Salvaged Heart Pine Bench




Introduction: Salvaged Heart Pine Bench

After reconfiguring/removing a wall in our hundred-year-old house, I was left with some long heart pine 2x4s. Time to build a bench.

The original inspiration and building method came from an instructable from wholman

Step 1: Rough Mill the 2x4s

First, on the miter saw, I squared off one end of each 2x4 and then cut them to 6' They were roughly 3 3/4" thick. I used the table saw to rip 3/16" to get each plank to 3 9/16". (Later, I will take off another 1/16 using the planer.) After all that was done, I spent some quality time with the orbital sander. I first hit each one with 120 grit and then again with 220. The main goal was to clean the surface and maybe get some of the splinters out. In hindsight, I should've cut them a little longer than my desired finish length, but everything worked out.

Step 2: Drill the Holes

Using a 3/8" bit in a drill press and starting 2" in from the bench end, I drilled five holes 17" apart. (This is just how the math worked out.) The holes are meant to be visible from the front.

I used the holes to run threaded rods through the bench, front to back, to hold it together. I used 5/16" rods, so using the 3/8" bit gave me a little wiggle room. For the front and back end pieces, I also used a 1" forstner bit to drill through about half the thickness of the wood. This allowed me to inset a nut with a 1" washer.

After one sort of rough go at locating the holes, I made a template out of scrap 3/4" OSB and used another strip of OSB as a shim to consistently space the work in the drill press vice.

Step 3: Make the Spacers

Apologies for not taking a lot of pictures of this process. The basic goal was to make spacers that were 1/2" thick and 3" wide and have them line up with the holes made in the previous step. I milled a piece identical to the 3 9/16" thickness in step 2. Then I drilled holes in the center of each spacer, using the OSB shim from the previous step on the drill press vice. Finally I used the table saw to shave off 1/8" from the top so their tops will sit below the top of the bench.

Step 4: Assemble

I thought about just using the threaded rods and nuts to hold everything together, but I was convinced to not be lazy and use some glue and nails. I glued the spacers, lined up holes and popped my 1 1/2" brad nail to hold them in place while the glued dried. Next, I put a few coats of clear on what would be the inside/unseen surfaces, before they became inaccessible.

I meant to tape off the areas I planned to use for the joints, but I forgot. So, I hit those spots with the belt sander to remove the clear, in order to make sure I had a good glue surface.

The plan was to build it up by gluing and nailing each one together.
1) I took the first piece glued the second one to it
2) I lined them up as best I could and clamped them.
3) I used the 3" framing nailer to shoot a nail through the piece and the spacer and into the next one.
4) Repeat

I built the bench in two halves so I could run both through the planer.

Step 5: Send It Through the Planer

I ran each half through the planer and took off 1/16" to make the whole thing roughly 3 1/2".

Step 6: Route the Edges

I routed the edges and corners with a 1/4" roundover bit to soften the edges.

Step 7: Final Assembly, Finish and Sand

I glued the two halves together, ran the threaded rods through the holes and tightened everything down. Once everything was good and snug, I trimmed the rods with a Dremel. I did another pass with the sander and applied a few final coast of polyurethane.

Step 8: Add the Legs

I asked my buddy Neil at Carver Iron in Atlanta to make me some hairpin-style legs at a height of 14.5", in order to give the bench an overall height of 18". Neil made the legs with a third pin to help keep them from splaying out.

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    9 years ago

    Cool I voted for you in return can you follow me I want to make many different things so yea


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Jay - Great bench. Well 'Instructed'. Jealous of all your tools. Just moved to the UK and lost / left all mine in North America due to the 120 v 240 diff. Very :-(

    I'm at the start of a similar project. Building a table top using recovered boards, on edge, with threaded rod.

    A question if I may:

    I know you glued up, but do you think the rod / nuts / washers would have been enough to effectively 'laminate' the boards, without glue? I'm planning to run 4 lengths of M20 rod (about 1" diam). They will be evenly spaced over 5' boards.




    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Geege, you can probably get away without glue if you have a good reason not to use any. Gluing was helpful in getting everything lined up before adding the rods. It will get rather tedious to get the top flat and smooth, especially if you are not doing any sort of planning or making a serious effort to smooth out the seams between the boards. Also, without glue you will run a greater risk of the boards shifting over time. All that said, I'm sure M20 roods will be plenty of strength to hold everything together.