Hi, I wonder if any of chaps could take a look at this plan for a
Mission style piano bench:
My question is about joining the rails to the legs. The plan seems to
recognize the mortise and tenon that joins the short side rail to the
legs; but, as far as I can tell, does NOT show the long rails being
connected to the legs at all!
Question 1: does the plan show a connection that I'm not seeing?
Question 2: if it does not, what would be your choice for connecting
both rails to the leg?
1. No. you see the plan correctly sort of. There are no mortises and
tennons at all. You are seeing the sides indicated with hidden lines. That
said, there a multitude of mistakes with the drawing. Inconsistent hidden
lines, incorrect dimensioning, etc.
2. Mortise and tennon all the legs and aprons.
Looks like a SU drawing....*g, d & r* (I said I was kidding!!)(HOW
many smileys do I have to post???)
hhehehe. But you are right, that drawing doesn't look like anything I
see in the rendered version.
It is a nice looking bench and if you follow Leon's advice, tennons,
floating or through are a must. The through tennons look a lot nicer,
Absolutely... or the One Minute Waltz might only be 30 seconds before
you fall to the floor.
Reminds me of that universal disclaimer on drawings. "This drawing is not
drawn to scale." Which comes from that old practice of taking measurement
directly off the drawing with a scale.
Perhaps a new disclaimer is appropriate. Something along the lines of,
"This drawing does not represent reality!" Or, "This drawing is a figment
of the author's imagination." Or, "This is a fictional representation of a
piano bench. Since I have never actually built anything like this before."
I might get flamed for this but you have lots o' options at the rail
1. For purists, yes use pegged M&T joints. This will last hundreds of
2. You could use a self made or purchased corner brace (like this
http://www.woodworking-news.com/woodcraft-products/27A31.shtml ) In
that case you firmly attach the rails to the seat and then attach the
legs later. This will last 10 years before it needs to be tightend and
will then last another 50.
3. You could use pocket screws. This will last 1 to 100 years
depending on how many screws, how well done, how many large rock and
rollers use the bench.
The lower spreaders and shelf can be done with M&T or dowels or pocket
screws (standard on under side of shelf, single hand drilled on edge
The pickets can be M&T or dowels.
Or by a Domino for all.
Or carve all from one large block
Note, I have experimented with a 1/2 inch deep dado (in legs) to
accept full thickness apron (no shoulders) glued and pocket screwed.
to approximate a kind of faux M&T. You get some good additional
torsion strength but without the shoulders and pins it is still only
1/2 as strong as a true M&T but I consider it a 100 year joint type.
From the fine print text accompanying the crude figure: "Lay out and work
the tenons of the rails and stretcher. The slats are best made without
tenons, the whole end of each slat being "housed" into the rails. ..."
The stock list shows rail lengths long enough to reach the outside face of
the legs. The side view shows the rail centered on the leg. I would prefer
to offset the rail and its tenon toward the outside to allow longer tenons,
and thus more glue area, but it won't gain you much here. Just center a 3/8"
thick tenon on the rail, and the rail to the leg. Miter the ends of the
tenons where they meet. Figure a 2 1/2" wide tenon, 1/2" from the bottom,
with a 3/8" to 1/2" long haunch for the top 1". You could forego the haunch
is you use corner blocks instead. The finished rail length is about 1 1/4"
shorter than the stock list size. The important dimension is the shoulder to
shoulder distance. You can afford to be sloppy with the tenon ends; the
shoulder distance on both rails have to match to get a square fit.
Pick up a pencil, or a modern day equivalent, and sketch it out if you're
Hmmm. "The piano bench shown in the accompanying picture was made of black
walnut ..." Black walnut, my blind eyes. Anything would look stunning in
black walnut, but fumed quarter sawn white oak would be more fitting for the
piece, and would match the picture.
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