Small benches like this, made of pine, were found in many
Early American homes, probably because they were light-
weight and could be moved from the supper table to an out-of-the-way wall with a mini-
mum of effort. In the winter, it might be found next to the hearth, arranged so that it was
perpendicular to the wall. Here, a couple could sit facing the warm fire while the
backboards shielded them from the chilling drafts that regularly meandered through
those old houses. We used clear pine for our bench, although a few small sound knots
Early American Bench Materials List
1-1/8" x 16" x 34-1/2"
3/4" x 3" x 48"
1-1/8" x 16" x 46-1/2"
3/4" x 10-1/4" x 47-1/4"
Early American Bench Complete Schematic
Early American Bench Step-by-Step Instruc-
Step 1: Make the Sides (A)
1. Edge-glue two or three 1-1/8" thick (five-quarter stock) pine boards, cut wider and
longer than necessary to make the two sides (A).
2. Use two or three waxed alignment cleats keep the boards aligned as you apply
3. Allow the glue to dry and remove the clamps.
4. Trim the stock to length and width.
5. Use the table saw equipped with a dado head cutter to cut the 3/4" x 3/4" rabbet
along the back edge.
6. Equip the router with a 3/8" diameter straight bit.
7. Make a fence from a piece of 3/4" x 1-1/2" pine to clamp to the side.
8. Locate the fence so that the first cut will establish the lower edge of the 1-1/8"
wide by 3/8" deep stopped dado at a point 15-3/8" from the bottom.
9. Set the router bit to 1/8" and, starting at the back of part A and stopping at a point
3/4" from the front edge, make the first pass.
10. Set the bit to a 1/4" depth and make a second pass.
11. Set the bit to a 3/8" depth and make a third pass.
12. Move the fence and repeat the process to widen the groove to 3/4".
13. Make one more fence adjustment and one more series of 1/8" deep cuts to com-
plete the 1-1/8" wide dado.