Intro: Hockey Stick Bench
My son plays hockey and I wanted to create something special for his hockey-themed bedroom. His room is decorated with hockey memorabilia from professional athletes and from his youth hockey achievements. His bedroom has room for him to shoot indoor hockey balls against a hockey goal, and it seemed logical that he and his friends need a place to sit and rest while playing hockey in his bedroom.
I have seen adirondack chairs, picture frames and other furniture made from hockey sticks and wanted to build something special for my son - a bench made from hockey sticks. The bench is styled somewhat after a real hockey bench with the top of the bench at 21” high and the bench seat top 12” deep. I created my son's bench 3.5 feet wide, but this requires adult hockey sticks to make it this wide. You can make it as wide as you desire or as wide as your sticks allow.
This Ible’s bench is similar in dimension to the type of bench that hockey players sit on while resting. A real hockey bench typically has either a wood, aluminum or plastic seat top. The bench top in this Ible is made from connecting/laminating 17 hockey sticks. I chose to make the bench legs from metal as i thought it would most resemble a real hockey bench and be super strong and last forever.
The hardest aspect of this Ible is to get access to approximately 17 hockey sticks that are required to form the "bench" onto which you sit. I was fortunate because I asked our local hockey rink if they had any sticks and they were glad to give me some adult sticks from a storage closet that were gathering dust.
Timing: The overall construction time of this Ible is about 3-4 hours.
WARNING: Hockey sticks are made from all sorts of materials including fiberglass. When you cut a hockey stick you need to make sure you are not inhaling the dust as it is dangerous and also need to make sure you are not allowing your skin to come in contact with the fiberglass dust or you will be very itchy and uncomfortable! So when cutting, remember to wear something to protect your breathing, eyes and arms/torso from fiberglass dust.
I hope this Ible is an inspiration to build something from hockey sticks…maybe you can think of something bigger and better…if so, please share!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials/tools & Determine Dimensions
Below are the tools and supplies required. Please note that I've tried to keep this as simple as possible and if you don't have a particular tool, don't worry, get creative and find a way to use a different tool (but keep it safe!).
- Eye protection
- Dust mask
- Paper towels
- Miter saw (or hand saw)
- Table saw (optional)
- Razor knife
- 1/4" drill bit
- 7/64” drill bit (optional, 7/64 counter sink)
- Screwdriver (drill with screwdriver bit highly recommended)
- 100 grit sandpapper
- 3 - 24” pipe clamps
- Welder (I used a FCAW/MIG welder)
- 90 degree magnets
- Hacksaw or metal cutoff saw
- Hand held grinder with grinding and wire brush wheels
- Metal file
- 17 hockey sticks (13 for the interior and 4 to provide your final “trim”)
- Approximately 85 exterior wood screws (#10 2”)
- Wood glue (or gorilla glue)
- 1” square tube, about 12' length
- 8 - 1” square tube plugs
- Clear coat (polycrylic or similar)
- Paint brush
- Felt pads (optional, for bottom of bench base)
Find a way to get 17 adult hockey sticks or other wood to make this Ible. Actually, you can get away with just 16 sticks if you use one single stick to provide both the side pieces. Which is completely possible, however, I wanted to make sure the sides had a logo centered and therefore I used two separate sticks, given that each stick only has one logo on its side.
Ask around and ask your local hockey rink if they will collect broken sticks that are typically thrown in the garbage. Determine the length of the bench you want to build. The one I built is 3.5' wide and is the maximum you can get from adult hockey sticks given their length. Decide on the height of your bench. I built my son’s bench top to be 21” from the ground which I thought was comfortable for teens and adults.
Step 2: Prepare Sticks
This step will have you organize your sticks, thinking critically about what you want to be visible in your finished furniture.
Organize your sticks and lay them out as you want them to ultimately be connected
Note: we are gluing and screwing the sticks on their side, so only the thinner (approximately 3/4”) side of the stick will be visible once assembled. The wider, approximate 1 1/2 side of the stick will not be visible. You want the sticks oriented in this manner so the final bench is stiff and does not bench when you sit on it.
Do you want certain logos or words on the sticks to be visible, or not visible? Orient the sticks so the desired logos will be visible.
I found that most of my used sticks had tape at the top of the stick that I wanted to remove. If I left the tape on the sticks it would be uncomfortable to sit on the bench and the sticks would not align against one another snug. So I removed the tape using a razor knife. Note that seat (sticks) will be sealed, so any stickiness or tape residue that is left on the sticks once the tape is removed will not pose a problem as long as you are okay with its aesthetics. Consider what you want to see and what is hidden. There were sticks that had writing and I wanted to make sure some writing wasn’t clipped by cutting the stick.
Organize the sticks carefully and lay them out so when you get to next step, you know how you are using each stick.
Step 3: Cut Sticks
This step is all about getting your 13 interior sticks cut to the appropriate length.
Cut sticks to length, using your saw of choice. Take care to cut each stick to the desired length while being careful to include the words and logos of your choice. If you are using a power saw, make sure your eyes, skin and lungs are protected from the dust! Cut each end of all sticks to ensure they have a flush, 90 degree cut on each end. I did my cuts using a compound miter saw, but a hand saw would work as well.
When you cut your sticks, make sure you only use the shaft of the stick and cut off any part of the stick that is formed differently (i.e. the stick shaft transforms from the shaft to the blade of the stick. You want to make sure you don’t use any portion of the stick that is different from the shaft dimension).
See the hand drawing of the usable and unusable portion of the stick for this Ible. Note that you may be able to find something creative to do with the remaining portion of the stick (hook?). Just be careful to remove any frayed fiberglass or loose wood that could cause a sliver.
Unless you have a table saw or circular saw and plan to trim the sticks once all glued together, take great care to ensure all sticks are the same exact length. If, after you cut, your sticks are splintery or frayed on the ends with any wood or fiberglass sticking out, take time to sand them as these sticks will form the seat top on which you will sit and you don’t want to get any slivers!
Step 4: Glue and Screw “interior” Sticks Together
Start with your first three sticks. Put a bead of glue between the sticks, then position them together. Clamp the sticks together using at least 3 clamp. Take care that each stick is flush on both the sides as it can be difficult to trim the sticks once glued (unless you have a table saw). Use a square to make sure the entire top stays square.
Pre drill a 7/64” hole about every 6-8”. You don’t have to worry about being too exact.
Drive a 2” #10 exterior screw into each hole. It is important that the screw head is counter sunk into the side of the sticks (so all sticks are tight against one another). You can accomplish counter sink the screw head by either 1) using a counter sink bit to ensure the tapered screw head is able to sit flush with the side of the stick or 2) (note this is a bit of a hack) just drive the screw with a screw gun so it compresses so tightly that it is flush with the side of the stick.
After gluing the first 3 sticks, remove the clamps and wipe up any excess glue that squeezes from the compressed joints
Grab your next two sticks to be laminated, spread glue between your two new sticks and the growing laminated bench seat top
- Clamp the sticks together using at least 3 clamp
- Take care that each stick is flush on both the sides and with the growing laminated seat top
- Pre drill a 7/64” hole about every 6-8”. You don’t have to worry about being too exact. Try to stagger your holes to make sure you do not collide with other screws from previous step.
- Drive a 2” #10 exterior screw into each hole and countersink the screw head.
- Remove the clamps and wipe up any excess glue that squeezes from the compressed joints
- Repeat these steps as you continue to laminate your seat top adding two sticks at a time
OPTIONAL: if you have a table saw and feel comfortable using your miter slide or you have a sled to guarantee 90 degree cuts, trim the ends of the laminated stick/bench seat. Just take off enough to ensure all sticks are exactly flush on both sides.
Step 5: Install Trim to Sides of Bench
This step installs a mitered stick around all four sides to give it a finished look and hide the end cuts. This is important because the sticks can be frayed or splintered on their ends (I saw this most based on fiberglass being delaminated at the location of the cut). And, you may find that some stick shafts are composite material and hollow inside. Covering the ends with another sticks creates a nice finished look.
Cut the front and back sticks with a mitered (45 degree) ends. Note that the front and back sticks will be about 1 1/2” longer than the interior sticks length.
Do not yet attach the front and side sticks….
Cut the two side sticks with mitered (45 degree) ends. Note that the side sticks will be about 1 1/2” longer than the interior sticks bench depth.
Ensure the front, back and sides all pieces fit well, then apply glue, clamp them into place, pre drill every 6-8" and screw the pieces to the laminated interior sticks. You could alternatively use nails to make the final “trim” look nicer. I personally thought the screws on the outer sticks looks nice with the metal base. I also wanted to make sure the outer pieces did not get loose over time and therefore decided to use screws. Wipe off any excess glue.
Congratulations, the interior bench seat construction is complete, set bench seat aside
Step 6: Prepare Bench Base Materials
NOTE: I much prefer a metal base because I think it looks awesome, but more importantly because it is sturdier than a wooden base. If you do not have the skills or tools to weld, ask a friend or consider paying a local welding shop to create your base. It should not cost much money as it can be built in about 30 minutes and only requires $30 or so of metal/materials.
Plan your bench height and width based on your needs. I was installing the bench on thin carpet so I wanted to makes sure the base would not easily allow the bench to tip. I also didn’t want my bench feet to extend beyond the dimensions of the bench top seat, so I planned for the feet to be 12”. You can adjust your dimensions as necessary, but I would not recommend anything less than 12” for your base as it may be unstable.
I wanted a finished height of my bench to be 21” from the ground. Knowing the laminated sticks seat top bench is approximately 1.5” tall, I planned for my metal base to be 19.5” tall, for a finished height of 21” from the ground to the top of the seat top bench.
See the hand drawn diagram that attempts to show how the base will be assembled with a side view and a front view.
Based on the parts identified in the bench base drawing, you will need to cut the following pieces of 1” square tube. You can use a metal cut off saw or hand held grinder with a cutting wheel to cut your pieces. I purchased my metal from Home Depot, but you should be able to buy thin walled 1” square tube from any store that sells metal.
Here are the metal pieces that you will need:
- Two 12” base feet
- Two 17.5” uprights
- Two 10” bench support
- One 3’ side support
Step 7: Weld Base
This step involves welding your base, you can pay someone to do this if required. But if you know someone that welds, convince them to help you as this is not very time intensive.
Using 90 degree angle magnets, make sure you have your parts lined up properly. Slag and metal debris gets stuck on the magnets, so they sometimes hold your pieces offset a bit. Use a carpenters or speed square to double check your angles. It is super satisfying to weld your pieces at a true 90 degree angle. But don’t worry, if your pieces are off a bit, it will all still work you and you don’t have to admit it :).
Always tack weld your pieces. It serves many purposes. First, it makes sure you get all pieces lined up and temporarily held in place just as you want them. And, if you discover something is not tacked properly, you can typically break it apart with a hammer or cut the tack welds with a hand held grinder. And finally, the tack welds hold your pieces in place as you begin to run a more permanent bead to fuse the pieces together. When you weld, metal tends to get pulled and if you don’t tack all sides of your pieces, you will find that pieces are pulled and twisted, and welding (typically) the other side of a piece can be difficult or impossible. So, please tack all sides first.
Once you have the base feet, uprights and bench support welded (in a capital I formation) , weld the side support to connect the two I formations. See the pictures as my description may not be making enough sense...
The final task is to drill four holes in the top bench support pieces to provide a way for a screw to attach the stick bench seat top to the base. Drill a single 1/4” hole 1” from the end of each bench support piece. Drill through the entire piece (both sides). This hole is intentionally made oversized to allow a #10 screw to easily pass through it and drive into the bottom of the seat bench top.
We will connect the base to the bench in a future step...
Step 8: Finish Base
This is the step where you clean up your bench base to make sure it does not have any sharp surfaces and put some sealant on it. You need to put some paint or sealant on your base or it will rust. If you want to paint it, please do. I wanted more of a authentic hockey bench look and thought sealing metal, to retain that metal look was the best option.
When I learned to weld, my instructor used to ask us students: “are you a welder or a grinder?” if he heard the grinders running frequently in the workshop. He was having fun, but making a point that a good welder does not have to grind too much. I don’t weld professionally, and but I think I’m 1/2 welder and 1/2 grinder. I try to get my welds as nice as I can, and when I’m done welding, I get out my trusty grinder and grind my joints that are not attractive to make them look nice. Use your judgement to grind your welds. Definitely make sure there are no sharp surfaces, but also try to make them all uniform.
Additionally, you may need to grind all ends of your square tube to make sure there are no sharp surfaces. Also, using a small metal file, remove the burrs from the inside of the ends of the square tube or else you will not be able to install your plastic plugs (installed in a later step)
Prepare your metal surfaces to be painted/sealed by wiping it down with acetone. Some metal is coated with oil to stop it from rusting. You need to remove this oil before painting/sealing. I use a paper towels and I wear gloves and eye protection to stay safe!
Apply your finish. You can spray or brush it on. I chose to brush on polycrylic (which, BTW, is not made for metal, but seemed to work fine), but I had some extra polycrylic around my shop. Don’t forget to seal the bottom of the bench base especially if your bench will be on carpet b/c you don’t want the metal to rust over time and stain the floor beneath it!
Once the pain/sealant has dried, install 1” plastic end plugs (NOTE: there are two kinds available: one that has a rectangular shape and another that has 45 degree corners. The later design is significantly easier to install and the only plug style that I recommend.
TIP: If your bench will be used on a hard surface, you can apply felt pads to the bottom to make sure it does not scratch the floors
Congratulations, your bench base is 100% complete!
Step 9: Finish Bench Seat
This step is where you put a clear coat on your bench seat top. This is important as there may be fiberglass frayed at the ends of your sticks and you may have tape residue that you want to encase so it is not sticky and finally, you want the bench to have a slightly shiny appearance so it looks uniform and snazzy!
I chose to use Polycrylic as it dries very clear. I’m not a finish expert, but I didn’t want to use Polyeurothane as it will dry more yellowy, which is not what I wanted from an aesthetics perspective. Polycrylic goes on cloudy and kinda white in color, but dries perfectly clear.
Make sure your glue has dried from laminating the bench seat top before continuing...
Apply several coats of sealer to the bench seat top (both sides) as it will ensure that no dust or stray fiberglass is released from the bench once it is completed.
NOTE: sealant may drip through the bench depending on how tightly you screwed/laminated it together, so make sure you use a drop cloth or something to catch any drips
Step 10: Attach Seat to Base
This step is where you finish the assembly of your bench.
Lay your bench seat top upside down on the ground on top of cardboard to make sure you don’t scratch or dent your finished seat top! Place the base upside down and line up the bench base so it is centered front to back and left to right.
Mark the location on the bottom of your bench seat where it lines up with the four 1/4” holes you drilled in the top bench support of you bench base.
Carefully drill 4 holes 1" deep using a 7/64” drill bit.
Drive a 2” #10 screw through the four bench base bench support piece holes and into the bottom of the bench seat top. The 2” screw is perfect because it will drive 1” deep into the approximate 1 1/2” thick bench seat. You want these screws to drive deep into the seat top to make sure they do not get loose, but obviously don’t want the screws to penetrate the top of the bench.
Congratulations, you are done!!