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A Handmade Christmas: $6 bench

Can something so cheap really have high style and a major impact? Heck yes it can! Case in point:


This is my six dollar bench. Yes, you read that right. It costs less than 10 bucks to build a stunning piece of furniture. See, it all started with this image I saw on a wedding blog:


I thought, “Hm. Those look really neat. I bet I could build them!” And guess what? I totally can! And all by myself, too, no hubby-help required. Here’s what you need:

• 2 – 2x6x8′ boards. They cost about $3 each at Home Depot.
• Screws, sandpaper and stain.

Cut List:
3 – 2×6 @ 47″
4 – 2×6 @ 16″

That’s it! I decided how long I wanted my bench to be (which was 47″ long by 16″ tall). Then, I cut out my pieces. I decided to do 45 degree angle joints on the ends, as opposed to having a flat edge exposed on the sides. As my chop saw isn’t compound miter, I had to use my table saw to get the 45′s on the legs and two flat boards. This was very effin’ scary. Using my Kreg jig, I drilled holes in both of the flat boards that sandwich the tall center one. I offset my holes so that the screws wouldn’t hit each other. You can see in the picture that I accidentally drilled holes in my center piece too. Builder fail. That side will just have to face the back ;)

Attach your 3 top boards together. Then screw in your legs. I decided not to countersink and fill, kind of because I like the industrial look, but mostly because I’m lazy. Then you just sand that sucker up and voila! You’ve got a gorgeous bench perfect for any home. I decided to get a little fancy with my finishing and do a two-tone stain. It took about an hour to do the two colors and not drip on everything, as opposed to the 15 minutes one color would take. I think the extra time was definitely worth it!

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17 comments

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  1. Whitney

    Total novice question:
    If I go to Home Depot, would they cut all of the pieces for the bench for me? I would LOVE to make some of these simpler pieces, but living in an apartment and not having any outside space to put a saw really limits me. Are there any ways to work around that? :-) (btw, followed you over from Weddingbee, love your blog!)

    1. killer b.

      Thanks Whitney! I know they’ll make straight cuts for you, and you can definitely join the legs with a regular 90 degree angles instead of 45′s. But they may be able to make them for you, if you ask nicely ;) And you can make it any height and width you want, just be sure to maximize what you can get out of your boards. You’ll need 3 long ones (for the top) and 4 short ones (for the legs). I wouldn’t go any higher than 18-20″ for the legs though.

  2. Lauren L

    Hey! Found your site through Ana White. I’m completely inspired to build a bunch of furniture now! Although, I can’t seem to figure out from your photos and description how you attached the top 3 pieces together :/ screws? wood glue? Help a sista out! Thanks :)

    1. killer b.

      They’re 2″ screws. I didn’t countersink or do anything fancy to them either. But I’m glad you’re an Ana-White convert too! I’m absolutely addicted to building now ;)

      1. Cody

        Lovely bench! I have a similar question to Lauren L.– how are the three ‘long’ pieces attached to one another? I can see the screws for joining the legs to the top boards, but I can’t picture how to fasten the three long pieces together. Thanks, and keep up the good work! (also found the site through Ana White)

        1. killer b.

          They’re attached with pocket screws, I drilled the holes with my Kreg jig on the underside of the two flat boards, and drilled them into the sandwiched board in the middle. Basically, a hole is drilled in at an angle, and then you drill in a screw. A lot of Ana’s projects use pocket holes now, and I can totally see why. Even the Kreg jig junior is worth purchasing, though we went all out with the full size and it’s totally worth it.

  3. Andrea | HomageStyle.com

    Your bench is fabulous! It would be perfect for a kitchen table!

  4. Taryn

    I also came across this bench from a link on Ana’s website. I spent like an hour yesterday browsing your blog. Fun! This bench is AWESOME and SO cheap. My husband and I have been planning on building benches for almost 2 years, but haven’t found one easy or cheap enough for us. This is PERFECT. I have another question about joining the three long boards. I’ve never built anything in my life (if you don’t count the mail holder I made in my 6th grade shop class rotation). Do you drill the holes from the top or the bottom? Does it matter? I’m guessing you did it from the bottom, unless you did it on the top and put a plug in the hole and I can’t see it. I got out in my garage yesterday to build this bench, but realized it’s pretty much impossible to do it without a kreg jig, am I right?

    1. killer b.

      I did it on the bottom, with my kreg jig, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily impossible. I’ll do my best to explain what’s in my head. So, the top of the bench is essentially a “t” shape, right? Two flat boards sandwiching a tall skinny board. You could start by making an “L”, drilling from the skinny board into one of the flat boards (where it will be covered by the second flat board. Now, the second one gets a little tricky. My thoughts would be to use a drill bit and make a pilot hole at an angle from the top, that drills through both boards, then just put your screw through it at an angle. Does that make sense? I’ve had to make angled joints like this before, but I’m not sure just how sturdy they’d be. You may want to test it out on some scraps. That way, you don’t have to invest in a jig if you don’t plan on building very much. But if you do, I can tell you right now it’s totally worth it. I love that thing!

  5. Emily

    I just wanted to share my benches with you…I have been admiring your benches for months now and finally put mine together with my husband for our anniversary. Thank you for such a great idea!! I’m going to do end tables next with the same design. :)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/24737266@N05/5334491582/

    1. killer b.

      Oh my goodness, Emily, those are AMAZING! I’m so honored that you built something inspired by me ;) They look absolutely fabulous, and I cannot wait to see the end tables you come up with!

  6. DirectionsNotIncluded

    Great idea! I love that.

  7. Lucy

    this is awesome..love it!

  8. Natasha

    Do you have any suggestions for making the benches about 8 ft long? It may need a support in the middle since the bench would be 8 ft long. I also thought it would be neat to have the legs collapsable for easy transport? But in that case you would also have to locking device one the legs are put down… Any thoughts or comments would be helpful!

    1. It wouldn’t be too hard to add center supports. Just take 1.5″ off the leg height (to account for the boards above) and drill them into the bench supports. They’ll match up perfectly with the legs on the end. As far as folding them, you’d have to buy special hardware. I’ve never done it before. You’d probably have to make the end legs 90 degree angles instead of 45′s, so they can fold. I’m sure there are locking hinges available, you can check Rockler to see what they’ve got.

      1. Natasha

        Yeah I think your right about the cut being 90 degrees. My dad and are taking on the project of building 18-20 of these benches at 8 ft long for my wedding! Heck with the cost of renting chairs this will be about the same price! I’m not quite sure what you meant by taking 1.5″ off the leg height and drill them into the bench supports. I was thinking I would have to have three legs. One on each end and then one in the middle. So my cuts would be a little bit different since I want the benches to be 8 ft.
        So I would need:
        4 2x6x8 –
        3 of the 2x6x8 would be uncut
        And another 2x6x8 cut at 16″ each to make 6 legs
        Then I thought about getting the cabinet hinges for the legs so that they could fold in…

        It maybe cheaper to get the 2x6x16 and make the 8ft cuts myself! I dunno! I’m trying to do these the cheapest way possible! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I was really inspired. By your bloc to do these! Thanks in advanced for your help!
        Natasha

  9. James

    Your cut list calls for (3 * 47″) + (4 * 16″) = 205″. Two 8′ boards is only 192″. Am I missing something here?

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