04 March 2014

A DIY Wooden Bench




I am so excited about this project. If you follow along regularly than you saw a couple weeks ago that our twins moved beyond their high chairs so we were finally able to bring back the upholstered bench that we used to have at this table.

Before, with high chairs




After, with upholstered bench


It was nice to have the highchairs gone, but now that the center leaf is gone from the table, the upholstered bench no longer fits under it. I thought I could just deal with the extra walking space being taken up by the bench, but pretty quickly it started getting on my nerves.
Also on my nerves, was the upholstered top. It wasn't a big deal having this bench upholstered back when this table was in our dining room, but now that it's in our breakfast area and our twins are sitting on the bench at every meal, it's sort of a pain. I cover it with dish towels every time they eat and even though it's not a huge deal, that one extra step gets to be a little annoying.

So I was completely THRILLED when Tablelegs.com contacted me and offered to sponsor a bench build.
Um, yes please.

I've already used their amazingly beautiful products when Rob and I built our dining room table. We bought the table legs and base kit from Tablelegs.com and could not be happier with the results. So when Tablelegs contacted me about doing a bench for our kitchen table I knew I'd be super happy with it and that it would be a totally doable DIY.

When Rob and I built our dining room table, we'd ordered the legs and the base kit (the apron for the table and all the pieces to hold the top onto the legs) from Tablelegs.com and then had bought wood and glass from different sources to build the table top. But Tablelegs.com also makes table tops, so if you need one you can have it custom made to your specifications.
So with the new bench Rob and I would be building, Tablelegs.com supplied the top for the bench too. I chose everything from top thickness and corner angle to wood type and leg style. I went with these legs, that are the same style that we used for the dining room table.

Here is my bench kit and top that Tablelegs.com made me:



And here it is when it arrived ready to be assembled:




Bench legs:



Aprons:




Corner braces:



All the hardware needed to put the bench together {including a drill bit}:


I was so impressed once again (having already used Tablelegs products before) with the quality of everything. The wood was sanded to a super smooth finish, so we didn't have to do any sanding before or after the assembly, which was so nice since I hate sanding. I was super impressed with the edges on the bench top. I chose the rounded edges and corners and I love them.


This is Jacob, the craftsman who built the bench top.


His signature is on the underside of the bench top, a feature that I love. It makes it feel really personal somehow; a reminder that it was made by a person and not a machine in a factory or something. 



Putting this bench together took less than an hour.

Rob did a dry fit of everything really quickly just to get a feel for how the pieces went together.
Then we started the assembly with the legs and aprons.

We put wood glue on a tenon of one of the short aprons (the tenon is that little piece that protrudes off the end) and then spread the glue around to make it smooth.



Then Rob slid the tenon into the mortise (the slot in the top end of the leg).


This part takes a little bit of muscle since the tenon is made to fit securely into the mortise, so it was nice to have Rob there to do it. He used a rubber mallet to tap the opposite end of the apron (not on the other  tenon though!) to help get it all the way into place. 


Then he put wood glue on the tenon on the other end of the same apron and slid it into the mortise of another leg, again using the rubber mallet to get a tight fit. 


We repeated those steps with the other short apron and the two other legs.


Now it was time to attach the long aprons.

We again put wood glue on the tenon on one end of an apron and Rob tapped it into place into one of the legs. 



He did the same thing with the other long apron.


Then we laid the bench down on it's back and again using the wood glue fit the tenons on the opposite end of the long aprons into the mortises of the other set of bench legs. 



Then we set the bench base onto the upside-down top and used this handy little tool {I can't for the life of me remember what it's called} to make sure the base was centered right so that the overhang was the same all the way around. You don't need this tool at all though if you don't have one; we could have just done this with a ruler or tape measure or something. 



Once we were sure everything was lined up correctly we used the screws and drill bit provided by Tablelegs.com to attach the base into the bench top. 



Then for added stability and strength, we attached the corner braces. 




Here's a photo to show just how awkward I am with a drill. I don't know why but I always want to hold a screw gun the same way I hold a real gun: with two hands. Safety first, right? 


With the corner braces in place, the bench was fully assembled! It went really quickly since it's just like putting together a puzzle- a very simple puzzle. You don't even need directions since it's pretty obvious where things go, but for extra help and a confidence boost Tablelegs.com does have instruction videos on their site. 

Here is the bench before paint:



Had I not been planning to paint the bench, Tablelegs.com has their own clear oil finish that they can apply to the wood so that it's protected and ready for use. Here is the description:

Our founder, Matthew Burak's proprietary clear oil finish can be applied for you when placing any order.
This finish not only brings out the subtle luster of natural wood, it is also extremely durable.
Simply clean up everyday mishaps with soap and water.  Kid safe and environmentally friendly, no VOC's!


It sounds really amazing and had I not been painting I would have had them apply it to every piece on this bench. 

But I decided to paint it white to play off of the white shade on the light fixture. 




It has been so nice to have seating for my twins again that is easy to clean. And speaking of clean, I'm really in love with the simple, clean look of this bench. 


And it's been very nice to be able to slide it under the table so that it's out of the walkway. 


I love that we now have something else in our home that Rob and I have built together, and that despite the fact that we are complete furniture building amateurs, both this bench and our dining room table look like they were bought from a furniture store. And we are getting a little addicted to building things together. Tablelegs.com really makes the possibilities pretty endless! 

A huge HUGE thanks to Tablelegs.com for sponsoring this project. 


Come back tomorrow to see what new project plans I have in the works...all thanks to this new bench! 

Here is a hint {okay, a big hint!}:


More details tomorrow! 

No comments:

Post a Comment