Coming from garage into the house, we have a small laundry room + hallway with a wall in between, and we decided to combined the two into a mudroom / laundry room with storage cabinets and counter space.
With the completion of the renovation, we realize that we need a storage bench where kids can sit down to put their shoes on, and a place to store their backpacks and other stuff they bring back, which I have no idea what and why...
The goal is to maximize the storage space and meanwhile look somewhat décor adequate.
Step 1: Design and Material
The bench will be a simple box with open lid, and the top of the lid is the sitting area. We would like to have the maximize the storage, so the box is designed only 2" off the floor. The finish height will be 18 1/4" (18" is a typical bench or chair height).
The main box will be constructed with hardwood plywood. First is cut to size. In order to simplify the cutting process, the plywood was cut at 14 3/4" (375mm) wide strips, then cut to length - 4 pieces @ 33 7/8" and 2 @ 13 3/8" (339mm).
PLEASE NOTE: the plywood used was 18mm, less the 3/4" thick, using metric measurement system for the last 2 shorter pieces is easier to calculate everything to ensure the right fit for the box. Please check the thickness of the your plywood and make a proper adjustment for the cut dimension. Also, other dimension is based on the space we have, it could be too big or small for your space. The most important factor is the 18" finish height. The younger kids might need a lower bench, so I attached the chart that I found on the internets for the reference. (communityplaythings.com)
It's a good idea to sand the plywood panels at this point, as they are still flat. Only 120 and 180 grid were used.
Step 2: Leg Construction
Rip some 3/4" stock pine or poplar board to 2" and 2 3/4" strips for two sides, and 2" square for bottom pieces.
Glue 2 3/4" to the 2" piece so that the "L" shape leg measured 2 3/4" x 2 3/4".
Cut 2" square and glued them into the L shape pieces.
Cut some chamfer at the end to make looked finished.
I used a small block plane to chamfer the corner edges after sanding all of them down with 80, 120, and 180 grid.
Step 3: Main Box
Apply glue the edge of the plywood, and use 18 gauge brad to pin two panels together. (this will ensure the panels are not shifting when the are clamp or screw together)
Continue for four corners to create the box.
Set it on a flat table and making sure the box is square. Drill pilot holes and screw the box together using 2" screws. Use the same method to attach the bottom piece to the box.
I used a small box plane to trim the edges, as it will provide the clearance for the leg pieces in case of some glue squeeze out at inside corner of the L shape.
Use the box as reference to trace the required dimension to cut the legs to final length, and glue them the box assembly.
Step 4: Triming and Finish the Box
Some left over base boards were used to trim the box. Cut off the cove molding portion of the base board with table saw, and it would give about 2 5/8" of flat stock. The thickness of the base board (1/2") would provide another 1/4" reveal to the leg piece as well, which would add some additional depth to the box.
Used glue and 18 gauge nails to secure the trim, clamps were used due to some bowing of the base board.
Then primed the box and filled the nail holes. Two coats of trim paint applied after sanding the prime coat.
Step 5: Top and Attachment
The bench top will be the last piece of the plywood that has not been used, with solid 1 1/2" oak banding on all sides, and chamfer cut profile at the bottom. I used router table with 45 degree chamfer bit, a tilted blade table saw will also be good for trimming the edges.
The solid wood banding has to be trimmed flush with the plywood surface on the top side, Small block plane with some elbow grease and final sanding will do the job.
Stained with two coat of General Finishes JAVA gel stain, and finished with three coats of Arm-R-Seal oil base top coat. The interior of the box was just a couple of clear coat finish.
Some left over piano hinges was used to mount the top to the box. If the regular hinges would be used, a couple of recess for the hinges should have to be cut at both box and top side in order to have the hinges work properly with minimum gap between box and top.