Dec 12, 2014

Make a Sturdy Wooden Bench {instructions}

I like to make simple pieces of furniture. I actually took pictures while making this bench today so I can show you.

Here is my version of making a wooden bench - I let the pictures do most of the "talking".
I start by making the frame for the seat with furring strips. Cut each end at a 45 degree angle to make a rectangle. You can choose your own length and width. Mine is about 12 inches deep by 48 inches long.
I use a brad nailer to hold the corners together in the beginning and then drill a pilot hole for a 2 inch long screw to join the edges tightly. 
This bench will have a slat top. Three pieces of 1x4's cut to the length of the rectangle.
It's easier to sand and paint the inner corners of the slat pieces before screwing them to the rectangle frame. Drilling a pilot hole for your screws will keep the wood from splitting - it's so worth the time it takes to switch out your drill bits.
Underneath the slats screw in a 1x4 that is cut to fit snug inside the rectangle.
Now for the legs. Cut 2x4's at 16 to 17 inches tall. Once I have the height right I take the legs and miter cut both ends at 15 degrees for a slanted leg.
If this part sounds too technical or time consuming then opt for straight legs. If your legs aren't exactly right your bench will be wobbly.
Measure 2 1/2 inches from each bottom corner to place the outer edge of the leg tops. If you are using straight fit legs then just secure them snug into the corners.

Use 2 inch screws drilled at an angle in a few places for each leg. Don't forget to pre-drill a hole before the screw goes in.
The legs are secured to the rectangle frame and underneath.
To make the legs a little more sturdy and to give the top a chunkier look I added a 1x4 cut to fit across the front and back sides. Mark the board with pencil or sharpie. If you cut your legs at an angle then this slat will be cut at that same angle.
Cut cross beams  out of furring strips for each side and use a level to make sure they are straight. Screw them in between the legs on each side at the same distance from bottom.
The bench is all put together at this point. 
I fill the screw holes in with nail filler. Let it dry for a while (over night would be best - I didn't wait that long).
Paint. Here are a few links for ways to distress wood and give it a worn look. My favorite is Distress Wood with a Razor Blade. For chippy looking paint see A Salvaged Frame and in this link there will be a list of projects with various paint tips.
I painted this bench white first then grey.
Layering paint is the best way to get the "old" look.
If your bench is going outside then it may need a final top coat of polyurethane but I am leaving mine like this. 
Good luck making yours!

On a different note...I am contributing to an even this holiday winter -
My home tour is tomorrow!
Have a super weekend!!!!

4 comments :

Lisa @ Fern Creek Cottage said...

I love it!! It truly looks like a vintage bench!

lynn said...

adorable, holly! you can never have too many benches!

Shanon at Vintage Sparkle Chic said...

I absolutely love how you made this bench! You are always so creative and soooo good with your tools! Inspiring!

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for your sweet comment.

~Shanon

Robin Johnson said...

Perfect! I really could use to make one to these for my dinning room table. The one we are using now it getting very wobbly. LOL

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