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Re: [MedievalSawdust] Height of a bench?

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  • AlbionWood
    Sean, the question does indeed bear on the medieval, because the way we sit nowadays is different from the way medieval people sat. We are accustomed to
    Message 1 of 24 , May 20, 2011
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      Sean, the question does indeed bear on the medieval, because the way we
      sit nowadays is different from the way medieval people sat. We are
      accustomed to sitting in chairs with backs, so we lean back and slouch a
      bit when we sit. This is most comfortable with a seat height in the 16"
      - 17" range for most people.

      When sitting on a bench, however, there's nothing to lean against and
      you tend to "perch" rather than slouch. This is most comfortable with a
      taller seat. Now consider the effect of medieval clothing! Kat is
      spot-on, in late-medieval or early-modern clothing a taller seat is MUCH
      more comfortable, because about all you can do is perch on it. In 15th
      century joined-hose, pointed to a doublet, it's practically impossible
      to sit down in a modern chair - the seat is too low, requiring too much
      bending at the hips, which strains the hose and tears out the points.

      So let's look at some period benches. The V&A catalog helpfully
      provides dimensions, as do some other catalogs; and I've had the good
      fortune to examine a few benches in European museums. I don't think
      I've ever seen one with a seat height less than 18" and many are in the
      20" range, some as tall as 22".

      I recommend you make your prototype with a 20" seat and try it out while
      wearing your medieval clothes. Adjust up or down as you see fit. I
      would definitely not recommend a seat any lower than 18".

      Cheers,
      Tim

      On 5/20/2011 6:26 AM, Megan Shogren wrote:
      >
      >
      > The other thing to think about is to ask your lady what *she* feels is
      > comfortable. Particularly if she has a late-period persona. I find a
      > slightly taller seat to be much more comfortable when I'm wearing
      > Elizabethan, especially with the hoops. Getting up from one of those
      > metal folding chairs is no big deal at all in khakis and sneakers; when
      > I'm wearing upwards of 12 yards of fabric, the vast majority of that
      > being in the multiple layers of skirts, it's much harder. I prefer a
      > seat height in the neighborhood of 20" or so.
      > -Kat Ferneley
      >
      > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      > *From:* Dan Baker <LordRhys@...>
      > *To:* medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
      > *Sent:* Fri, May 20, 2011 9:12:03 AM
      > *Subject:* Re: [MedievalSawdust] Height of a bench?
      >
      > I find it depends on use and person. Do you have a bench at home that is
      > a comfortable height? Do you find a picnic tale bench to be too high or
      > low? Do you plan on using a foot stool? I would start with the picnic
      > table bench since that is readily available and add or subtract. Make a
      > prototype tall and then remove pieces until it works for you, Unless you
      > own a board stretcher cutting is much easier.
      >
      > -Capten Rhys
      >
      >
      > On Fri, May 20, 2011 at 7:42 AM, sean14powell <powell.sean@...
      > <mailto:powell.sean@...>> wrote:
      >
      > Hello,
      >
      > This question is hardly medieval but I figure we arn't teribly
      > taller then the nobility of the day. For a basic take apart bench
      > for around camp with vagely medieval styling, how high off the
      > ground should the seat be? and don't just say 'it depends'. An
      > average or aproximate value will be fine. I'm ballparking wood
      > consumption for a pine prototype before I go on to something fancy
      > in white-oak.
      >
      > Thanks!
      > Sean
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Geirfold
      I ve been making a nd selling benches that have a hight of 14 to 16 that have been popular for use at camping events. I use a 6 2x12 for the seat and legs
      Message 2 of 24 , May 21, 2011
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        I've been making a nd selling benches that have a hight of 14" to 16" that have been popular for use at camping events. I use a 6' 2x12 for the seat and legs and a piece of 2x4 for the stretcher. After several years of testing, I've found that the seat should never be less that 2" thick. Less and the seat will bow un your weight and become very uncomfortable.

        --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "sean14powell" <powell.sean@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hello,
        >
        > This question is hardly medieval but I figure we arn't teribly taller then the nobility of the day. For a basic take apart bench for around camp with vagely medieval styling, how high off the ground should the seat be? and don't just say 'it depends'. An average or aproximate value will be fine. I'm ballparking wood consumption for a pine prototype before I go on to something fancy in white-oak.
        >
        > Thanks!
        > Sean
        >
      • camdus17@juno.com
        Well, that s only true for a bench that is six feet long! A shorter bench, one which the legs are closer together, flexes less and does not need such a thick
        Message 3 of 24 , May 21, 2011
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          Well, that's only true for a bench that is six feet long!  A shorter bench, one which the legs are closer together, flexes less and does not need such a thick seat.  I believe Sean's question was about a one-person bench; i.e. no wider than a chair.  He can get away with a thinner seat.  Also, he is planning on making it out of white oak, a much stronger wood than the pine, fir, spruce or cedar that I assume you are using for your six foot 2"x12" bench.

          ____________________________________________________________
          Groupon™ Official Site
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        • Geirfold
          The bench is only 3 long. And I ve checked this on benches fron 18 to 4 . Yes all have been pine/fir make. I don t know may people that can afford to make
          Message 4 of 24 , May 21, 2011
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            The bench is only 3' long. And I've checked this on benches fron 18" to 4'. Yes all have been pine/fir make. I don't know may people that can afford to make things that size out of oak. And even a 1x oak at more than two feet is going to bow unless you put a stretcher directly under the seat if it is more than 18". It will bow less, but still bow.

            --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "camdus17@..." <camdus17@...> wrote:
            >
            > Well, that's only true for a bench that is six feet long! A shorter bench, one which the legs are closer together, flexes less and does not need such a thick seat. I believe Sean's question was about a one-person bench; i.e. no wider than a chair. He can get away with a thinner seat. Also, he is planning on making it out of white oak, a much stronger wood than the pine, fir, spruce or cedar that I assume you are using for your six foot 2"x12" bench.
            > ____________________________________________________________
            > Groupon™ Official Site
            > 1 ridiculously huge coupon a day. Get 50-90% off your city's best!
            > http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL3131/4dd7f54f6de466a82dst01vuc
            >
          • David Pogue
            Fealin a bit silly this morning are ya? That s okay, you ve done enough time on planet earth that you re allowed. :-) Malcolm To:
            Message 5 of 24 , May 22, 2011
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              "Fealin' a bit silly this morning" are ya? That's okay, you've done enough time on planet earth that you're allowed. :-)
               
              Malcolm

               

              To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
              From: jrwinkler@...
              Date: Fri, 20 May 2011 09:39:06 -0500
              Subject: RE: [MedievalSawdust] Height of a bench?

               
              Easy way to figure...

              1: Find a bench.
              2: Sit on it/
              3: If it's comfortable measure distance from ground to top of seat. 

              or -

              1:  Measure the distance from the ground to the middle of the back of the knee...   that will give you a pretty good idea for a 'custom fit' bench.

              Unless, of course... it's a kneeling bench yer' building... in which case all bets are off...

              Fealin' a bit silly this morning -
              Chas.
               


            • Laura Iseman
              One of my household made a couple of quite low bench stools for our camp. About 13 high. He found he had to make a bunch more since they were always occupied
              Message 6 of 24 , May 22, 2011
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                One of my household made a couple of quite low bench stools for our camp. About 13" high. He found he had to make a bunch more since they were always occupied when he wanted to sit down 8-> We have found that a low bench, that lets you lean forward and rest your elbows on your knees, is very comfortable way to sit without a back rest. Not so good for sitting at a table, but for hanging around the fire, a short stool rocks. 8->

                Laura

                On Fri, May 20, 2011 at 10:12 PM, sean14powell <powell.sean@...> wrote:
                 

                Hello,

                This question is hardly medieval but I figure we arn't teribly taller then the nobility of the day. For a basic take apart bench for around camp with vagely medieval styling, how high off the ground should the seat be? and don't just say 'it depends'. An average or aproximate value will be fine. I'm ballparking wood consumption for a pine prototype before I go on to something fancy in white-oak.

                Thanks!
                Sean




                --
                "The test of a vocation is the love of the drudgery it involves." -- Logan Pearsall Smith


              • powell.sean@comcast.net
                The reason I love this group: Ask a simple question, get a fantastic list of answers (and some sarcastic humor as well) OK gang, In this case it s a general
                Message 7 of 24 , May 23, 2011
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                  The reason I love this group: Ask a simple question, get a fantastic list of answers (and some sarcastic humor as well)

                   

                  OK gang, In this case it's a general purpose stool that will likewise go in/near the shower for people to sit on while they get changed. As the wood is thin (essentailly deck planking) I'll be adding some under supports. I'll be making the legs long and cutting them down as necessary for most comfortable fit.

                   

                  Future projects will be to represent merchant/laborer class furniture that is useable but not gothic fancy. Thinks Duers Wedding Feast. I'm considering hand-hewing the planks myself. No documentation, just a learning project for some knock around camp furniture. I'll worry about "fancy high end to impress the A&S community" at a later date. This is simply function.

                   

                  Thanks all for the leg length advice.

                  Sean

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Laura Iseman" <laurai@...>
                  To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Monday, May 23, 2011 12:12:30 AM
                  Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Height of a bench?



                  One of my household made a couple of quite low bench stools for our camp. About 13" high. He found he had to make a bunch more since they were always occupied when he wanted to sit down 8-> We have found that a low bench, that lets you lean forward and rest your elbows on your knees, is very comfortable way to sit without a back rest. Not so good for sitting at a table, but for hanging around the fire, a short stool rocks. 8->

                  Laura

                • AqA WyrdWynd
                  this is the bench not the table and is based on comfort level height of a modern ding chair have at ye with a flock of flaming yodeling hamsters !!! ... From:
                  Message 8 of 24 , May 23, 2011
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                    this is the bench not the table and is based on comfort level height of a modern ding chair

                    have at ye with a flock of flaming yodeling hamsters !!!



                    --- On Fri, 5/20/11, Siegfried <siegfried@...> wrote:

                    From: Siegfried <siegfried@...>
                    Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Height of a bench?
                    To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Friday, May 20, 2011, 9:09 AM

                    That sounds remarkably LOW.

                    (Says Siegfried having no point of comparison at the moment)

                    Siegfried


                    On 5/20/11 9:04 AM, AqA WyrdWynd wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > we do 16 in unless you apholster it, < 4 in fom will drop the hight by 1
                    > 1/2 in of structure
                    >
                    > have at ye with a flock of flaming yodeling hamsters !!!
                    >
                    >

                    --
                    Barun Siegfried Sebastian Faust - Barony of Highland Foorde - Atlantia
                    http://hf.atlantia.sca.org/ - http://crossbows.biz/ - http://eliw.com/


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                  • AlbionWood
                    You can use really thin wood for the seat on the late-medieval boarded stools. The apron pieces provide all the support. These are also really sturdy and
                    Message 9 of 24 , May 23, 2011
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                      You can use really thin wood for the seat on the late-medieval boarded
                      stools. The "apron" pieces provide all the support. These are also
                      really sturdy and rigid, and they will hold up even under the severe
                      moisture conditions you describe. Knockdown joinery is not recommended.

                      For some examples, and to avoid making a common mistake, see:
                      http://albionworks.com/Stools/STOOLS.htm

                      Cheers,
                      Tim


                      On 5/23/2011 7:18 AM, powell.sean@... wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > The reason I love this group: Ask a simple question, get a fantastic
                      > list of answers (and some sarcastic humor as well)
                      >
                      > OK gang, In this case it's a general purpose stool that will likewise go
                      > in/near the shower for people to sit on while they get changed. As the
                      > wood is thin (essentailly deck planking) I'll be adding some under
                      > supports. I'll be making the legs long and cutting them down as
                      > necessary for most comfortable fit.
                      >
                      > Future projects will be to represent merchant/laborer class furniture
                      > that is useable but not gothic fancy. Thinks Duers Wedding Feast. I'm
                      > considering hand-hewing the planks myself. No documentation, just a
                      > learning project for some knock around camp furniture. I'll worry about
                      > "fancy high end to impress the A&S community" at a later date. This is
                      > simply function.
                      >
                      > Thanks all for the leg length advice.
                      >
                      > Sean
                      > ----- Original Message -----
                      > From: "Laura Iseman" <laurai@...>
                      > To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                      > Sent: Monday, May 23, 2011 12:12:30 AM
                      > Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Height of a bench?
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > One of my household made a couple of quite low bench stools for our
                      > camp. About 13" high. He found he had to make a bunch more since they
                      > were always occupied when he wanted to sit down 8-> We have found that a
                      > low bench, that lets you lean forward and rest your elbows on your
                      > knees, is very comfortable way to sit without a back rest. Not so good
                      > for sitting at a table, but for hanging around the fire, a short stool
                      > rocks. 8->
                      >
                      > Laura
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                    • Gary Link
                      Hi All, Who all is going to Middle Crown this week end, I ll be judging in the A&S on Sat., we could have our own(as a group) critique if we want as well. But
                      Message 10 of 24 , May 23, 2011
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                        Hi All,

                        Who all is going to Middle Crown this week end, I'll be judging in the A&S on Sat., we could have our own(as a group) critique if we want as well. But I would like to take time to talk shop if others are interested. We will be staying at the hotel on site, if I know others are in to it I'll bring my library as well.

                        To contact me you can call my cell 312-560-9251

                        In Service
                        Hal



                      • Jim Hart
                        I ll be there.... ... -- Jim Hart Conal OhAirt Aude Aliquid Digmun - *dare something worthy*
                        Message 11 of 24 , May 23, 2011
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                          I'll be there....

                          On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 3:31 PM, Gary Link <halraeburn@...> wrote:
                           

                          Hi All,


                          Who all is going to Middle Crown this week end, I'll be judging in the A&S on Sat., we could have our own(as a group) critique if we want as well. But I would like to take time to talk shop if others are interested. We will be staying at the hotel on site, if I know others are in to it I'll bring my library as well.

                          To contact me you can call my cell 312-560-9251

                          In Service
                          Hal






                          --
                          Jim Hart
                            Conal OhAirt

                          Aude Aliquid Digmun - dare something worthy
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