After finding an old beat up tailgate sitting in a junk pile, I decided it needed to be made into something cool. What better way to display it than to make an awesome sitting bench out of it! I hope that maybe some of you guys build one too and show me your take on this project!
Step 1: Measuring/Cutting Materials
I decided to use 4x4 treated posts for this project for the frame. It would be way more rigid than a 2x4 and for the size of the bench it looks more aesthetically pleasing. After measuring the tailgate, I went an inch longer so I would have a 1/2" gap on each side. I cut my spreader this long. I also used a chair height that was comfortable to decide how tall to make the seat part and added the tailgate's height to make sure it was long enough. The picture is of the 3 pieces mocked up after cutting.
Step 2: Measuring/Cutting Continued
I did the same measurements for the front spreader and uprights, but I only added 5" height for armrests instead of adding the tailgate height.
Step 3: Making Side Pieces/Brackets
In this step, I cut the 4x4 to go from the front to back. Also I made some brackets out of 3x3 angle iron to add strength, as this bench is relatively heavy. I screwed the brackets onto the frames pieces to hold them together. The picture here shows that, and I now have my frame built.
Step 4: Inside Bracing
I added some bracing inside the bench to add even more stability. It is made out of 2" by 1/4" flat bar. I used a brake to bend it into shape.
Step 5: Bench Slats
I used 6" wide decking boards for my bench slats. I had cut notches in the outside board in order to fit around my uprights. I used a router to round off the front edges so that they wouldn't cut into your legs when you sat down. I spaced them about 1/8" apart as I felt it looked better that way.
Step 6: Attaching Slats
I get OCD with my projects, so I laid out lines and measured every screw hole. That way it was all perfect and symmetrical.
Step 7: Arm Rests
I used the same decking boards for my armrests that I did for the bench slats. I traced an arc on the end and used a bandsaw to cut the profile then shaped them to a rounded edge. There is also an angle iron clip under the arm rest as well.
Step 8: Staining the Bench
I used a stain/sealer to color the wood and seal it from the outdoors. I just applied this with a brush, let soak in good, then applied a second coat.
Step 9: Tailgate Brackets
I used 4" flatbar to make a bracket to mount the tailgate. I drilled 3 holes on each to fit a lag bolt in, and then tack welded it into place on the back of the tailgate, and also the front lip to keep it from breaking the back tacks loose from pressure. I then painted them a black to keep them from rusting.
Step 10: Painting the Tailgate Letters
The tailgate I found was beat up and the letters were the same color as the tailgate, so there was no contrast. I found a rustic looking red that went perfect. I used tape to tape off the letters, then sprayed them with the red. Be careful when masking that you do it right and not rush it or they will not turn out the best.
Step 11: Attach Tailgate
Using the lag bolts, you will need to place the tailgate on the back and use the lags to attach it. Make sure to drill a pilot hole first, so that the wood will not split. This is the last step, and it turned out awesome!