While searching through photos of custom furniture I’ve made in the last few years I came across some photos of a custom storage bench made from curly maple that I had completely forgotten about having made. How could I have forgotten about this piece?! The close tight figure of the curly maple in this bench is spectacular. Curly maple with figure like this doesn’t grow on trees (well actually it does – a few anyway) so when I stumble on wood with this kind of figure I usually buy as much as I can afford to so that I have it on hand.
I used frame and panel construction for this storage bench which has 3 separate storage compartments and a lid that is split into 3 pieces. I used invisible hinges on the lid rather than butt hinges or a piano hinge so that the grain of the wood was not interrupted. The inner compartments are separated by frame and panel dividers but if I remember correctly the divider panels were not raised like the exterior panels.
The custom storage bench received a custom mixed amber aniline dye followed by several coats of a linseed oil and polyurethane mixture finish that I also mix up myself. The dyed finish helps to highlight the curly maple figure (not the figure in this bench would have been missed without it). Because the bench is built with sold wood and uses frame and panel construction the panels have to be dyed and finished before assembly. If the dyeing and finishing on the panels is done after assembly portions of the un-dyed tongues of the panels (that fit into a groove in the frames) will become visible when the wood shrinks slightly in the dry winter months.
I’ll be adding this custom storage bench to the store portion of my Shaker furniture website shortly. You’ll find it and several other storage benches and blanket chests on my handmade cabinets and cases page.