Introduction: Mudbench (Step 2 of 4)

Picture of Mudbench (Step 2 of 4)

This is the 2nd of 4 articles that I'm going to be posting on how to build your own mudbench.  Hopefully it is clear enough.  For each of the four posts I'll put up a PDF with the prints.  Please forgive there sparseness, I'm not going to bother GD&T them.  

Here's the breakdown
-  Bench Seat
-  Bench Body
-  Vertical Edge forms
-  Locker Body

I built this cabinet as a gift for my wife for Christmas.  Our hall closet is bursting with stuff for the kids (puzzles, art supplies, etc) and all of their outer gear.  We put wicker baskets in the top and bottom for shoe and coat storage respectively.

Step 1: Prepping the Material

Picture of Prepping the Material

Bill of Materials
  - 1x MDF Sheet 8'x4'x1/2"
  - 2x Premium Pine 8'x4"x3/4"
  - 1x Common Pine 8'x10"x3/4"
  - 1x Common Pine 8'x4'x12"

Tools Required
  - Table Saw
  - Miter Saw
  - Circular Saw
  - Hand Sander w/Sand Paper
  - Several Wood Clamps
  - Finishing Nails/Air Nailer
  - Biscuit Joiner w/Biscuits
  - Router and Top Bearing Flush Trim Bit

1.  When choosing your boards for this project look specifically for flat, non-twisted boards.  This is going to be tough with the common board, if you choose to use common.  Typically Common board will be about 1/2 the cost of the premium.  Additionally with the common look for pieces that have the last amount of knots and check the ends for splitting.  With the weather the way it has been, the boards are getting destructively dry.  If lumber isn't stacked correctly, it is not unusual to not find any good quality lumber.  Don't be afraid to go to a different yard if needed or ask someone to open another bundle.

No matter how perfect of a common board you will find, it won't be perfect.  The premium board will have a better facing edge and will help keep the assembly straight.

2.  After getting everything organized, it's time to build the largest component, joining the premium cut 8'x4"x3/4" with the common 8'x10"x3/4".  Line your two boards end to end, flush.  Mark a line 1-1/2" from the end and every 3" after that, across both boards.

3.  Using your biscuit joiner, cut a slot at each mark on both boards.  Make sure that the slot is well emptied out of saw dust when the blade is withdrawn.

4.  Once all the slots are cut, place a couple drops of glue in each slot and a bead down the length of the board.

5.  Fill all the slots with the biscuits.  Press the two boards together and slide it back and forth to get the best fit.

6.  Using a little soap and water clean off all the excess glue that squeezes out from the joint.

7.  Take your wood clamps and press everything together.  A couple of c-Clamps help to reduce the joining ridge.  That is the other thing about using only 4" premium cut board.  It is perfect width to use C-clamps on.  Don't forget your scrap wood to prevent feet marks from being pushed into the soft pine.

8.  Now wait 12 - 24 hours until the glue is good and dry.

Step 2: Cutting the Boards

Picture of Cutting the Boards

9.  On your tablesaw, cut the board's width to 13".

10.  Take the combined board that you have assembled, after everything is cured, and it's time to add a lip.  An easy way to do this is with a router table.  Set up your guide for 1/4" deep with a 1/2" lip.  

10.  Cut the combined board into three sections, 2x 17-1/2" and 47"

11.  Using the attached PDF, mark out on the 3/4" slots on the three boards.  Mount your top bearing frush trim bit.  Using a straight edge router out the paths.  Use a utility knife to square off any round edges.  Use a test 3/4" piece to verify that all the slots are the correct width.

Step 3: Routering the Slots

Picture of Routering the Slots

12.  Cut the MDF board down to about 18" x 47" panel.  

13.  Trim 2x boards off the bottom 1-1/2" wide.

13.   The next 2 boards don't need any special instructions.  Use the table saw to cut them to width and the miter saw for length.
  - 2x  3-1/4" x 47"

Step 4: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

14.  Time for assembly.  Run a bead of glue along the ridges of the three boards for the sides and bottom, and along the grove for the floor.  Place the MDF in the rear.  Use some woodclamps to hold the assembly together as shown above.  While you don' t need them, some finish nails here are also very helpful.

15.  Wait 12-24 hours for everything to dry completely.

Step 5: Completed

Picture of Completed

16.  Glue and Clamp in the kick board and clamp it in place.

17.  Cut and glue the the individual separators into the groves.  Add the top two boards with some glue.

18.  Using a straight edge or measure the distance, pin the separators into a vertical position with some finish nails.

19.  Final touches.  Sand and sand some more.  Pay extra attention at any junctions. 

20.  Use some wood putty and filler to fill in gaps, cracks, etc.

21.  Now sand some more and paint.

I hope that these instructions were easy enough to follow.  The final product turned out pretty nice in my opinion.  Strong and sturdy.  Hope that someone else finds this useful.  Please give me any feedback if you want something added or changed.  Thanks for reading.



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