Introduction: Gear Head Bench Seat

About: I'm an Industrial Technology Teacher specializing in woodworking and CAD. I enjoy trying new things and always try do do things outside of my comfort zone, how else can you get better.

I saved the back seat out of an old Sable to make a seat for use in the shop when I have company.

Follow along as I make the seat with no real plan in mind other than to make it comfortable and fill my needs while looking reasonably attractive.

Step 1: Materials and Frame Layout

I grabbed an assortment of materials since I wasn't really sure how I was going to accomplish my goal.

I grabbed
a sheet of 3/4" mdf
a sheet of 7/16" OSB
a sheet of 1/8 paneling
a few 2x4s and 2x6s (nice to have on hand anyway)
nails for my finish nailer.
mechanics wire

After measuring out my seat parts, I came up with a general layout. The seat bottom was about 2' deep (front to back), and needed to be flat. The seat back was going to be more difficult. I made it taller and straighter than needed so that adjustments could be made to sneak up on a comfortable seating position.

My pencil marks did not show up in the picture.. so I drew on the picture so you could have a visual.

I cut the first line with the table saw (picture shows what this looks like)
and then finished the seat section with a jig saw. Sorry I don't have any pictures of the work being done.. I was "assistantless"

Step 2: Frame Completion

This step took me A LOT longer than I expected. you can see how much of my back section disappeared.

After seeing the seat on the frame boards I was able to see where attachment points would likely be, and how much lean I needed to make it comfortable.

This trial and error process took the better part of an hour.

The second picture shows the seat parts set in place when I was satisfied with their placement.

Step 3: Making a Seat Base

I got so involved with the project I forgot to take many pictures.

Basically, I measured the seat length, and how wide/tall the seat frame base and back needed to be.

I cut them on the table saw, glued, and finish nailed them to the frame boards.

Understandably so, the frame pieces were not rock solid, so I cut a "stiff back" to go between the legs. (picture shown)

Picture 2 shows the seat parts resting on the assembled frame.

Pictures 3@4 show the corners that need to be removed.

Step 4: Fine Tuning

Again I was a man on a mission and forgot about taking a bunch of photos. (its been to long since I made an Instructable, I missed you guys)

I marked with a pencil where I needed to remove the corners, and did so with a jig saw. Make sure to fit and refit until you like it.

Next I made a cardboard template of the gap behind the seat back. Once I was close I traced onto a 2x6 and cut on a band saw.

After a test fit, sanding.. refitting... sanding.. you get the point... I was ready to make one board two. I resawed the 2x6 down the middle, and magically I had a left and a right that matched.

This piece was glued and nailed in.

Step 5: Attaching the Seats

I needed a method to attach the cushion to the frame. I ended up doing this with wire. It was a cheap and effective way to do this step. When I was finished the cushions were rock solid.
I put all of the info for the steps in the steps so it would be easier to follow.

Step 6: Front Wrap

Most of the important steps are explained in the pictures. The last two pictures are how the wrap turned out. Be prepared to used a lot of staples and glue for this step.

Step 7: Fabric Covering

I used 3M super 77 spray adhesive to attach the fabric to the wood. I started on the back of the seat spraying all wood etc attachment points and letting it get tacky. I spayed the fabric in those areas next and allowed it to get tacky. As soon as the two touch they are stuck fairly tightly.

After the glue set up a little I trimmed everything with a straight razor.

Next was the front and side. The same basic steps were followed except I used a friend to help keep the fabric from sticking to itself. I started in the middle of the front... and did about a foot at a time, flattening our any wrinkles etc as I went.

I cut off all excess in the back so it looked nice, and left it about an inch long everywhere else so I could tuck it neatly behind/underneath the cushions.

Step 8: Conclusion

Hopefully I helped to take some of the guess work out of making a seat like this for you all. No two seats will be the same generally, so some changes will be in order I'm sure.

I love projects where you have a general idea of what you want or need but no real idea how to get there. It's problem solving at its best.

All in all I really like how it turned out.
I ended up putting a piece of foam under the seat bottom to help support style weight and made it feel much more normal.

I kind of wish I would have spent more money and got a matching tan fabric ($30 vs. $5.25) or better yet, a tan fake leather, which I'm sure would have been even more pricey.

All in all I feel like I met or exceeded all of my goals in building this seat.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think, or better yet, show me a picture of how yours turned out.

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