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Nearly finished hall bench

I’m a little behind on posting updates throughout this project build (actually, I’m almost finished), but here’s a quick look at it before final sanding and finish. I’m making this Arts & Crafts hall/entryway bench from red oak for my church. We built a new addition on a few years ago, and are still finding needs for furnishings and such. This bench will go in the entryway near the coat rack. Loyal WOOD Magazine readers might recognize this bench, or at least its inspiration, from issue 145 (November 2002). The original plan was open below with a shelf and fixed seat. My bench has a hinged seat, and I enclosed the front to provide storage inside (and out of sight). Rather than doing all the joinery with screws, as in the original, I made nearly all the joints with mortises and tenons. The front panel joins the sides with a full-width stub tenon into a routed groove. And the arms I did join with screws. You can still see the plugs standing proud over those screws; I just need to trim them flush and sand. I’m hoping to have this bench done in a week or so.

Stock up on the screws you use

Sometimes, I  actually pay attention to my junk mail, especially when a mail-order supplier offered nearly free shipping on fasteners. The problem was, I’m never sure which ones to buy in boxes of a 1,000, 100, or a dozen. So one evening I sat down with all the WOOD magazine issues dating back a little more than the past two years and added up the types of fasteners used in our projects. And just so you don’t waste an hour of your own time doing the same thing before stocking up on fasteners, here’s what I found:

We used #8x1¼” and #8x1½” flathead wood screws at least twice as much as any other fastener (20+ projects). Both definitely go on my box-of-1,000 list. For the next size smaller carton (100?), I’m going to pick up #8x¾”, #8×2″ and #8×1″ flathead wood screws. (If you hang a lot of cabinets or other wall-mounted projects, throw in a box of #8×3″ flatheads.) And because I can’t always find good square-drive versions of these at the home center, I’ll add a box of #8x1¼” panhead screws. Feel like covering all your bases? Add boxes of these to your order: #8x2½”, #8x1¾”, #8x1½”, #6x½”, and #6x1¼” flathead wood screws. You won’t need many, but that’ll save you a drive to the hardware store.

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