DIY Dining Table Bench

DIY Dining Bench

Need some extra thanksgiving seating?! Build a bench!

I have been wanting a bench for quite some time to help open up the space in our dining room and give it some visual interest. My challenge was finding one that I liked, at the right price, and that matched the antique table I got from my grandmother. I’m really excited about how this project turned out and I’m so happy I didn’t cave and buy one!

Original Instructions that we used for the project! (We changed it up to fit our space though.)

Materials (for our version):
4   2’x4’x8’s We used Southern Yellow Pine (check that they are straight and not warped, very important!)
Stain (I used miniwax in “Jacobean”)
Lacquer
Paint Brushes
Drill
Chop Saw
Screws
Course Sanding Block
Fine Sanding Block
Drop Cloth
Rag for Stain Removal
Measuring Tape
Pencil

Directions (clearly you don’t have to take 3 weeks to build this thing like we did):

Weekend 1: Bought our materials (this always takes us a long time for some reason) and we spent a total of $58 at Lowes. That $58 includes buying more wood that we needed though because we didn’t end up making the bench as big as the one in the original instructions above.

Weekend 2: We built the bench. As you can see from the picture below we didn’t follow the instructions above exactly. We ended up making the bench much shorter (4 feet) and only 3 2×4’s wide (instead of 4). Because of the smaller dimensions we also decided that we didn’t need the supporting beams that the instructions have.

Another thing we didn’t use was the Kreg jig, we just screwed in screws at an angle. It worked fine but I kind of wish we had done it the right way. Maybe next time!

We made the following cuts:
Three boards 4 feet long each
Two boards 10 1/2 inches long
Four 16 inches cut on a 10 degree angle, ends paralell,  cut with small edge side up
Two 9 inches long cut on a 10 degree angle, ends not parallel, cut while the wide side is facing up, measurement is from the short side

We first attached the 10 1/2 inch boards to the legs, then attached the braces. Then we screwed the seat boards to the legs from the bottom.

The legs were definitely the hardest part because we cut the wood at the wrong angle the first time so we fixed that, then I had us put the legs together wrong…then I did it wrong a second time as well. It was ridiculous and at one point I just died laughing. At least, it turns out, its not that hard to take out the screws and start over! Freaking angles man.

But we got it! Vindication!

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After putting the seat boards on the legs the whole thing wasn’t level! I think it had something to do with the top boards not being perfectly straight because when we sat on it our body weight pushed it down enough to make it not wobble. It is really hard to find perfectly straight unwarped boards though! At that point I was tired of thinking about it so we decided to continue the next weekend.

To fix the bench so it didn’t wobble I held the bench so that three legs were touching the ground. Then I made note of the leg that wasn’t touching the ground, the shorty. Then we carefully trimmed the other leg on the same side as the shorty until it was level. Voila! A bench without wiggle!

Weekend 3: Painting! The fun part! I did one coat of Mini Wax stain in Jacobean according to the can directions then I let it dry overnight. The next day I applied two coats of Mini wax lacquer (which smelled very strongly, be careful).

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It’s not “technically” perfect but we built it together and I am so pleased with it! Perfect for a first thanksgiving in a first home.

Also now I think I need a new rug, something less geometric perhaps???

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Next I also want to buy a plaque like this and put it on the bottom so we can remember the year we made it.

Big Al and I have a lot of shared interests but not a lot of shared hobbies. We first started building stuff together when we had been dating about 3 months because I really wanted a blanket ladder and thought “why not use this handsome fella to my advantage”. So we did it, we built a blanket ladder, and it was really fun! It was also kind of hard too because we kept doing stuff wrong but the errors made the whole experience much funnier!

Now sometimes I just stare at the blanket ladder and think back on those times when we hardly knew each other and we were both on our best behavior with each other all the time, trying to appear perfect for the other’s benefit. Dating is funny. It makes me smile 🙂

I can’t wait to stare at this bench in the same creepy way!!

Happy Building!

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