Trashy Tailgate Bench





Introduction: Trashy Tailgate Bench

About: Woodworking/Car Audio Hobbyist, specializing in custom car audio fabrication and installs.

After finding an old beat up tailgate sitting in a junk pile, I decided it needed to be made into something cool. What better way to display it than to make an awesome sitting bench out of it! I hope that maybe some of you guys build one too and show me your take on this project!

Step 1: Measuring/Cutting Materials

I decided to use 4x4 treated posts for this project for the frame. It would be way more rigid than a 2x4 and for the size of the bench it looks more aesthetically pleasing. After measuring the tailgate, I went an inch longer so I would have a 1/2" gap on each side. I cut my spreader this long. I also used a chair height that was comfortable to decide how tall to make the seat part and added the tailgate's height to make sure it was long enough. The picture is of the 3 pieces mocked up after cutting.

Step 2: Measuring/Cutting Continued

I did the same measurements for the front spreader and uprights, but I only added 5" height for armrests instead of adding the tailgate height.

Step 3: Making Side Pieces/Brackets

In this step, I cut the 4x4 to go from the front to back. Also I made some brackets out of 3x3 angle iron to add strength, as this bench is relatively heavy. I screwed the brackets onto the frames pieces to hold them together. The picture here shows that, and I now have my frame built.

Step 4: Inside Bracing

I added some bracing inside the bench to add even more stability. It is made out of 2" by 1/4" flat bar. I used a brake to bend it into shape.

Step 5: Bench Slats

I used 6" wide decking boards for my bench slats. I had cut notches in the outside board in order to fit around my uprights. I used a router to round off the front edges so that they wouldn't cut into your legs when you sat down. I spaced them about 1/8" apart as I felt it looked better that way.

Step 6: Attaching Slats

I get OCD with my projects, so I laid out lines and measured every screw hole. That way it was all perfect and symmetrical.

Step 7: Arm Rests

I used the same decking boards for my armrests that I did for the bench slats. I traced an arc on the end and used a bandsaw to cut the profile then shaped them to a rounded edge. There is also an angle iron clip under the arm rest as well.

Step 8: Staining the Bench

I used a stain/sealer to color the wood and seal it from the outdoors. I just applied this with a brush, let soak in good, then applied a second coat.

Step 9: Tailgate Brackets

I used 4" flatbar to make a bracket to mount the tailgate. I drilled 3 holes on each to fit a lag bolt in, and then tack welded it into place on the back of the tailgate, and also the front lip to keep it from breaking the back tacks loose from pressure. I then painted them a black to keep them from rusting.

Step 10: Painting the Tailgate Letters

The tailgate I found was beat up and the letters were the same color as the tailgate, so there was no contrast. I found a rustic looking red that went perfect. I used tape to tape off the letters, then sprayed them with the red. Be careful when masking that you do it right and not rush it or they will not turn out the best.

Step 11: Attach Tailgate

Using the lag bolts, you will need to place the tailgate on the back and use the lags to attach it. Make sure to drill a pilot hole first, so that the wood will not split. This is the last step, and it turned out awesome!

Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

First Prize in the
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017



    • Creative Misuse Contest

      Creative Misuse Contest
    • Water Contest

      Water Contest
    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest

    17 Discussions

    Are you using just the flat iron that you made to keep the 4x4's together?

    1 reply

    No there is angle iron clips I made to fasten all 4x4's together. The flat iron on the tailgate is just to fasten the gate to the 4x4's. :)

    nice job how many 4x4 did you use and how many decking boards

    3 replies

    I really like this one and I'm going to try to make one myself one day. The difficult bit is the logo painting; notoriously difficult to get right. I have one suggestion: I wonder if it would be more comfy if the back had a slight rake on it, maybe 15 deg.

    1 reply

    Yes logo painting was pretty tough. I used duct tape to mask it off roughly then I used a razor blade to carefully trim. It took a WHILE. Still wasn't perfect but works with the distressed look of the gate. And the way mine is built is the actual sitting part is a bit deeper than normal so when you sit you actually lean back some before you hit it. So all in all there is a slight angle to it. Thanks for your comment and best of luck on yours! Please share when you do it!

    Other than it being a Ford, I love this idea! Way to use something old and give it new life!

    2 replies

    With ya! I'm more of a chevy guy myself but when it's free it's free!

    Haha, yep, can't complain with free. It still looks mighty fine and I'd be tickled pink to have something like that in my yard! Great functional piece of art.

    looks real good!