The north side of a hill close to our house in England often gets battered by winds, taking down trees far before their natural life is up. Whenever this happens I am out the next day with my chainsaw to salvage what nature disregarded in order to give it a second life as a beautiful handmade piece for you to enjoy.
There had recently been a load of cherry and sweet chestnut trees come down on the hill, and I also had an oak trunk from a recent salvage operation, and it now seemed like the perfect time to build something I've wanted to make for a few years - a swinging garden bench.
This year my dad turned 60, and as my parents would be returning to England after 9-years living in California, I wanted to do something to welcome them to their new house.
To make it more special, I wanted to make it entirely from greenwood using hand tools, so with the exception of the chainsaw for milling the oak, everything was peeled, cut, and jointed using carving knives, axes and chisels. It was a true labour of love, because it took way longer than I anticipated!. With the help of my sister Nikki, we spent about 10 days putting the bench together without any plans or real design.
Selecting the logs in order to utilise their bends and imperfections, it took a long time to figure out the best joints to use and how to scribe the shapes of the logs for a snug fit. It was a great learning experience and so much fun giving my little sister a crash-course apprenticeship in woodwork, which she took to really well and has continued to make a few things since. There are no screws or nails anywhere here. Everything is jointed and then pinned with hardwood dowels for extra strength. I'm really proud of this project and when we surprised my dad with a hand carved wooden bound photo book detailing the process, he was blown away.
Now I just need to wait for winter to pass so I can make my own bench for our garden. If you want something like this yourself and live in Quebec, Canada, get in touch on email@example.com and hopefully we can work something out!