Nice Staked Bench from Destrehan Plantation

DSC_5125 - Version 2

Mark Firley of The Furniture Record sent me the above photo he took at Destrehan Plantation, which is 30 minutes west of New Orleans. It’s a nicely proportioned staked bench that is supporting a crackling press, which is used to press lard from cracklings or juice from fruit.

I quite like how the cross-grain battens are oriented at the ends of the top. All in all, it’s a nice piece, despite its primitive appearance.

— Christopher Schwarz

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9 Responses to Nice Staked Bench from Destrehan Plantation

  1. volzwgn says:

    This piece looks like the legs could be removed and stored between the battens, making it a nice piece of Campaign furniture… Yeah, I can see the wedges in the tenons, but have you explored the repeated removal/reinsertion of legs as part of staked design? What taper works best for this?

    • Yup. Jennie Alexander has made many benches like you describe that knock to pieces.

      • I like the simplicity of Marks bench. Chris is right. My bench goes all to pieces and back
        together good as new. you can pound as hard as you want. Correction: I only have one bench. It is about 35 years old and the plank fell off the back of a truck that sped away. Honest. It has been used for all kinds of work and the planl looks like a pin cushion. But it is as good as when made. I use it beside my shaving horse. If Chris is game, I would like to write it up.

  2. I like it too, Chris . . . though that cross-grain design you noted is a beautiful illustration of the resulting inevitable splits we see in the top plank. Rick Bowen

    Sent from my iPad

  3. richardmertens says:

    It is a lovely bench and from the looks of it useful for all sorts of things. How do you think the battens are or should be attached? With nails? Glue? And are they enough to prevent the plank from splitting with mortises drilled so close to the end? (It looks like maybe the plank did split a little at the nearest leg in the photo.)

  4. Hey Chris, you weren’t kidding when you said this type of simple joinery would stand the test of time. Recently I was visiting the historic Little Greenbriar Schoolhouse (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Greenbrier_School) near Gatlinburg, TN and came across a giant (at least 10ft) staked bench at the front of the classroom. The school was built in 1882 and the bench looks like it could have been too but it’s solid as a rock! Some close up photos of the bench here: https://goo.gl/photos/JCstHHEh2SKnhjj5A

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