Chest Style Bench




About: My real name is David, Right now my life revolves around school and I was lucky enough to make a school project a fun one I could benefit from and help everyone with making there own projects.

This is a project that I have designed myself for a school project, it is a first attempt and is meant to be a learning experience for myself. I hope the research I have done surrounding this project will help somebody other than myself. I funded this project myself and it cost me about 300$ to create but you could save money using lower quality materials since I used red oak and wanted to use it for quite some time to come.


The Guy in the picture is my Dad, didn't want to confuse anybody, I'm in high school, this is my senior project.


Step 1: Planning Stage

To start my project I made some designees in SketchUp, a 3d modeling program, I left every thing at 90 degree angles for simplicity and time. For ideas I decided to use some ideas from youtube and got the chest idea from instructables.

To give credit to the people who helped me there is Eric Lindberg, also known as the Woodworking Nut, from his design I decided to make my bench in the same basic shape.

Eric's Video:

I decided on moving pieces from Rob Palmer, he created a bench that is made in moving sections that is what gave me the idea of having it incorporate moving pieces, the seat opens like a chest for storage. the way he did it didn't exactly appear in the design but it was a piece for inspiration.

Rob's Video:

The instructable I found was a workbench called Workbench With Storage by bcb10

The project:

The project I made drew inspiration from theses three sources And with that I believe it is time to start showing what you need to make a project like mine.

I made the selection of red oak after doing a interview with Gerry from midwest woodworkers, it was a experience to learn from somebody more educated.

Step 2: Getting the Materials

For my project I used Red Oak for my wood and I found Reclaimed sheets of some 1/2" boards that where Four Sides Finished when I bought them. The other boards I fought where Three side finish, this was only to save time, it was a bit more costly but being on a school schedule it was more appropriate.


Board Dimensions-

6 Boards that are 1/2" by 3-3/4" 4-1/2'

12 Boards 1/2" by 3-3/4" by 1-1/2'

4 boards that are 1/2" by 6" by 4-1/2'

2 boards that are 1" by 8" by 5'2"

2 boards that are 1" by 4" by 1'11"

2 boards that are 2" by 1" by 1-1/2'

2 boards that are 1" by 4" by 1-1/2'

2 boards that are 1" by 7" by 1-1/2'

2 boards that are 2" by 2" by 4'

2 boards that are 2" by 2" by 2'

1 Board that is 1" by 5" by 4-1/2"

4 Boards that are 1" by 1" by 7"


Other Materials-

You will need around 50-80 3" screws that are 3/16", I used deck screws, they are strong and weather resistant.

about 20 screws that are 1-1/2" that are 5/32"

I had a bit of scrap left over that I used for reenforcing the joints.

you will need Elmer's wood glue, its more than strong enough, If you want to use a different brand i'm not sure that it will hold the same way but if you trust it go ahead.



A hand drill will work, but you need to be careful, a drill press is best since its all 90 degree angles for this project.

A countersink for the screws, it keeps the heads of the screws under the edge of the wood.

Sand paper, and a power sander, its a big project that has tons of surface area, you can try by hand but good luck.

A driver for the screws- had powered drivers are not suggested.

Miter saw and a table saw- for cutting.

A work Surface, mine was not the best, I used a pool table, its not quite flat enough for it to work quite easily.



Googles/safety glasses- lots of flying particles.

Gloves, some of the wood will be sharp and splintery, you don't want an infected splinter.

Long Selves, the drill can be hot and a poke in the arm can hurt

Shoes that sit closely to your legs, it keeps splinters from falling in.


I made a field observation of my schools work shop and found a that an appropriate apparel also includes removing all dangling things, such as hanging hair, pull strings, headphones, and loose shirts.

Step 3: The File I Used

A copy of the sketchup file, some of the lengths are not totaly modified

Step 4: Prepping the Boards

I am not planing on going in deep detail on how to cut the boards but be presses, measure multiple times, and take precautions to avoid kickback


"Do not cutting directly through a Knot in the wood... use a blade that is rated for the wood you are using... always use a guard or backstop" (Dennis 32).


From my experience doing this I would suggest doing the sanding before assembly and jumping to the finishing touches after assembly instead of sanding for 30 hours after assembly getting in all the small corners.


"Using a tri-square is a must" (Frank 46). You will need precision to prevent boards from breaking since stress is delicately distributed and always make sure edges are square, its easy and important.

Step 5: Building the First Section

You will need the two long 2 by 2 boards for this piece and the 4 1/2" by 7" by 4'6" and a few pieces of scrap to do the joint. like seen in the picture, the pieces i used are 7" by 1" by 1"


I started with the back legs and the back boards, it was the top two backrest boards and the bottom two rear boards. The 4 boards have a gap between the two top boards is 1/4" and the same for the bottom, the boards from the bottom will be on the side that faces the back and the back rest will be by the front. There is a 1/4" gap from the floor to the first board going up, the top board is flush to the top. The screws are 5" apart and are 1" from each edge of the back rest.


The scrap is held to the backrest with wood glue, I used a 4" 3/16 bit and drilled all the way through the side of the leg and the end of the board, it was right through the center of the leg and out the pice of scrap, I used a decking screw to secure it and wood glue to keep it in place. the bottom boards are drilled in a similar manor but the hole is 1/4" from the back of the leg. the holes are 5" apart and 1" from each edge of the boards.

Step 6: The Front of the Bench

The front is composed of the 6 boards that are 1/2" by 3-3/4" by 4'6" and the two short 2" by 2" boards


You will line up the ends of the boards on one side and do one hole and drill 1/4" from the front of the leg and 1-7/8" from the end of the top of the leg, The holes are 4" apart and there are 6 of them, drilling the center of all the ends of the 1/2" boards will make them line up flush with the front of the leg, there is a 1/4 inch gap between all of the boards. I used wood glue and bar clamps to hold them in place and used a few triangles of wood to hold two of the boards that didn't want to stay in place. there is a quarter inch gap between the bottom board and the floor theses are your front feet.

Step 7: First Step to Making the Sides

get the back pice you made in the first construction step and the 12 identical 1/2" by 3-3/4" by 1'6" boards.


You will need to mark the holes on the sides in a similar manor to the front with four inch gaps between screws and 1/4" between the boards. There will be one screw that will be blocked by a board from the back, move it 3/8" up and it will be fine. secure it with wood glue and if any of them decide to wander use wood triangles to keep them in place. One thing that made it simple was to drill the legs the 12 times and hold the boards on the edge and run the drill through the holes once more to make them fit like a puzzle.

Step 8: Attaching the Front to the Back

This part is very much the same as the back, But you will need to move all the holes about 3/8" up to avoid all of the screws holding the front together. Glue will be important to keep all of theses to keep them from twisting. Mine didn't want to twist but so i didn't use any triangles to keep them from doing so, do it like on the front if you have trouble. Once you have them attached stand it up, measure the diagonals from leg to leg and make sure they are equal, it will stay the same if you let it dry like this.

Step 9: Building the Seat

You can do this while the base of the seat is drying and it will only take about an hour. you will need the 2 1" by 7" by 1'6" boards, the 2 1" by 4" by 1'11" boards, the 2 1" by 8" by 5' boards, and the 2 1" by 2" by 1'6" boards.


You will lay out the two five foot boards so that the edges are 1'6" apart and put the 2 2" wide boards to hold them together, apply glue and use 6 screws to secure each end. The boards will be lined up with the short edges of the boards. then find the center of the 5' boards and go 2'3" from the center and secure them with 8 screws each. Finally the 2 boards that are 7" wide are 19" from the ends to center of them, they will also be secured with 8 screws each.

Step 10: Making the Hinge

I found 2 pieces of 1-1/2" scrap and put them on the back of the legs to keep make the hinge stronger. I drilled through, finding the center of these new secured boards and drilling an 3/8" hole all the way through I added two boards to the top of the hinging boards that are 1" by 4" by 3" and secured them with 3 shot screws. I used a 7" 5/16" screw and locking nut to make the hinge. that is more than strong enough to keep it in place. now its time for that board that is 5" by 1" by 4'6" and secured it directly under the seats boards that reach back to help support them, it will go in between the two long legs towards the front of the bench and sit level with the side boards.

Step 11: Personal Touches

For your project you can add a coat of varnish and a protective coat, for mine, since I like the look of red oak I did a light red oak varnish with a matte protective coat.


to do the varnish do a extensive sanding with 220 grit sand paper, apply in coats, the more coats you add the darker the varnish will appear (Poison 32).




Works Cited

Dennis, Paul “7 Tips For Cutting Wood Safely.” Countryside & Small Stock Journal 89.3 (2005): 32-34. OmniFile Full Text Select (H.W. Wilson). 2 Feb. 2015.

Frank, D.B. “Increasing Your Pantry Space (Without Touching any drywall).” Countryside & Small Stock Journal 69.4 (2012): 46-47. Omnifile Full Text

Lindberg, Eric. "How to Build a Garden Bench (Steve Ramley’s Version)" YouTube. YouTube. 20 May 2014. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Palmer, Rob. "Rob Palmer: Multi Function Seat, Ep 4 (21.02.14)" Youtube. Youtube, 20 May 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Poison, Mary Elien. “Refreshing Wood Finishes” Art & Crafts Homes & The Revival 8.3 (2013): 32-34. OmniFile Full Text Selection (H.W. Wilson). Web. 6 Feb. 2015

Shadlow, David. 14605 Wright Street, Omaha, NE. Expert Interview. 15 Nov. 2014.

Shadlow, David. 8701 Pacific St., Omaha, NE. Field Observation. 28 Jan. 2015.

Shadlow, David. Bench Project. 18 Jan. 2015. Digital files.

"Workbench with Storage." Instructables. 24 Aug. 2014. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. .



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    11 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Hey cool bench, hey about the one Rob Palmer made, do you know where I can the templates for those?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Really nice bench :)
    Do you have a sketchup file you could send me or upload in the instructable?
    Gonna attempt this on our porch, and I want to modify the measurements so that it fits better.

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for this instructable. I wonder if you would be willing to post a photograph of the whole thing finished with the seat down, so we can see the finished product? It looks great.


    4 years ago on Step 4

    One additional tool, that would help you a lot in the long term, is to learn how to use a spell-check program. It makes a world of difference when you post something that is perfect vs something that is pretty good. Remember your future employer may just stumble across this someday. Great project, keep up the good work!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great bench and just what I need for me garden. My only comment would be, please, please, please, next time build a workbench first so you don't have to use a pool table. That is just sacrilege!!!

    Seth of choas

    4 years ago

    i believe the term is spelled "matte". Honestly this is a fantastic instructible all around ^-^

    2 replies

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great job on your first Instructable! Thanks for taking us through your process. I hope we see more from you in the future!