Shaker-Style Bench Seat: Project Info

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This is the introductory page for a paid video series. Want to watch more of this project? Select the best option below to get started.


In this new series on building bench seats, Paul decided to step out into the unexpected and develop your shaping skills using different tools others may or may not have ever thought to use for shaping legs and seats. The spindles, rails and legs would usually come from a mechanical lathe of some kind, be that a sapling-driven pole lathe or an electric model. In this case Paul used an axe, a draw knife, a spokeshave and some chair devils.He also added additional bracing not normally associated with the Shaker-style Deacon’s bench. Follow the simple step by step approach Paul uses using nothing more than your own hands.

Tools needed:

  • Knife
  • Square
  • Marking Gauge
  • Chisel Hammer
  • 1” Chisels
  • Hand Router
  • Tape & Ruler
  • Sliding Bevel
  • Protractor
  • Winding Sticks
  • Smoothing plane
  • Jack Plane (optional)
  • Scrub Plane (optional)
  • Round Bottom Plane (or Moulding Plane, Gouge)
  • Spokeshave
  • Axe (optional)
  • Drawknife (optional)
  • Handsaw
  • Tenon Saw
  • Coping Saw
  • Straight and Round Card Scraper
  • Chair Devil (Optional)
  • No 80 Cabinet Scraper (if using hardwood)
  • Half-Round File (for dovetailing leg holes)
  • Rasp or File
  • Brace & Bit/Drill Driver

The joints used in this project:

Technically no joints as there are no shoulders. Uses traditional chair making techniques.


  1. NikonD80 on 3 August 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Wow. Looks like Paul’s really upped the ante on this one. Can’t wait to see this build unfold.

  2. jespiir on 3 August 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Paul, I love that you radiate such excitement about this piece of furniture and the techniques involved in creating it!

    This will be a very interesting project for all of your online apprentices around the world.

    My highest regards

  3. caerlynnfibers on 3 August 2014 at 7:24 pm

    I just had a look to see if there was some new, got hungry for more I guess…
    Thanks a lot to Paul and crew!

  4. George Bridgeman on 3 August 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Great introduction! It’s great that you’ve already finished the piece so can show what’s effectively a trailer for the series, instead of a brief intro.

    Looking forward to the series. Think we’re going to be very grateful for the spokeshave sharpening jig!


  5. RL on 3 August 2014 at 7:42 pm

    I’m looking to build this piece with you so I would like to buy the lumber beforehand. Can you suggest which lumber would suit the bench, particularly for the spindles? Would you use green wood for the spindles for example?

  6. sidreilley on 3 August 2014 at 8:01 pm

    I’ve been looking forward to this project ever since Paul announced it, but after seeing the preview, I’m really excited! The techniques we’ll learn will be a gateway to a lot of things I’ve wanted to do but thought I needed machines to do. Should have known Paul would have the answer. Like we say out here “start the ball Tector”.


  7. friscomike on 3 August 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Nice project; this one turns another page of techniques. I am off to Home Depot to purchase a bunch of those nicely tapered spindles… Mike

  8. Greg Merritt on 3 August 2014 at 8:44 pm

    This is a very nice project! I also like the new format for the intro video with the teaser clips. They add something special to the video. Well Done.


  9. SharpPencil on 4 August 2014 at 12:18 am

    Can I repeat ALL of the above comments in one, just what I need for my collection of spokeshaves.
    Not just a chair but a tutorial for a collection of techniques and advice that can be used with a lovely versatile material found all around us

    I will be using pitch pine for the spindles and legs, from a couple of 1930 panel doors and mahogany..ex shelving….all from skips.

    Roll on next Wednesday……………Thank you Paul. John

  10. norm lafond on 4 August 2014 at 12:39 am

    We need so many chairs, benches and other seating around the house. This will be a very useful and welcome series.

  11. bubba1 on 4 August 2014 at 1:56 am

    Thanks Paul,

    This is one of the project I’ve been waiting for, they have all been good but I’m mostly interested in chairs and case work.


  12. Matt on 4 August 2014 at 2:34 am

    Love how the teacher is just as excited to show us as we are to build. One of a kind!!!

  13. Anonymous on 6 August 2014 at 2:27 am

    I don’t get a chance to build everything, or even work every weekend, but I learn something every Wednesday. Sure looking forward to this. I can see a set of kitchen chairs in there already. Thanks!

  14. ekutan on 7 August 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Hi Paul,

    This is a wanderful design!

    Any recommendation for building a chair based on this design?
    Many thanks

    • benriniker on 24 August 2019 at 4:49 pm

      @ekutan I was looking for the same thing. It has really helped me to see different approaches. The Lost Art Press staked chair would be a good starting point. Add in the design elements from this project and it may be what you are looking for. I don’t think would qualify as shaker but, it may be what you are looking for.

  15. Steve Follis on 10 August 2014 at 11:49 pm

    I’m excited about this one!

  16. claudisimo on 7 September 2017 at 7:15 am

    What wood is that red one used there??? It looks beautifull. Is it stained or is that it’s natural color?

  17. Giorgio Colombo on 15 May 2018 at 7:59 am

    Hello, are the dimensionsof all’ the components written or told somewhere by Paul ? I do not seem to have seen or heard them. I would not want that my English, I am Italian, made me miss something.

    • harry wheeler on 15 May 2018 at 9:24 am

      If you look just below the Project Info video, you will find a link to download the cut list and drawing.

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