Doug's Bench Part IV: Reinforcing the Seat

To install the threaded rod reinforcement in the seat of Doug’s Shoe Bench I began by routing three (3) ½” x ½” grooves down the length of the underside of the bench seat. Then I cut three (3) pieces of 3/8” threaded rod to fit into three (3) respective holes. I use 3/8” threaded rod in the ½” slot in order to allow room for the epoxy around the threaded rod.

Getting ready to route the slots.

The final step before mixing up the epoxy is to cut shims. The shims are used to hold the threaded rod up off the bottom of the groove and roughly center it to allow the epoxy to completely surround it. For shims I uses standard composite builders shims, such as you would use for a window or door installation. I cut about ½” of off the bottom at the narrowest point. Then I take that ½” x about 1” piece and cut it into roughly ½” x ½” squares. I do this by eye. The exact fit isn’t critical. The point is to raise up the threaded rod so that its high enough for epoxy to fit below it while sitting low enough for epoxy above.

With the slots, threated rod and shims ready it was time for the epoxy. I used Gorilla Epoxy. Mixing entire sets of epoxy at once, it was important to move fast, before the 5 minute epoxy set. For added flair, you can add dye (such as India Ink or Trans Tint) to color the epoxy for a matching or contrasting effect.

Ready for the epoxy and threaded rod.

As soon as the epoxy was mixed in a plastic cup, I dropped in shims, evenly spacing three (3) per slot. Then I poured in the epoxy. For this first pour I was looking to fill the slot about 1/3 of the way with epoxy.

Once the bottom of the slot was filled, I dropped in the threaded rod and using a scrap of shim, pressed the threaded rod down into the slot until it rested on the shims.

Then I poured me epoxy over the threaded rod. I didn’t always, but you should be careful to crown the epoxy. If it’s crowned, you can always sand it back to a smooth, flush surface. If it’s left shy of the surface, when you sand it will still be low and won’t look as clean.

Filled with epoxy and threaded rod.

It is important to work one slot at a time because of the epoxy pot life. If you fill the bottom of each slot before dropping in the rod and topping them off, the epoxy will set before you have a chance to finish the slot.

Sanded clean and flush.

Once the three (3) slots were reinforced, I let it set overnight before continuing with the sanding and smoothing of the bottom surface.


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