Saturday, January 8, 2011

Taking the Stress Out Of Meditation Benches

Meditation benches are made up of three boards. How hard can they be to build?

That's what I thought. And by the time I was building the third one—and had made lots of mistakes on the first two—why, it wasn't difficult at all.

I decided to make benches for my partner and brother, who are both into Buddhist philosophy.

These types of low stools are canted forward, and the person tucks his or her legs beneath the bench, which makes their back perfectly straight. They're also surprisingly comfortable.

I wanted theirs to be able to knock-down for easy transport to retreats, and be stable enough that they wouldn't take a tumble while meditating with their transcendental buddies.

So, I decided on mortise and tenon joinery.

The seat needed to be thick enough to support the legs' tenons, and the legs needed to flare at the bottom and angle outward to provide stability.

Which meant compound angles. ew.

Therein lies the stress, at least for me, a geometry challenged individual.

I made a prototype in pine to sort out the trouble spots, then set to work on the two benches—one in cherry (finished) and the other in walnut (in progress).

My partner wanted the sanskrit symbol for "Om" carved into her bench (shown above), which was the easiest part of building the benches.

The photo montages show you how I made them, along with basic dimensions, in case you'd like to make one for the granola head in your life.

The seat is 1.125" thick and the legs are .875" thick. I bought a seat cushion (optional) with velcro straps from here.

If you have any questions, shoot me an email. I'll be happy to help make your meditation bench building process as stress free as possible. Namaste, peeps.