This is part of a series on how I turned a cheap IKEA table into a table to fit my family's need for seating and space. The next part will be how to turn the table into a trestle table.
Step 1: Lose the Chairs and Make Benches
There really isn't much to this. It is pretty straight forward.
The first step is to measure and make your bench seats. I made my seats from three 1 x 6's that were 8 feet long. I edge glued them and reinforced the joints with pocket hole screws. The screws act as clamps mainly as a long grain edge glue joint is plenty strong.
Step 2: Remove the Old Seats
While the glue dries on the bench seat it is a good time to remove the old seats from the chairs. Each chair has 4 screws going up through the rails and into the seat. Use a screw driver to remove these screws and discard the seats. Keep the chair frames.
Step 3: Cut the Backs Off the Chairs
Using a Japanese Z-Saw, I cut the back off the chairs in line with the rear seat rail and in line with the side rails. The main thing to keep in mind is that the front and rear rails will be fixed to the bench so the cuts on the backs need to be flush or slightly lower than the rails.
I also had to cut about 1/2" off the front legs to get the bench to sit level. Be advised, if you cut too much off the bench could tip forward with weight applied to the front edge.
Step 4: Cut the Benches to Length
Now that the glue has dried enough to hold, you can cut them to length. I cut my seats to 42" long each. That is long enough for the benches to fit between the legs of the table with about 1" to spare on each side.
Step 5: Finish the Seats
You can finish the bench seats as you choose. I chose a method to match the table top that I refinished using the Shou Sugi Ban technique and then painting and sanding through to give the surface a worn look. You can see that method in this video.
Step 6: Attach the Seats
Flip the seats upside down on a surface and then position the chair bases on the bench. Attach the bases using 1-1/4" self tapping pan head screws, such as pocket hole screws.
Step 7: Enjoy Your New Table and Benches
Place the benches at the table, have a seat with your family, and enjoy a good meal.