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Episode 007: Designing the Contemplation Bench

By: Chris Fitch
When designing this bench I had quite a few intensions, but none more than to provide a fun, versatile project that you can complete in a weekend.

In designing this month’s CNC project, the Contemplation Bench, I had a couple of goals:

  1. Create a strong structure that will last in both an indoor and outdoor environment.
  2. Keep the project simple so that it can be completed in a pleasant, unhurried day.
  3. Design the components and the joinery so it is CNC machining compatible.
  4. Make sure the components can be made on a desktop CNC using tiling.
  5. Create a bench of proportions that can find a home anywhere.
  6. Give the bench some visual energy - make it fun.


Achieving the first 4 goals was a simple task using slab construction for the legs, seat, and back slats. Strong simple legs and back slats join the seat in deep mortises in a no-nonsense building approach. The crest rail joins the back slats in an easy to cut lap joint for an all CNC cut construction project.


Finding a home for a new piece of furniture can sometimes be a real challenge so keeping the bench small was a must. I chose a size that allows two people who are fond of each other to sit comfortably together or for one person to have plenty of room to relax with a book and a cup of coffee.


As a designer, the challenge and fun of the project was to think of all of the interesting looks that can be created by changing the shapes of only a few pieces. Take a look at a few of the “looks” that I came up with and think of what you might like to do. With so few parts and simple joinery this is a great project for you to try your hand at designing the perfect bench for a place in your home. Good luck and have fun!

Episode Downloads

Project PDF and DXF Files

Published: April 1, 2022
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