I enjoy woodworking, where craftsmanship and creativity blend to shape functional and aesthetically pleasing pieces.
Today, I want to briefly outline eight reasons for constructing the Rex Krueger Minimum Timber Bench in the enchanting backdrop of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula woods.
This project captured my attention for several reasons, ranging from its simplicity and minimalism to the opportunity of enhancing my craftsman skills before taking on some important timber framing projects and more.
Rex Krueger’s Minimum Timber Bench
Brief Overview of the Rex Krueger Minimum Timber Bench
He does a great job of showcasing tools that are handy in all workshops, and he also taught me some of the tricks to find the wide array of vintage hand tools I now employ in almost all of my woodworking projects.
The Minimum Timber Bench is a renowned design concept developed by woodworking expert Rex Krueger. The design embodies simplicity at its finest, featuring a straightforward structure crafted solely from timber components. This minimalist approach not only enhances the bench’s functionality but also celebrates the natural beauty and versatility of wood as a material.
Setting the Scene in the woods of the UP.
If you’ve spent any time on this site, you know I love the magnificence of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula! Think dense forests dominated by towering red maples, white oaks, and big white pines that sway gently with each passing breeze.
For me, the UP woods hold an allure unmatched by any other location. They inspire tranquility and foster an appreciation for nature’s wonders. Within this stunning landscape, I am enjoying my second long summer on family land.
One thing I desperately need to continue building in the woods is a sturdy woodworking bench.
Constructing the Rex Krueger Minimum Timber Bench is more than a mere woodworking project. While it is an opportunity to connect with nature on a profound level, this is also a necessity.
Reason 1: Simplicity and Minimalism
Exploring the concept behind minimal timber benches
On Rex’s YouTube channel and website, he features many woodworking projects. This is what the man does. And he’s good at what he makes and funny in his videos. Rex emphasizes minimalism in all of his designs. Best of all, he offers designs for free and for purchase on his site.
The plans for this bench set me back a whole $15. Not bad.
Materials? Well, many I’ve already gathered, but let’s put the price somewhere around $65.
Rex’s design philosophy embraces simplicity and functionality.
When it comes to furniture, minimalism seeks to eliminate unnecessary ornamentation and focus on clean lines and practicality. The concept of a minimal timber bench embodies this ideology perfectly.
Through the use of simple joinery and straight cuts, this bench will achieve elegant simplicity and elevate form and function.
Whether used in a rustic cabin tucked away in the UP woods or as an accent piece in a contemporary urban setting, this bench effortlessly complements my surroundings.
Reason 2: Utilizing Local Resources
Highlighting the Abundance of Timber in the UP Woods
In the vast expanse of the UP woods, where nature unveils its captivating beauty, lies an abundant resource that has stood tall for centuries – timber. The sprawling forest where I’m camping covers the landscape, offering an opportune time to tap into the bountiful source of raw materials around me.
Emphasizing Sustainability and Reducing Environmental Impact
In today’s off-grid living world, sustainability is a term often used to describe almost everything.
But I’m not using wood harvested from our woods on this project.
That will come with future projects. But to get to the point where I can focus on sustainability and use wood from the land, I have dozens of smaller projects needing completion before moving forward.
Reason 3: Cost-effectiveness
Discussing how building a minimum timber bench saves money compared to buying one
One of the primary reasons why I’ve chosen to build a Rex Krueger Minimum Timber Bench is the significant cost savings it offers compared to purchasing a ready-made bench.
Commercially available benches, particularly those made from high-quality materials, are out of my budget range, and even building this bench is pushing it. But as I keep repeating, this is a necessity. A chicken and egg thing.
Rex is saving me a substantial amount of money. Plus, building my own bench allows me to tailor it to my specific needs and preferences. This ensures that every dollar spent is an investment in a tool that suits my needs.
Reason 4: Customization
As with all of Rex’s projects, he leaves room for the builder to customize almost every aspect of a build.
One can decide upon the dimensions and proportions to selecting the type and finish of wood, every detail can be tailored to reflect your personal style and complement its surroundings.
Whether it’s adjusting the height for ergonomic purposes or adding extra storage compartments beneath the seat, you can adapt the design based on functionality.
For those who enjoy gardening, incorporating removable planters along the sides or integrating hooks for hanging tools can transform your bench into a versatile gardening station.
I also make wooden custom crosses from the maple, oak, and pine from the land.
I’m using a mix of power tools and vintage hand tools to make this Rex Krueger Minimum Timber Bench.
The Art of Woodworking: A Journey of Mastery
Building this bench, as well as some of Rex’s other projects, presents the opportunity to delve into the art of woodworking. (I built his shave horse over the winter. It’s with me here in the woods and it works so well!)
With this project, creativity and craftsmanship blend together seamlessly.
Whether you are a seasoned woodworker or a novice, constructing your own bench offers a valuable practical experience that expands your skill set.
Woodworking is an ancient craft that has stood the test of time, and by undertaking this project, you will learn fundamental techniques that have been refined over centuries. From understanding how to measure and cut timber accurately to mastering joinery methods like mortise and tenon or dovetail joints, each step along the way will deepen your understanding of this intricate discipline.
The Satisfaction of Handcrafted Creations
There is an undeniable sense of fulfillment that accompanies the creation of something with your own hands.
In our fast-paced modern society, where instant gratification often takes precedence, engaging in a project like building a minimum timber bench provides an escape from the digital realm and allows for a genuine connection with physical materials.
I’ve enjoyed building this bench; my lower back, eh, not so much!
But the satisfaction is building. Through the main tent window last night, I looked up toward my build site and the only thing I could see in the darkness of the woods was my bench!
I promise, if you build a bench like this you will watch the structure come together harmoniously as a functional piece of furniture, and in the process, experience an indescribable satisfaction.
Reason 6: Durability
Explaining how well-constructed timber benches can withstand harsh weather conditions in the UP Woods
For my situation, I need a bench that is durable. The rugged and unpredictable weather conditions of the UP pose significant challenges to outdoor furniture.
This morning, I’m headed to Lowe’s in Marquette to get an additional box of deck screws and some stain.
While I could have made the whole thing with pressure-treated lumber, I chose to save dollars and then seal it with stain and lacquer.
This should help with resisting damage caused by moisture, temperature fluctuations, and pests.
Last year I learned a lot about what it takes for a wood project to endure the UP’s heavy rain, snowfall, or intense sunlight.
Reason 7: Portability
A Bench That Travels
Once I complete this bench, the next two projects are the construction of 2-wheel and 4-wheel carts.
You see, it’s rained so darned much since we arrived in early July that we got massively stuck one-day last week and we’ve not been able to drive down to the campsite since.
I like keeping the car close to the tents given that we have acquired a pesky black bear that keeps coming round. This is also practical for if the weather gets really bad, Maycee and I can exit the tent and hop in.
But no mas!
Not with the muddy conditions we’ve encountered lately.
So, the carts are going to help me move the bench to where I need it most, but they’re also going to help me move the boards I have on-site ready to build a 12′ x 16′ shed/cabin. With my back as bad as it is, there’s no way I can pull 4′ x 8′ tongue and groove boards across the site and up a slight hill.
Strapping what needs to hauling to the four-wheel cart will be quite handy.
Placing the 4′ x 8’s on the two-wheeler, about mid-way along the bottom of each sheet, will give me leverage to move them and guide moving them from behind as I roll them up the hill.
Can’t build the carts without the bench. Can’t make wood crosses without the bench. Can’t sharpen my tools. Can’t make a new 2-3/8s x 60″ pole for my Peavy, and the list goes on!
Reason 8: Community Engagement
In today’s fast-paced world, finding meaningful ways to connect with others is a challenge.
By sharing this post and the subsequent videos of the build, we get to build the bench together.
You have the opportunity to comment, make suggestions, and get ideas for your own build.
I’m halfway through building a Rex Krueger Minimum Timber Bench in the woods of the UP.
This project embodies simplicity, sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and customization opportunities.
I also get to use some of my woodworking skills and employ many of my vintage hand tools. Let’s face it. I need to practice using them.
This bench is durable and stands the best chance of surviving harsh weather conditions of the UP while giving me options for portability.
I encourage you to check out the plans Rex Krueger offers on his site.
They are a great way to save time and money, plus, they are highly functional and practical.
This build fits right into my mantra of “Simple Life, Simpler Living.”