This is my first time trying to weld something structural and my second time trying to weld. I was very intimidated by welding but always wanted to give it a try to so I came up with this bench as my way to practice and learn. I used 1/2 inch rebar because its cheap, however I really like the raw look of the rebar. I came up with this split top design because it lends itself to imperfections. The two boards don't have to be perfectly planed on the edges they aren't even exactly level across the top either. I learned a lot during this build which was my main goal. I have plenty to learn and realized some of the mistakes I was making as I built the legs for the bench. Next time I weld something I hope to do better and have to grind less.
I hope you enjoy this instructable.
The bench top is made from a 2" x 10" x 8' piece of pine dimensional lumber. It cost about $10 for this one piece. First thing I did was cut the lumber in half using my circular saw. This cut doesn't have to be exactly perfect because both ends will be trimmed later so if you are slightly off don't worry.
Next I took the two cut pieces over to the table saw. Here I cut one side of each board at a 45 degree angle. I also cut off the rounded straight edge of the wood which I later realized was not necessary so this step can be ignored. The two 45 degree angle cuts are all you have to do.
Next I clamped together both pieces and using my circular saw tilted at a 45 degree angle I trimmed the short edges on both sides.
I used my angle grinder with a flap disc to knock down all the corners, the angle grinder makes quick work of this. Then I went back over the edges sanding by hand just to remove any deep scratches left be the angle grinder.
I decided to take the wood outside since the sanding creates a lot of dust. Again I used my angle grinder with a flap disc to shape the lumber. I wanted to give the wood a worn look so I made sure to smooth out all the surfaces. I used a combination of the angle grinder, palm sander and hand sanding for this process. I worked my way through the different sanding grits and finished with 220 grit.
Next I lined up the two pieces of wood and made five marks that were evenly spaced across the top. I used a speed square to move the marks to the inside of the wood. Using a self-centering dowel jig I drilled 5 holes that were 2 inches deep using a 1/2 drill bit.
Using my angle grinder fitted with a cutoff wheel I cut 5 pieces of 1/2 inch rebar that were 5 inches long each. These would be used as dowels to join the two pieces of wood to make up the bench top seat.
I soon found out that 1/2 inch rebar is slightly larger than 1/2 inch so I had to grind away some of the material so that these dowels could be used in the 1/2 inch holes I drilled in the bench top seat. I would grind away a little of the material and then test fit in the holes. I made sure to have a snug fit. I used construction adhesive to glue the two boards together. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of that process. But basically I just covered the dowel ends with the adhesive and inserted one end in to one board and then did the same for the other side. I left a 1 inch gap in between the boards leaving the rebar dowels visible. The last image shows what the finished piece looks like with the 1 inch gap.
Next it was time to cut the various pieces of rebar that I would need to make the legs. In total I cut 8 pieces each of the following sizes 16 inch, 14 inch, and 3 inch. I also used a wire wheel to clean off any rust on the rebar that would be welded.
Using two 16 inch pieces and two 14 inch pieces I fashioned a rectangle and welded the corners. I then repeated the process three more times.
I then made an impromptu jig to hold the rectangle pieces up while I welded the 3 inch pieces to each of the corners. Once I finished welding the 3 inch pieces to all four corners I welded the other rectangle on to the assembly.
Once I finished welding everything together I used an angle grinder to clean up the welds as well as the rebar itself to remove any rust. Pictured are the two legs.
In order to attach the legs to the bench seat I slightly ground down six flat spots on the bench legs and then predrilled holes for screws. I also used a countersink bit for a cleaner look.
I sprayed the legs with a two coats of clear spray paint.
Since this was Pine I used a pre-stain treatment before applying the finish. I brushed on the pre-stain treatment waited 15 minutes and then wiped away any residue. I then applied 6 coats of Danish Tung oil to the bench seat to finish it.
I attached the legs using six 2 inch screws for each leg. I made sure to pre-drill the wood before screwing down the legs.
Here are some close up shots of the center of the bench seat and the legs. I hope you enjoyed this instructable and find it helpful.