Mudbench (Step 1 of 4)




Introduction: Mudbench (Step 1 of 4)

This is the 1st 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: Bench Seat

Bill of Materials:
  - 3x 8' Premium 1"x4" pine board
  - Some Miscellaneous scrap wood
  -  Wood Glue
  -  3x Wood Clamps (At least 1-48"+ long)
  -  8 oz can of Stain
  -  8 oz can clear polyurethane 
  -  Foam Brush
   - Table saw (Dado blade is nice to have)
   - Miter Saw

1.  When purchasing your boards make sure you check them for flatness, be picky.  Your best bet is always to look about two boards up from the bottom of the stack.  All boards have some memory, if they dry out unsupported they could twice or bow.

2.  Set your table saw up to cut the boards down to 3 7/16" ([11+3/4]/4) - Do this with all of the boards.  You'll cut the lip pieces down slightly later.

3.  Rough out your board cuts.  Don't actually cut the 45 degree ends yet.  Be sure to take note of: which edges need the grove - not all boards need both sides.

4.  Hopefully you have some scrap wood that is greater than 0.20" x 0.40" rectangular.  Now is a good time to cut it to size.  Make it as uniform as possible but it doesn't need to e perfect.  I have a bin of scrap pieces from previous projects that work great for this.

5.  Setup your Dado blade if you have one, but if not no problem.  A saw blade is 1/8" thick, so if you run your board through twice, on it's edge, per side, you'll have a perfectly centered slot for the tongue.  Check your tongue width against your grove.  It should slide easily up and down the whole length but now so tight that it bows the wood out.

Step 2: Center Island

6.  Cut your 4 central pieces, here's the longest length.
    - 2x 41-7/8 and 2x 6-7/8

7.  Since your table saw is still setup for the correct tongue grove depth/location, complete the grove along the two ends.

8.  Run a bead of glue down the length of the inner groves.  

9.  Place your tongue down the length, slide it back and forth to spread out the glue.

10.  Fit the different pieces together

11.  Using some (just a little) soap and water, clean up the glue that pushes out the edges.

12.  Time for the wood clamps.  Using scrap wood along the edges, tighten everything together (see picture).  The clamp feet will leave imprints if not properly supported, thus the wood blocks.  Place clamps on the front and back to keep the seam flat as possible.

13.  Leave everything tightened for the next 12 - 24 hours.

Step 3: Long Edges

14.  Cut the next two pieces.  These don't need any outside groves.  Double check grove width.
    - 2x 48-3/4 at the longest dimension
   - One board will have a 45 degree cut down the long length and a slanted grove.

Note:  Using a chunk of scrap 2x4 to build you a slanted jig.  Cut one edge to 45 degree angle and screw it to your table saws guide rail.  Use this to put in the angled tongue grove.

15.  Again, place a bead of glue down the length of the grove.  Slide the tongue down the length, spreading out the glue. 

16.  Assemble together the two outside boards, clamp them, and let them dry 12 - 24 hours

Step 4: Short Edges

17.  Cut the last two top boards - 2x 13-3/4.  Make sure to cut the 45 degree edge on one of the outside edge of the boards and add the angled grove

18.  Glue and clamp and then wait another 12-24 hours.  This project may take awhile.  You may be temped to start the bench at this point (or sooner).

Step 5: Raised Lip

19.  It's time to cut the last two pieces, the edges.  First off, depending on the height of your lip, you'll cut them down to width on the table saw to 2-1/2"

20.  The length of the last two edges are 48-3/4" and 13-3/4".  Place a 45 degree angle on one edge and using the miter saw on the short edges too.

21.  Now comes the challenging part.  You are going to want to run your 45 degree edge down the jig you made for your table saw to place a slot at an angle in the wood.  Go slow and take your time.

22.  Double check that everything is fitting together and then assembly with your tongue and some glue down the lengths.

23.  Clamp and let sit one last time for 12 - 24 hours.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

24.  Now it's time to sand, then sand some more.  You want your surface to be perfectly smooth width no ridges or glue left over.  

25.  If you have some gapping add some wood filler or wood putty in the gaps.  What's nice about both of these is that they will take a stain nicely.

26.  Now sand some more.

27.  Time to add the stain and polyurethane.  Pine actually takes stain very nicely.  It's like  sponge and readily absorbs it.  A nice contrast will appear around knots and grains.  With the polyurethane the instructions say at least two coats for inside applications.  I would do 3-4 just to be safe, especially if you used pine as of how soft is.

I hope everyone found this easy to follow and repeatable.  I'm more than willing to make any changes recommended.  Just let me know.  Thanks for reading.

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    I've made small boxes for my wife before. I like this project and I know that she will do. I do have one recommendation though: use a wood that is the color you want the bench to be. When I've priced wood to build her a new jewelry box, I've looked at pine and walnut. The cost of pine, plus stain sealer, plus stain to make it look like walnut was more expensive than the cost of walnut. Walnut is much more durable and dent resistant than pine, plus if it gets scratched, it is less visible once resealed. Beware false economies.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Jobar, that a good point. Pine is very soft which is good and bad for building. It sands and cuts easily, however that also means it splinters easier if you blade begins to get dull. Using walnut or oak especially on the seat will give it a much better lifespan. I ended up not glue or nailing it to the bench/locker in case I do need to touch it up (replace) in the future.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't think about not securing it. If it is loose, you can replace as needed easily. Good thinking!