The measurements of this Bench are 40”L X 16”W x 23”H
I have used a biscuit cutter in the past and have had success but with this project I needed a Domino cutter because the biscuits were to wide.
Step 1: Drawings of the Entryway Bench
Its important to have a plan to keep you focused on the end goal.
Here are the drafts of the plans for this Bench.
Step 2: Selecting, Measuring, and Cut Your Wood Stock
This really starts at the lumberyard
Being selective of the wood you buy will save you in prep time and help eliminate waste.
Look for boards that are not bowed or curved.
Once you have selected your wood carefully, plain wood down to the proper dimensions then measure and make your cuts
Set your fence and make all the same size cuts before adjusting your fence for the next size. This is important not only for efficiency but also when your trying to square things up during assembly.
Step 3: Start Your Assembly and Dry Fitting the Sides of the Bench.
Here is where I figured out biscuits were not going to work for me.
With you wood cut now you can start placing the pieces together to see how it will look and how the pieces fit together best. Remember to take into consideration the grain patterns.
Once you have things laid out mark up your wood pieces in a way you will know how to put it back together.
Example which is the right leg which is the left leg. Which is the front which is the back and so on.
It was also in this step that I marked out where to cut the dominos.
I used two dominos per joint
Step 4: Marking and Cutting the Curve for the Side of the Bench 1st Glue Up
Using a compass mark the top piece to have a guide for the cut you are about to make.
I used a bandsaw for this cut. I stayed near the line but on the outside so that I could sand down to the line later.
Once you have the top piece curve cut and sanded down it’s time for the 1st glue up.
Clear an area big enough to set up all you need for a glue up.
Water - Paper towels - Glue brush - Glue - Dominos - Clamps - Some type of cover for the table - gloves
Line up your pieces and glue them together utilizing your marking system to ensure pieces are in the right place.
Be sure to put glue in the Domino holes as well as where the wood will but up together. Try not to use to much glue because the squeeze out will be a pain to clean up later and if the sanding isn’t good enough it could effect your staining later.
Clamp your glued up pieces clean up the squeeze out and take a break.
Step 5: It’s Router Time
Using a 3/4” rounding over bit it’s time to route your pieces
The sides have all been glued and is one solid piece so it is a little awkward to handle on a router table but possible.
In order to safely route these pieces as well as to avoid tear out you should make multiple passes on the router table slowly bringing the bit up with each pass.
Special note the bit that I was using came with a recommended speed so if your router has the capability to adjust speeds look to see if there is a recommendation for the bit on the package.
Step 6: Dry Fit the Newly Glued Legs With the Front and Back Stretchers
Of course before you connect the front and back stretcher you have to measure and cut The dominos.
Once the Dominos wha e been cut you can dry fit the stretchers to make sure of the fit and squareness.
Take diagonal measurements to check the squareness and a level to check for what else but levelness (is that a word). Now it starting to look like a Bench.
Step 7: Adding Bottom Support Otherwise Known As a Shelf
Now we need to add the bottom support which will conveniently double as a shelf.
Take the stretches that were dry fitted off and place on the side. Measure the distances based on the plans provided or your desired width and cut your dominoes this was a little tricky because the cuts need to be exactly in the same spot on both sides. If you lay the two pieces down side by side your first domino cut on the left side is the 4th cut on the right when you stand them back up. Study the piece and play with it first and it will make more sense.
After cutting the dominoes assemble the bench again and try the bottom pieces in different spots to ensure the best and tightest fit. Once you have determined the best fit label everything so it can go back the same way when you are ready to glue.
Step 8: Screw Happy
So now we are going prepare the support for the platform that will become the cushion.
I have been told I used too many screws but hay this thing is strong.
I used inch and a quarter screws for the side supports but be very careful drilling the pilot holes mark your bit so you don’t go to far. Also on the brackets that attached to the stretchers I countersunk all of the screw holes and beveled the bottom of each piece.
Space the screws out to ensure that you will have enough space to add screws while securing the cushion.
Not shown in the picture are supports for the cross braces to sit on, but I can assure you they are there lol.
Measure and cut the 1/2 inch plywood that will be the cushion later. I took off a 1/4 inch on each side from the final measurement. This was due to the space needed for the cushion and the fabric.
Step 9: Getting Ready for the Final Glue Up and Staining
Now it’s time to sand the pieces down to get a nice smooth feel and really bring out the grain
Disassemble the Bench to make it easier to sand
Although not pictured I started with a 120 grit paper working my way up to 150 then to 220.
Step 10: Final Glue Up
Here’s what I keep around when I’m glueing things up.
Old screw driver
Paper to line the table
Clamps ready to go
A persuader (hammer) with block
Take pieces one by one and put glue in the domino holes use the old screw driver to move the glue around place the Domino in the hole place glue on the pieces that will but together, use brush to spread the glue. Attach the pieces and wipe any glue away with wet paper towels. Repeat till assembled.
Once all pieces have been glued and assembled clamp the Bench together and wipe away any squeeze out.
Important note: be sure to get all the squeeze out or the piece will not stain properly. If you see dried glue on the wood sand the area well to remove the glue, this will help get better results during the staining process.
Step 11: Staining and Finishing the Bench
In an effort to make sure all of the sawdust is off before I stain I use my compressor to blow off any sawdust. I also use a microfiber cloth to go over the bench again to ensure I didn’t miss anything. I know it may be overkill but now is not the time to take shortcuts.
I find that using old t shirts work well for staining so I cut some pieces so I can apply the stain.
I gave the Bench 2 coats waiting 24 hours between coats before I sanded the Bench lightly with 400 grit paper just to knock down any grain that may have raised. I then gave the Bench a third coat of stain to finish it off.
As far as the finish goes I used a high gloss wipe on. I applied light coats with old t shirts.
2 Coats waiting 24 hours between coats before lightly wet sanding to knock down any grain that may have raised or any imperfections. Applying two more coats waiting 24 hours between coats before wet sanding again and applying the last coat.
The finish is silky smooth.
Step 12: Some Picture of the Staining and Finishing Process
Once the first coat of stain was applied was when I really started to have a feeling of accomplishment..
I have never made a piece of furniture before.
Step 13: The Finished Entryway Bench All Ready for the Season
I am really happy with the Finished product. The best part was when I sat on it for the first time. it was sturdy. No rock to it, no creaking and best of all it didn’t break. Lol.
The last two things that I did to the Bench were 1 screwing the cushion to the side supports and 2 putting felt feet on the legs to protect the floor.
Hope you enjoyed this journey with me and I hope to do more of these in the future.