Project spotlight: Memorial Bench

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Longtime Steward, Damien Teitelbaum, was tasked with building a memorial bench for a client and utilized the Cave and crew to make it happen. Read on about the inspiration, easy and hard parts of this project.

Tell us about the project you did at DIYcave?
This particular bench project was a long time in the works, but I’m pleased with the way it turned out. The frame is made out of steel, and the bench itself is made out of red oak slabs. I sifted through lots of design ideas for the metal frame until I came up with this one. I wanted something simple and functional, but I also wanted it to be unique. Deciding how to add images to the bench and what medium to use was tricky. A friend of mine finally agreed to do the wood burning. We started drawing up ideas, and it was on. In my opinion, the finished product is an excellent blend of metal, wood, and fire.

What was your inspiration for the project?
This particular project was a commission piece for a few clients of mine. They wanted me to build a memorial bench that would ultimately be delivered to their fishing cabin in Montana. I was given a general idea of what they wanted the bench to look like, but not much more. They also gave me a few photos of the river in front of the cabin so I could draw up a scene to get burned. Aside from that, it was up to me to come up with design ideas for the project.

How did you prepare for the project?
The most significant preparation for the project was in the design stages. I went back and forth with my clients many times with different ideas, looks, and styles. After we decided on one that we all liked, I drew up the details, and it was on to the wood burning. They wanted to make sure that the scene on the bench was reminiscent of the river in front of their cabin. We went through many different sketches and drawings until we found one that they loved. Once the bench design and the wood burning images were finalized, it was off to the Cave to make it happen.

What are some of the skills you learned at DIYcave?
I usually do metal work when I’m at the DIYcave. For this project, I was in the wood shop quite a bit. Because I’m not a woodworker, pretty much everything I did was a learning process. Everything from trimming and planing down my slabs, to drawing and cutting out the side panels, to deciding what kind of stain and finish to use. It’s nice to have such knowledgeable people at the Cave to give help and suggestions when needed.

What were the easy and hard parts of your project?
The most natural part of the project was the metal fabrication. Like I said before because I do much welding this aspect of the project came more natural to me. The hardest part of the project was waiting in anticipation to get the wood slabs back from my friend Leigh who did the wood burning. I couldn’t wait to see what she had come up with! Worth the wait.

Favorite project you witnessed (besides yours) while hanging out at DIYcave?
I think one of my favorite projects that I have seen come out of the Cave would have to be the teardrop trailer. One of our member’s hand built a beautiful tow behind teardrop camping trailer at the Cave. This thing was beautiful! It had all custom cabinets, detailed woodwork, lighting, etc. It opened up my eyes as to what’s possible at the DIY.

What advice would you give someone who wants to join DIYcave and start a project?
Just do it. Join the Cave and start a project. It’s really easy to sign up and get a membership. It’s a fun, laid-back atmosphere and is very conducive to making your ideas come to fruition. There’s a lot of inspiration and knowledge to be absorbed from the people who hang out and work at the DIYcave. I’ve love the people who run the shop as well as the members who use it. Come on in and check it out.

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