I was recently asked by someone if I could make a ” kungfu bench”. It is a simple traditional bench famously used by Jacky Chan in many of his movies as defensive weapon.
Benches like this are for sale for kungfu purposes. But simple pine versions can easily be €100,-, which is a bit much for what has historically been a cheap bench.
So I offered to make a version from the cheapest wood I could buy at a local store. I used one 14cm wide 210cm long wooden plank. Cut it in half and glued it to become the seat.
Two 44mm x 35mm x 210cm beams were used to make up the legs. Actually less is needed, but one was just too short. Luckily a had some left from a previous project, so I just needed to buy one.
The tricky part of this design is that the legs are slanted in two direction. The obvious one which is visible above. But there is also a slight angle in the other direction. This always makes it a little tricky to get the shoulders of the tenon right. And chiselling the mortises is even worse.
A dry fit show that it worked at pretty well. There is a slight gap on the insides of 0.5mm. So somewhere I must have been a degree of. But not bad for a first try…
To make the joints stronger I’ve hammered income wedges into the tenons. The way the legs are tightly fixated (besides the glue). This also allows the mortises to be slightly wider on the top side, such that I did not have to chisel at the exact same angle as the tenon would require.
Finally the part sticking out are sawn of, everything is planned smooth and two coats of oil are applied and voila:
A “kungfu” bench made for 1/5th of the price we found online. One downside of using the cheapest wood I could find, is that I did end up using some epoxy to fix some holes, cracks and knots. Without that and an animal based glue it would have been a 100% traditionally made bench…