“Floating-Top” Bench

This bench is made from hard rock maple for the base, and bubinga for the top and leg accents.   I designed this bench so that the top appears to ‘float’ above its supporting members.   My goal was to produce something contemporary and reflective of the broad exposed beams prevalent in Sea Ranch architecture.  The bench is finished with multiple coats of a hand-rubbed oil-varnish mixture.  Please see the final photo of this piece in the “Furniture Gallery”  now that the finish has been rubbed out to its final satin sheen.  This bench also was displayed in the 2011 Art in the Redwoods show at the Gualala Arts Center.   This bench recently sold through the Spindrift Gallery in Gualala.


On the Drawing Board

On the drawing board now are several versions of this bench, as shown below.  Any and all comments are welcome.  Click on an image to see it larger.


Phil Wenndt, 1/12

6 Responses to On the Drawing Board

  1. Michael Masumoto says:

    Phil, you busy boy! I stand by my original suggestion, version 1. It looks like a crouching animal, rather alert. I like it even more now that I see it realized. Kai points out that it will require some shaping after the piece is partially assembled, but I don’t see you having a problem with that. I don’t care for versions 2 or 3 at all, those straight legs with those shoulders don’t work for me. Kai thinks that versions 3 and 4 with the opposing curve make the bench seem both a little more conventional and kind of stodgy. In Version 4, I think that if you want to have the opposing curve under the top, you would need to substantially alter the shoulders so that you top is resting upon a pair of horseshoes. Anyhow, I don’t like that as much as I like Version 1.

  2. Thanks Michael and Kai.  I greatly appreciate you both taking the time to review and comment.  I had to do some post-assembly shaping in he original piece, and it went pretty smoothly.   This is really helpful guys,  thanks again.

  3. I agree with Michael that the curved legs in Version 1 do provide an image of strength – this seems appropriate on something that reqires strength for its functional use.   I like the curved underside of the horizontal member in Version 3.   This could be connected to the vertical legs with some Maloof type forming of the type used in some of your other pieces.   A routered radius on the inside corners of the legs and into the horizontal member appeals to me.   On the outside surface of the legs I would like to see what a radius matching the underside of the seat would look like.    Of course, what you like is of most importance.

  4. Thanks very much Dick for getting into this.  Your comments are quite helpful, and appreciated.  I actually have some older drawings with routed/roundover edges and was less attracted to the look than I would have thought.  In some respects, the routed edges took away from the overall mass of the legs, but I haven’t tried routing just the inside edge; something to consder.  I have been thinking about the idea of some non-flat outer surface for the legs, but that may end up in later versions.  I’ll have to do some drawings, though just to see how it looks.

    Again, thanks for taking the time and effort to look at this and provide thoughtful comment.  This group-think is pretty new for me, and the input really helps.


  5. Steve Thomas says:

    I like versions 1 & 4, although I really need to see it from eye level and at different angles to be sure.  I like the continuous concave curve on the inside of the legs of version 4.  I wonder what it would look like with the legs lighter in weight or with a thicker/wider top.  I bet the placement of the bench will affect how it is percieced.  If it’s in a narrow entry way only the top would be seen unless the legs are proud of the top, like you have it.  The rails may never be seen unless you can observe them from a distance.

    But I also like the contrast of the straight legs with the curved underside of the top in version 3.  It’s clean and contemporary.

    Your web site is a great venue for following up on our discussion at the meeting.  I hope we can continue to do more like this.

  6. Thanks very much Steve for taking the time to review and critique.  This has been a good ice breaker for me.   I appreciate your thoughtful comments.  And I agree, the bench looks very different depending on your perspective.  In real life , the lower frame is far less noticable, but I do think the rounded legs will be more noticable as they protrude further from the edge of the top.  As such, it will also affect how the bench might look snugged up against a wall.  Something else forme to consider.  I can actually place the peice in a virtual room using Sketchup.  I might give that a try.

    Again, thanks for your input Steve.