VgE
- Titebond 3 wood glue: https://amzn.to/36hp2ke
- Glue brushes: https://amzn.to/2RCtx3F
- Bessey Parallel Clamps: https://amzn.to/2RPDM4X
- Makita hand drill set: https://amzn.to/2Rd4tkE
And here’s the video that I shared last week on making a ton of wedges quickly on a bandsaw, for use in wedging the tenons on this bench:
I hope you enjoyed the video! I’ll be using this bench in an upcoming video on making milk paint from scratch, so subscribe below if you want to be notified when it’s released. Also, please share your comments below and check out our upcoming woodworking classes: