I have wanted to get rid of our kitchen table and chairs for a while, but the bench unit that I wanted from the big-box store wouldn't fit. Last week the table was on sale so I was more willing to cut apart the brand new furniture than if I paid full price. I looked at the display unit and thought there was a way I could cut down the short bench and make it fit in my kitchen.
The visible pieces are mostly solid pine, but the hidden pieces seem to be glued-up panels of smaller strips of pine.
Step 1: Mod
My plan was pretty simple, I just had to remove 7 inches from the end of all of the pieces except the seat-back and drill new holes for the hardware. The seat-back would be a little more difficult, since there was a "panel" detail routed into the surface.
I thought the best way to handle that was to find the center of the panel, and measure 3.5" out from that point on each side. Then I could re-join the halves back together and the pattern would match up almost like before.
Step 2: Cutting
I added a long piece of scrap wood to the miter gauge that came with my table saw to make it more like a cross-cut sled. This way I can make more exact, truer cuts than I can make with my compound miter saw. I lined up all of the marks I drew on the painter's tape with the kerf on the "sled" and cut the 7 inches off the end of each piece. I repeated this process for the seat support rails, the seat bottom, the bottom of the storage bin under the seat, and the seat back cap.
For the seat back, I set my fence to 3.5" less than half the length of the panel. I made one cut, then turned the board around and ran it through on the other side. I intentionally left more material on the end pieces so I could fine tune the fit.