Friday, 25 April 2014

One Day Project: A Sexy Rustic Bench!

Hello! Hasn't the weather been lovely these past few days? It's so nice to feel like spring is really here. The evenings are long and sunny, and I seem to get so much more done! So with that in mind, I thought that it would be nice to share a project that Chris and I did this past summer. It's a simple bench DIY, and just as the title states, it can be completed in the span of a Saturday.

Last July, I was finishing up work on our foyer and I needed a versatile piece of furniture that would suit the narrow space. I wanted something that could be used for storage, seating and shoe drop off. There was only room for one piece of furniture, and a bench seemed the perfect solution. You can sit on it, throw boots under it, and store hats and mitts on top of it. I knew what I wanted! So now we just had to build a bench.

Here's is how we did it:
We purchased one piece of wood from Home Depot (any lumber yard will do): a 10 ft long 2x12 pine board.

The '2x12' refers to the inch measurement of the board. It is 2 inches thick, 12 inches wide and then the 2x12's are sold in different lengths. In our case, we purchased one that was 10 ft long.
Note: 2x12's actually measure closer to 1.5 by 11.5 inches, but that's a whole other blog post...

The 2x12 needs to be cut into 4 pieces in order to make the bench. If you have a table saw at home, I recommend you make the cuts yourself, in order to make sure that they are straight. If not, do what we did and have the lumber yard cut the board for you. They are happy to cut it to the measurements that you provide.

The longest piece is the 'seat', the two short pieces are the 'legs' and the remaining piece is the 'crossbar' which will run perpendicular to the seat and legs and will strengthen the bench as a whole. 

Our measurements:
Seat, 40 inches
Legs, 18 inches
Crossbar, 32 inches

Back at home and it's time to get to work.

We started by sanding down the areas where the cuts were made. This can be done by hand, but it's much faster and easier with a hand-held electric sander.

All four boards are cut to length, sanded and ready to use. 

Time to assemble the bench! 

We started by finding the centre of each leg (this is where the crossbar will be nailed in place). 

Next, we measured out a 3/4 inch from each side of the centre and drew a straight line. In this way we created a 1 1/2 inch guideline to centre our crossbar (remember, the 2 inch 2x12 is actually only 1.5 inches thick).

Before we began to assemble the bench, we needed to mark out where we wanted our nails to go. 
To attach the legs and crossbar, we found the centre of the leg, marked it with a straight pencil line (on the side opposite to that in step 2), and then measured out a spot for each nail. We did 5 nails, each 2 inches apart and then 1 inch apart.

Since this is a rustic bench, part of the charm is the visible nails. We used large flat heads and placed them equally in a nice straight line, giving the bench a simple but well designed look. 

Using our guidelines from step 2, we put the crossbar in place and traced it.

Then we prepped the boards for assembly with some wood glue.

While the glue was still wet, we matched up the leg and crossbar. 

Then we used the lines and measurements marked out earlier to put the nails in place. 

To add the second leg, we just repeated steps 3-6. 

8. Time to add the seat!

Here's where this project gets really 'rustic'... Since the cuts made at the lumber yard are not guaranteed to be straight, the bench may not be square; or in other words, it may not align correctly. For this reason, it is important that you attach the seat on one side first. We nailed one end of the seat in place. Then we forced the other leg into place (it was leaning out to one side) and then nailed down the seat on the other side. We are so skilled! 

So does the bench wobble a bit? The short answer is 'yes'. It does. It's rustic! And if you have a table saw at home and you're into wood working, I recommend that you make the cuts yourself to ensure that they are straight and square. Heck, if you're into wood working, I recommend that you make something way more exciting than this! 
The bench is just a fun, if a bit rough, project that's good for beginners. 

With the bench assembly complete, I stained and sealed the bench. The stain is a Minwax colour, 'Early American'. And I used Minwax Polycrylic as the sealant. For step-by-step directions on how to prep, stain and seal wood, read my post on the subject from earlier this week. 

Here's what our bench looks like in the foyer. 
And if you haven't already seen it, you may be interested in my post, The Front Hall | Before + After |

What are your thoughts? Would you spend a Saturday constructing this bench? The total cost including stain and nails comes in around $50. Too much? Maybe a trip to Ikea would actually save you some money. (haha, but seriously). Anyway, I always love to hear what you think. That's it for today. 

Hope you have a happy Friday!

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