Searching for proper technique for this bench build

Boomvader

Rich
Senior User
I am repurposing 2 old computer cases to build a bench for my son's computer store. The top of the bench is a mixture of walnut and maple strips that I have milled, ripped and glued up. The next step is where I am entering into unknown territory. How do I shape the wood to fit flush inside the tops of these two cases. I found photos of the finished product, but not sure what tools I should use to get there. The first 2 are the desired outcome and the last 4 are where I currently stand.

What technique(s) should be used?

Screenshot 2022-09-27 at 7.00.09 PM.pngScreenshot 2022-09-27 at 6.59.31 PM.pngIMG_0012.jpegIMG_0011.jpegIMG_0010.jpegIMG_0009.jpeg
 

JNCarr

Joe
Corporate Member
Here's how I would do it without my CNC - there may be better ways ---
Cut the ends square to desired length.
Take a picture of the case as square-on as possible to get the x-y profile.
Print full scale.
Draw a datum line lengthwise down the top. Glue a printout on both ends using the datum line as a reference.
Use a plane and/or spokeshave to form the curves. You can remove some large waste on a table saw first - a couple of judicious angled passes should do it.
Set the piece in the cabinet and plane/spokeshave the ends to meet the contour.
 

mdbuntyn

Matt
Staff member
Corporate Member
I would create a template by tracing the shape onto a sturdy material (cut it slightly fat of the line and finesse it to fit), trace the shape onto the endgrain, and use hand tools (spokeshave, rasps, files, sandpaper glued to a stick) to shape it.
 

HITCH-

Hitch
User
Additionally I would rip the seat down to match the size of the cutout that already exists in the cases. I would be concerned about the structural integrity if you cut the case.
Maybe you were already going to do that.
 

Wilsoncb

Williemakeit
User
Here's how I would do it without my CNC - there may be better ways ---
Cut the ends square to desired length.
Depending on the profile you might be able to make some angled cuts (table saw or sliding miter) to eliminate some material before the hand work.
 

JNCarr

Joe
Corporate Member
Depending on the profile you might be able to make some angled cuts (table saw or sliding miter) to eliminate some material before the hand work.
I would keep the ends squared to glue on the profile. Otherwise, you'll get distortion. Only after the length profile has been shaped would I take angled passes on the ends.
 

Boomvader

Rich
Senior User
Thanks to all who responded with advice, etc. I ended up using a router and a sander to shape this after tracing the profile and took it slow with numerous test fits. It is sanded to 220 and I am now considering what type of finish to use for this bench top. Besides lacking knowledge and experience, I also lack proper woodworking hand tools!
 

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bowman

Board of Directors, Webmaster
Neal
Staff member
Corporate Member
Looks like a nice tight fit Rich. A lacquer will keep the wood colors natural, even clear shellac (my go to finish) will add an amber tint to the maple.
 

Boomvader

Rich
Senior User
Delivered final product and surprised my son. He loved it!

Thanks to all who posted advice and encouragement! This is such a fantastic community!
 

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