Nelson: Project Alfa

The first project in the Nelson Series is The Piano Bench.

Check out more information on The George Nelson Bench Project.

My piano came without a bench and I've been using a swivel chair. While the swivel chair is definitely comfortable/ergonomic/infinitely adjustable, it just doesn't look right in front of the jet black fantasticism of a piano. I don't think fantasticism is a word.

Granted, my piano cost me a whopping $2.25, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be paired with a decent bench, right? Yes, I said $2.25. Well actually it came out to $102.25 including the piano mover's fee. The wonders of eBay.

So to inaugurate my new woodshop and tweak the new tools and make sure they cut straight and make sure I still know how to cut straight, the first project was a simple exercise.

I call it The Piano Bench because of its initial usage, but in the pictures it's being used as a side table / cafe table / end table. And therefore those are the options for your usage as well. Bear in mind that the title of the piece does have the word bench in it, so you can sit on it too. Note that the two lovely chairs flanking this piece in the first picture are not included.

A real Nelson bench has teeth on the sides of the slats where the notched slats fit comfortably. I didn't mess with that process yet and decided to do a straight ahead glue up on the ends. The grain of the alternating pieces is rotated to face upwards so there's some contrast between the slats and the center pieces.

The legs are perpendicular to their adjoining horizontal supports and are not angled inwards as in a real Nelson bench.

Oh yeah, it's all pine. 'Cause that's the wood I happened to have on hand at the time. I had a whole bunch of ash and maple as well, but they were still getting acclimated to my shop, so I saved them for later projects.

Here are the dimensions:

Length: 22 3/4"
Width: 14 1/4"
Height: 19"

I looked up standard piano bench heights and got anywhere from 18" to 20". I split the difference and made it 19". For some reason it seems a little high for my piano. Or maybe I just got so used to sitting a little low with the swivel chair. Low rider swivel chair.

Price: $75 Sold!

Although this piece has sold (yippee!), one can be custom-crafted for you if this style of piece is what you're interested in. It's different from the other Nelson pieces since it doesn't have toothed ends and is a simpler alternating grain direction glue-up. Any size or any wood species-- it's up to you. Email me with your ideas and I'll SketchItUp for you and give you a price estimate.

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