|Project by Chris McDowell||posted 01-01-2015 03:51 AM||6501 views||41 times favorited||36 comments|
If you would like to watch a video of this build, watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHL2eIFwKOg
I don’t have any money to buy nicer wood, so I used some 2×4’s I had on hand. The whole bench consists of 2×4’s from the home center.
The first thing I did was glue up the top by planing and laminating four 2×4’s together to make a 1 foot wide panel:
I’ll come back to the top later.
I started making the legs by using two 2×4’s laminated together to make 1 leg.
I first cut the stock to rough length (I think around 18 inches) then cut the rounded edge off at the table saw.
Then I ran all the pieces through the planer and glued everything up.
After the legs were dry, I ran all of them through the planer to clean them up. I think I ended up with a thickness of around 3 inches square. I cut a 5 degree angle on one end of each then I set them on the top so that I could measure for a final bench height of 17 inches (I think. I’m trying to remember. This was a couple of months ago.) Then I cut them to final length using 5 degrees again.
I measured and drew out the through mortises on each leg and proceeded to chop them out. I used a chisel at first to get the layout down, then I drilled the rest of the waste out with a drill press and cleaned them out with a chisel.
I made the tenons on the table saw by passing them multiple times over the blade using the miter gauge. To make sure all the angles worked I kept a bevel gauge adjusted to the same angle as the legs were cut and used it for reference everywhere it was necessary. After the tenons were done, I glued them into the legs.
Back to the top.
I did breadboard ends for the top. I first chopped the mortise in each breadboard the same way I did the mortises for the legs: chisel, drill press, chisel.
For the tenon, I used a base I had previously made and clamped a fence onto the base with a couple of c-clamps. I then kept adjusting the router depth until I ended up with the tenons a tad thicker than final thickness (so that I could sneak up on the fit).
Then I used a block and some sandpaper (I don’t have any planes) and made passes on each side of the tenon until it was a slip fit in the mortise.
I then clamped the breadboards on and drilled 3 holes on each tenon for dowels to keep the breadboards secure. I widened the two outside holes so that any seasonal movement of the top wouldn’t be restricted by the dowels.
To install the breadboards, I added glue to the only center portion of the tenon and then slid the breadboard on.
Next I installed the dowels. The center dowel got completely glued in, but the outside dowels only got glue on the top portion.
I used pocket holes to join the upper leg supports. If I had the opportunity to take my time on this project, I would’ve done mortise & tenon completely, but it didn’t work out that way, so I decided from the outset to use pocket holes at this stage to cut down on time.
For the lower stretcher I decided to join it using 3” screws. So that I could guarantee a stronger joint, I decided to add an oak dowel through both ends of the stretcher. This would allow the screws to grab on to long grain instead of possibly tearing out or working loose in end grain alone.
I drilled a 1” hole using a spade bit.
I then added glue to the dowel and hammered it in.
I then supported the stretcher on the far end while I added 2 screws. Afterward, I capped off the screws with some dowels.
To attach the top, I used a pocket screw on each end on the small leg supports in the center. These won’t be affected by wood movement. For the sides along the length of the bench, I made some little wooden brackets to hold the top on. I routed some slots along the length on the inside of the upper stretchers and attached the brackets. This method will also allow for seasonal wood movement.
I made this bench for my sister-in-law and she wanted it stained the gray color of driftwood. I used “driftwood” stain by rust-o-leum.
Thanks for reading.