As you know, I’m a huge fan of using a bench as a guestbook. I did it for my wedding, and built another for a relative. So when Bestie C told me she was getting married (and named me MOH!) I knew I had to come up with something amazing for her. And…..this isn’t it 😉 It’s just the first of many prototypes! I had some scraps laying around in my garage and decided to try my hand at a chunky, rustic bench. This is what I came up with.
It was built, sanded, stained and sealed in less than two hours. Not bad, right? Plus it’s a great size for older kids to sit down and put on their shoes, or relax outside on the porch. I’ve been concentrating a lot on babies lately, so I thought it would be a nice change of pace to do something for those of you with bigger kids.
If you were to buy new supplies and not use scrap, I’d estimate the cost to be about $10, tops. I used my Kreg jig for this build, but you can easily do it with regular countersunk holes. I also threw in some angles to make it a little fancier, but you can skip those if you’re not ready for it quite yet. Ready to find out how easy it is to build your own? Here it is!
• 1 – 2x12x4
• 1 – 2x4x96″ (stud length)
• 1 – 2×12 @ 33″
• 4 – 2×4 @ 15″ (cut at 5 degrees off square, same angle on both ends)
• 2 – 2×4 @ 7″
• 1 – 2×4 @ 21.5″
Step 1 – Build your legs
Cut your four legs five degrees off square *optional*, parallel to each other. If you’re using a Kreg jig, set it to 1.5″ thickness and drill two holes at the inside top of each leg. Also drill each end of the inside of your stretchers. Make sure the Kreg holes face the inside of the bench when you attach the stretchers. I placed mine 7″ up from the bottom of each leg, measured and marked from the center of the bottom. I eyeballed the angle of the center stretcher support so that the angles of the legs wouldn’t throw off the level of the long middle stretcher. I’m sure there’s a scientific way for this, but I just turned it until I felt the angle was right, then attached it to the legs with 2″ screws. Fill with a Kreg plug *optional* prior to adding the center stretcher, because you won’t be able to fit them in afterwards.
Step 2 – Attach center stretcher
Step 3 – Attach the top
Lay your top upside down on the ground and use the pocket holes on the legs to secure it to the base. Once you’re done, flip it over and make sure everything is level. I’m the kind of person who would rather eyeball and tweak than spend the extra time doing figures and angles 😉
Step 4 – Fill your holes
I planned to stain this bench, so I filled all the holes with Kreg plugs. They’re kind of pricey ($5 for 50), but they’re worth it if you’re staining. If not, feel free to Dap it up and paint right over them!
After my plugs were in (I drop a bead of glue on the insides to keep them in place) I gave it all a good sanding with 150 grit and brushed on a coat of Rustoleum’s Ultimate Stain in Golden Oak. I left it on for about 3 minutes then brushed it off. The high humidity here makes stain get gummy really quickly, so I wipe it off after just a short time. Feel free to leave it on longer if you’re in a dryer climate. I used a rag to rub in a furniture wax for a nice light sheen and buttery feel.
That’s it! It’s a super easy bench to build, especially if you don’t use the angles. You can also plank the top using three 2×4’s or two 2×6’s if you don’t have any scrap 2×12 handy. That’s what I love about building. It’s really easy to change things up and make it your own based on what materials you have handy. Oh, and the final dimensions of this bench are 16.5″ tall, 11.5″ wide and 33″ long. Just right for a grade-schooler! You could also tweak the design for an adult by making it 4+ feet long, and cutting the legs at 17″ tall for a total height of 18.5″ (regular dining chair height). Happy Building!