Shoe Bench

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Project by Skip Mathews posted 11-01-2016 05:52 PM 1179 views 4 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Shoe Bench

We recently tore out old carpet and installed new hardwood flooring, which lead to kicking off the shoes when coming in from outdoors, which left shoes piled by the front door with no place to put them. We decided to build a bench to put by the front door with a shelf for shoes.

I have some 1” rough cut yellow pine left over from building my workbench and decided to use it for the bench.

I built the bench a little low, 14.5”, for two reasons. One is so you are sitting a little closer to your feet and secondly, we have two grandsons ages 3 and 6 and they are still pretty small. Now that it is finished I like the height. About the same as a 5gal bucket.

The design took a little thought and I drew it on paper several times. The wood is 12” wide and looked right with the 14.5” height. The length changed a couple of times trying to balance function with aesthetics. With only one shelf I thought I could make it long enough for three pairs of adult size shoes, but that made it 36” long which didn’t look right to me plus it was a little long for the spot I want to put it. I settled on 30” which is big enough for three pair of shoes if they are not all adult size.

I cut stopped dados into the botton of the bench top to accept the legs and then cut through tenons with a walnut wedge to secure the top to the base. The shelf is set into the legs with through dados and nailed with 3” square iron nails, (they look hand forged to me).
The legs are splayed at 3deg to the side and front so all the pieces and joinery are cut at 3deg. I also added a cut out at the bottom of the legs. This give the bench feet and puts less bearing on the floor.

I really like how it turned out after spending so much time drawing and mocking up height and angles. I feel like every detail adds to the overall design and, in my mind, would look odd any other way.
I still plan to paint it with milk paint and linseed oil, but it will probably take some time to decide on the color.

In my shop the only electrical is for the lighting and I use all hand tools. Wood plains, handsaws, brace and bits, etc. Surfacing rough cut lumber is quite a chore but it is one of the thing I like the most.

I will post a picture after I get it painted. Maybe Blue… :)

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

8 comments so far

View iminmyshop's profile


287 posts in 2195 days

#1 posted 11-01-2016 07:28 PM

That bench looks great. The joinery is bombproof, looks terrific and will outlive you.


View Schwieb's profile


1872 posts in 3662 days

#2 posted 11-01-2016 10:29 PM

That’s some pretty pine almost hate to see you paint it. Nice work on a simple project.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View BB1's profile


1213 posts in 1049 days

#3 posted 11-02-2016 01:07 AM

Nice project…and I agree that the pine looks really good.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21731 posts in 3306 days

#4 posted 11-02-2016 10:46 AM

Nice useful project, Skip!!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View SignWave's profile


451 posts in 3236 days

#5 posted 11-02-2016 04:33 PM

Nice work. Doing all that fine work with only hand tools is no small feat. Too nice for blue paint, I am going to assume that’s a joke :)

-- Barry,

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

119 posts in 2051 days

#6 posted 11-02-2016 07:25 PM

Thanks for all the comments!
I am about talked out of painting it :)
I really was considering blue milk paint because we have so much wood in our house already.
Thought some color might be nice, but you’re right the pine does look good.
The pine will darken fairly fast. It is cut out of 150yr old salvaged timber.
My next project is a firewood box and I had planned to paint it the same color.
So maybe just BLO or wax on the bench ??
Thanks again!!

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

View averagedadworkshop's profile


29 posts in 1451 days

#7 posted 01-12-2017 05:38 PM

Skip, thank you for posting this! I have been kicking around the idea of making a bench for our front entry and one of the ideas I had was through tenons in the bench top. This helps me visualize it a little better and I hadn’t thought of using wedges in the tenons.

-- "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 848 days

#8 posted 01-12-2017 06:07 PM

Nice work … kudos on the hand tool method! If you like blue you might consider a blue dye … the gain of the pine is striking … just a thought. Again, great job!

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