Contemplation Bench

Marc Spagnuolo

This sitting bench’s graceful curves are carved using a combination of power tools and hand tools. We’ll look at various carving implements available to woodworkers as well as alternative options that could make the job easier. I originally designed this bench back in 2005 so we’ll take some time to consider the overall look and how it might be improved upon. We will then create the new and improved version. A project like this will not only hone your woodworking skills, but also your eye for design.

  • 6 lessons
  • 139 min
  • $49.00

Here's what we'll cover:

  1. Live Project Tour

    A close look at the original Contemplation Bench and a preview of the changes plus a review of the tools you’ll need to make one.

  2. Design & Templates

    Improving on the original design and making the appropriate templates.

  3. Milling & Joinery

    The milling and joinery are cleverly intertwined as our rough parts come together.

  4. Sculpting the Curves

    Sculpting away the excess wood to bring our bench into shape!

  5. Finishing Touches & Assembly

    Lots of sanding and finessing before we can assemble the bench and screw the legs to the seat.

  6. Finishing

    Danish oil and varnish really bring out the figure in the Contemplation Bench!

What You’ll Receive:

  • Detailed cut list and plans including a PDF and a SketchUp file.
  • Hours of detailed video instruction showing every step of the build, from wood selection to finishing.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Large open mortise & tenon joinery
  • Carving with power tools (angle grinder and die grinder)
  • Shaping with rasps
  • Designing elegant curves
  • Creating curved templates

What You Need:

  • Wood – Bell Forest Lumber Packages are available! Use your Guild discount to receive 10% off!
  • Basic woodworking tools include Table Saw, Bandsaw, Jointer, Planer, and Router.
  • The power carving is done using an angle grinder outfitted with carving discs. Smaller details are done using a die grinder and a ball mill
  • Cabinetmaker’s rasps



The lessons are first rate. It was like Mark was in the workshop helping. Everything was well explained and I was able to do the power carving pretty darn well after a while. Having Mark explain and show the bevel cuts was super helpful. I didn’t have a band saw to use on the project, so I made a little router sled to hog out the bulk of the material, then on to carving. The little bench looks great. Thanks!

Ken Colson
Guild Member
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About Your Instructor:

Marc is a podcaster, video producer, woodworking enthusiast, and author of Hybrid Woodworking and Essential Joinery. He has contributed articles and video content to, Popular Woodworking Magazine, WOOD Magazine, and Woodcraft Magazine. He is also the host of The Wood Whisperer, an instructional woodworking video series that’s been going strong since 2006. He is also one of the hosts of the Wood Talk podcast. He has taught classes at the William Ng School, Marc Adams School, Weekend with Wood, Fine Woodworking Live, as well as at various Rockler and Woodcraft stores. He also speaks periodically at woodworking events like AWFS and IWF.