David’s Danish Cord Bench
By David Knapp from Rochester
Added on July 2, 2015
I’ve always loved the look of the Danish modern chairs made by Moller, which typically have woven seats. So, when my wife asked me to make a bench for the kitchen entrance to our house, I knew I wanted to make one with a woven seat. Surprisingly, I was able to find a number of videos and articles online discussing how to weave the particular pattern that is used on the Moller chairs. I also was able to find a supplier in California that sells Danish cord.
The first step in making the bench was the legs, which are made out of walnut. I cut a slight taper using a band saw and shaped the subtle curve at the top of the leg by hand with a rasp. The legs are attached to the stretchers with mortise and tenon joints. I cut the mortises by hand with a chisel. Since I’d never done that before, I watched a few videos of Roy Underhill cutting mortises and figured I was ready to go. As it turns out, Roy made it look a bit easier than it actually was (go figure). As I now know, it’s best not to cut the leg to length before chopping a mortise near the top of the leg. The small piece of wood that remained above the mortise broke out on two of my three legs. Since more 8/4 walnut was not in my budget, I had to just glue the broken piece back in.
Before attaching the maple stretchers, I wrapped the long ones in Danish cord using special nails called Danish L nails. Once the stretchers were wrapped in cord, I glued them to the legs and the frame was complete. I then started the weave. The weaving was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. A good tip I picked up from the internet was to wear golf gloves when doing the weave–the Danish cord is rather rough and you have to pull it tight with a lot of tension, so it gets hard on the hands pretty quickly.
Other than a few little projects, this was my first real furniture project. All in all, I was happy with the result and it was a great learning experience.