Sunday, March 24, 2013

Campaign Bench in Mahogany

Is there such a thing as a campaign bench?

That's the question I found myself asking when an email dropped into our inbox a few months ago. There was no text, no greeting, nothing. Just pictures of a gorgeous piece of mahogany furniture glowing with a first-class finish.

But what was it?

I'll let customer Steven Decker do the explaining. After some light prodding, he eagerly sent us an explanation of his creation. Steven is active duty military, so maybe this is a campaign bench after all?

Fair warning: Steven's description contains colorful language.


And behold when I was done . . .when I knew I was 100% fully finished . . .I starred in awe, in wonder. And then I quaked at its beauty, I buckled at the knees, threw up and shit my pants it was so beautiful! As one needs to look at an eclipse of the sun through a pinhole in a piece of cardboard so too was I . . . OKAY YOU GET THE POINT!

1- Domino XL tenons are awesome for a build like this! Especially if you have never done tenons and do not want to pin tenons either.
2- For every action or modification there is a reaction or consequence. Making the end piece wider / thicker will have an impact upon the hardware that secures the handwheel on the tail vise. Remember this when modifying things.
3- Remember the height capacity of your planer. 10” does fit into 8.5”. Now what?
4- Best to beadblast any and all galvanized hardware (nuts, bolts, washers) before hitting with flaxseed oil. Remember only the part seen needs to be prepped.
5- Get wood to S4 then fit it up. Do not let it sit around a month or so, you will have to rejoint and replane, even just a tiny bit for it to be S4, even in a climate controlled shop.
6- Tapping screw threads is intimidating but actually very easy.
7- When drilling holes for ½” bolts for the stretchers, drill holes that are 5/8” so there is wiggle room to help you in lining up the bolt and the barrel nut.
8- Read the directions! READ THE DIRECTIONS! READ THE DIRECTIONS! (Not that I didn’t . . .a friend of mine didn’t).
9- Potassium Dichromate is incredible on wood, especially Mahogany. Be careful, it can be dangerous, but so can skydiving, firing belt fed machine guns and turkey cookers filled with boiling peanut oil. Some people write like it will kill you faster than a JFK headshot if you are careless with it. If you drink it yes it will probably kill you. Wear gloves, be aware of the dust, clean up.
10- Festool is awesome
11- Festool Dominos are great during wood glue ups for keeping wood from sliding all over the place.
12- Using extended stay glue with a longer open / set time is nice for large glue ups when you are alone and trying to match it up and glue it up all together.
13- Set up, place, open and pre-stage your clamps so the glue up goes fast and efficient.
14- 5” - 6” Foam rollers are cheap and a fast way to spread glue efficiently.
15- Best way to put a 6’ Mahogany Roubo bench in your living room?
A-    Notice the contemporary / IKEA like TV stand (clearly out of place) among all the manly wood, cast iron and steel furniture in your living room and tell wife it is out of place.
B-    Tell wife, (don’t ask) you are replacing said IKEA TV stand with something more manly and practical, like a 6’ Mahogany Roubo Bench (She won’t believe you and think it’s the whiskey talking, even if you haven’t been drinking whiskey).
C-    Install / Place manly Roubo Bench / TV stand when wife is at work.
D-    Do not be in house when wife comes home to see new “TV stand”
E-     Be in the garage starting the building of the 7’ quartersawn oak / twin wagon screws/ Twin Crisscross/ 30” wide Roubo bench with a 55 lb. patternmakers vise
16- If you have questions, call / email Benchcrafted.
17- Benchcrafted is awesome!

- This was my first major build project. Totally worth it! Be patient, take your time. Know that inevitably you will make mistakes here and there. We all do, get pissed then fix it. When you are done you will stare at it in awe. I get to fake like I am watching TV, when in reality I am watching the Bench.
V/r Steven Decker, Gustav Christos Furniture Crafters.


  1. The difference between using potassium dichromate and skydiving is that you jumping out of airplane isn't going to increase the chances that your son develops cancer, or that your daughter gives birth to a child with congenital deformities.

  2. All that money and utility and it's a TV stand?!

    1. Meh I do a lot of my wood working at my computer desk lol really I'm not joking

  3. I have a mahogany project nearing completion, and I wondered if Mr. Decker might share the finishing schedule he used for his bench?

  4. Beautiful...... but oh what a relief to see that he is going to use it as a TV stand and not a work bench!

  5. What a Stunning piece of work! I'll bet Steve's wife has big plans for his skills.

  6. Awesome workbench,.....mine is made if rock maple and cherry

  7. Is this for real? Or will the bench eventually make it to the shop and used? I could (maybe) understand building such a bench without the hardware as a TV stand, since it's indeed a beautiful piece and shows well; but adding those working vises as well as the holdfasts seems like such a waste. Everyone can do as one pleases with his own money, though; and I respect your right to do so, but I just want to know if this is not an early April's fool type of post!

  8. That's a beautiful bench, er, TV stand er,... regardless, I Like it!

  9. If that is his TV stand, I want to know what his kitchen table looks like! Gorgeous work!

  10. As someone who has been planning and dreaming of building a split top Roubo complete with the benchcrafted vises for a little over a year for my shop. Then to come online and see this gorgeous bench used as a TV Stand...........I just don't know what to say........I mean........if only for th.............tibishtle(gibberish).............(speechless) :O


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.