This is how I took an old bed and converted it into a nice bench.
Step 1: Gather Materials.
I used the following materials:
- An old headboard
- An old footboard
- Two bed side slats from an old waterbed frame
- Connector things (don't know their real name but there are pictures later that show them)
- Shelf brace (600 pound test)
I used the following tools:
- Circular saw
- Table saw
- Miter saw
Don't forget about your miniature helpers and ear/eye protection.
Step 2: Decide Bench Depth and Cut Footboard
I wanted my bench seat to be approximately 11" deep so that meant I needed to trim down the footboard a bit.
First, remove the legs from the footboard and determine where the middle of the board is. Make a cut there using the circular saw. You should now have two equally sized footboard pieces.
From the outside of the footboard, measure your depth and then make a cut there with your miter saw. I only did this to one board, then I attached the now shortened board to the other side of the footboard with a clamp and cut with the miter saw to ensure I had two pieces of identical length.
***If your two pieces are off even a little your bench will be a bit skewed. This was the easiest way I found to guarantee equal lengths.
Reattach the legs to the now shortened footboard pieces.
Step 3: Attach Bench Sides to Back of the Bench
The two pieces you just cut can now be attached to the bench back. Use the connector hardware for easiest connecting.
Step 4: Make Bench Seat
Measure the distance between your bench sides and cut the side slats to the appropriate length with a miter saw.
My side slats were wider than I could fit into the bench seat area so I had to trim them each a couple inches to make them fit. I used the table saw to do this. Save the "trimmings" as they will be important later.
Step 5: Assemble the Seat
Lay the two trimmed side slats side by side and ensure the spacing is equidistant on each end.
Take the trimmed pieces and cut them to a consistent length. I used four pieces to connect the two sides slats. Screw the trimmed pieces to each side slat.
Now your seat is complete.
Step 6: Attach Bench Seat to Bench
Using another connector, connect the seat to the sides. Use the level to ensure your seat is level.
My seat fit snugly between the sides and the connectors held it nice and tight.
Step 7: Brace the Bench
Find the center of the bench and place your brace. The brace I picked up from Home Depot said it was a 600lb brace. Should be plenty for us.
(This pic was taken after painting. We waited to put the brace on until it was painted.)
Step 8: Test, Test, Test
Test to make sure it holds right and is strong enough. I sat directly in the middle (these pics were taken pre-brace... I like to live on the wild side) and it was strong and stable.
Step 9: Paint to Your Liking
My wife has better taste in colors and chose a nice dark blue. She later distressed the corners a bit.