We had a client who wanted a customized bench for his master bedroom. The client was born and raised in Hawaii and had an attachment to the Hawaiian hieroglyphic of the sea turtle, otherwise known as “honu”. He wanted a bench that was stout and sturdy, with angular lines, and he wanted to integrate the honu hieroglyphic into the bench.

The bench is 48″ long, 13″ wide, and 24″ high, which is a bit higher than normal, but being that our client was taller than the average person, it worked out perfectly.

We began by milling and gluing the bench top and the leg assemblies. The leg assembly was made up of five pieces; two legs at 2.25″ square, two stringers at 1.75″ square, and a solid panel at .75″ thick.

The pieces were assembled using mortise and tenon joints and dados for the central panel.

The legs have a 6.5 degree angle to add a bit of flair to a simple design.

We tackled the turtle cut-out by searching online for a usable image. We then resized it, printed it, cut it out, traced it onto the panel, then had it cut out using a scroll saw.

We then attached the leg assembly to the underside of the top using two mortise and tenon joints.

The leg assembly is also angled out by 6.5 degrees, which really adds to the overall design.

After we routed the four mortises for the central stringer, we glued and clamped everything up overnight.

The next morning we removed all the clamps and were rewarded with a rock-solid bench.

After applying a rich red-brown stain to the entire bench, and staining the turtle cut-outs with black dye, ensuring that the natural shadow lines would really stand out, we sprayed on three coats of semi-gloss lacquer.

The overall product is a sturdy, stout bench of fairly simple design with slight angled details and a honu cut-out that takes center stage.

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