SHAKER INSPIRED BENCH
by RISDMuseum, published
Simcha Davis's CNC cut furniture with historic traditions.
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This project has a total has a total of 11 pieces, each of which are one or two inches thick, all of which fit together and are varied in thickness (either 1 inch thick or 2 inches thick). It is very important to measure the exact thickness of each piece of wood. Because we did not plane both sides of the planks, it created some variation in thickness. We had to account for this by measuring everything; it was imperative that all the cut-outs were precise, so that the pieces would fit together properly.
Once the settings for the file were complete, we screwed onto the bed of the router all of the pieces of wood to be routed. Because we were making 12 benches, we made a jig. (Although our jig was not very effective, I highly suggest using one if you make multiple benches.) In addition to the varying thickness, the wood was often warped, which created a huge problem. The drill bit often was unable to cut through the entire piece of wood because it was not long enough.
Initially, we used a quarter-inch upcut drill bit that was three inches long, but it did not leave the wiggle room necessary to accommodate the varying wood thicknesses, height, and the issue of warping. After much trial and error and a few broken drill bits, we switched to a straight half-inch upcut drill bit that was four inches long. The half-inch drill bit is what should be used when cutting this file, especially if you are using material that is two inches thick. Once we switched to this drill bit, the file was much easier to cut and it took much less time. The only problem was that because the bit is so heavy, it kept falling out of the collet. To avoid this problem, make sure that you are using a brand-new collet, so the bit is very secure.
This file depends heavily on measurement for material thickness. If you are cutting this file multiple times, keep measuring and adjusting the pieces.
It should be noted that the zig-zag pieces for the seat of the bench and table are not an exact fit. They fit together well, with a few tiny gaps between the teeth of the zig-zag. If this isn'