Remember when Apple set the tablet world on fire with the iPad and then a few years later they introduced the iPad Mini? Oooooohhhh fancy… you took something we already know and love, made it smaller and now expect us to be interested in this compact version? It’s the same thing right? But smaller? Pfffttttt….
With that in mind, I know that you can only get but so excited about a post for a bench that matches last week’s Patchwork Plank Table. It’s a similar build… but smaller! Yes, I made an iPad Mini version of my table which is only exciting if you want a matching bench. Don’t worry, I kept this in mind for this build and this post, so without further ado…
- Miter Saw
- Impact Driver/Drill Driver
- Random Orbital Sander
- Thickness Planer (optional)
- Compact Router (optional)
- Bar Clamps
- Pocket Hole Jig
- Kreg Jig 1-1/4″ Pocket Screws
- Kreg Jig 2-1/2 Pocket Screws
- TiteBond II Wood Glue
- (4) 16″ 3 Rod Hairpin 1/2″ Legs (these came from www.DIYHairpinLegs.com)
- (2) 6 foot 1×6’s
- (3) 8 foot 2×4’s
- (1) scrap 2×6
- Every color of Stain you could possibly want! I used MinWax Jacobean, Early American, Red Mahogany, Special Walnut, Espresso, Ebony and Dark Walnut Stains.
So how does one spice up this post for those who enjoy my content but don’t enjoy building things… videos! They say once you figure out how something works the first time it should be easier every time after that. Sort of like the “riding a bike” adage. Well the same is true when you build stuff. The bench build went ridiculously fast compared to the table because I had already figured everything out. I was confident enough that I actually filmed the entire build on time lapse. Minus the initial cutting of the planks and staining, I was able to knock out the entire build in under two hours. So in less time than watching back to back episodes of the God awful Real Housewives of wherever you were going watch, you can have a matching bench for your table. Don’t believe me? Watch:
Easy. Now on to the build!
Pick the prettiest side of your 1×6’s that you want to use. It’s okay to be vain and superficial like you were with the table. Lumber doesn’t have feelings. If it did, the sawing portion of this tutorial would be a lot more interesting… I went with the following break down of cuts:
- Row 1 (1×6) – 24″, 24″, 24″
- Row 2 (1×6) – 18″, 36″, 18″
This gave enough of a variation that my supports were effective and the pattern still looked somewhat random. Remember that you want to break up the wood grain from one piece to the other, so flip a board, change the order, etc. You will be happier with those results when the stain goes on. Plus, continuing the theme of being cruel to lumber, tearing it away from the neighbor it grew up with is nice and evil. Muwhahahahaha!
One step I didn’t show in the video was running the 2×4’s being used for the aprons through the planer. That takes off the rounded edges of the standard 2x’s. You can achieve the same result with a little elbow grease (ew) and some low grit sanding. Followed by high grit sanding to get a smooth surface.
Stain your planks and your 2×4 side and end aprons. You only have 6 planks to stain this time so you have to watch your similar stain tones. The colors were slightly similar in my first run, so I had to add an additional layer of stain before I sealed my planks up. Again, I went with Jacobean for the aprons and I still am not sure how to pronounce it. I’m leaning towards Jack’O Bean since we’re close to Halloween right now.
Oh man, do you remember this from the table? I’m sure you blacked out halfway through. This time it’s not as bad… but it’s still a ton of pocket holes. Pull out your favorite Kreg Jig and follow my layout below and you can’t go wrong… well you can… but it should help with the structure and no miss placed holes. By the way, has everyone seen the Kreg Foreman? I finally watched a video the other day of someone using it and it brought a tear to my eye for how many hours I’ve lost clamping, drilling, un-clamping, re-clamping, drilling, etc. on all my projects. With the foreman this guy could have knocked all of it out in 15 minutes… I do accept fan donations… Oooh and Kreg Tools you know I love you.
The good news is that you’re only drilling 62 pocket holes this time at 0.75″ depth for the 1-1/4″ pocket screws. Not too bad. After you’re all pre-drilled, get to gluing and screwing your planks together. As I mentioned in the table build, it’s very important to make sure the face down side is flush so you’re going to have to use a healthy dose of clamps (you can never have too many!) to have a smooth reveal. In about the 4-10 second mark of the video can you can see just how many clamps I used for this bench alone.
Also like the table (notice a theme?) you might get a little overhang on one end that makes your plank bench uneven. What do we do with overhang? We check out that link I just highlighted for you and say “not today”. *Game of Thrones reference for my fellow nerds.
Measure the width of your new super plank. Why is it super? You just combined the powers of 6 individual planks like Voltron or God forbid.. a Power Ranger Zord. Of course it’s super. It should also be 11″ wide. 11″ might not be super to some folks, but we’ll go ahead and change the subject before I lose readers… Cut two 2×4’s to length for your end aprons. Before you attach them, add two 1.50″ pocket holes on each end that will attach the side aprons.
Glue and screw the end aprons with the 0.75″ pre-drilled holes at the end of each plank. Attach with 1-1/4″ pocket screws. The aprons should be flush with the sides and the bench top. Mess it up and then it won’t be funny when someone catches an edge and tears a hole in their pants at dinner. In situations like these, I like to use the reliable “these are my holy pants” joke, but still…the evening will be ruined and your craftsmanship will be to blame. No pressure.
This time measure the bench from end to end, it should be 75″. Again… if it’s not… I’m not saying it’s user error… but it’s user error.
Cut your two 2×4’s to length that will be the side aprons. Attach to the end aprons first with 2-1/2″ pocket screws. If you need a refresher, take a look how I attached the side aprons on the table to the plank top. You will need to use a few clamps and spacers to get the aprons flush before you attach them with the 1-1/4″ pocket screws.
With your aprons attached, measure the distance for your supports. It should be right around 11″. This time it’s okay if you’re slightly off, you will most likely end up with something just short of 11″ that best fits.
Cut your two 2×6’s to length that will be butted again the end aprons. In addition, cut the four 2×4’s to length that will serve as your middle supports. Before you attach them, pre-drill 1.50″ pocket holes on the ends of all 6 boards. Glue the bottoms and sides and attach with 2-1/2″ pocket screws. The 2×4’s need to be spaced covering the joints of the planks for added strength. On the table, I added a few well placed wood screws to secure the planks, but this surface is small enough you won’t have to worry.
Attach your legs! As I mentioned in the material list, these legs came from DIY Hairpin Legs. They have a great selection of sizes, a few colors and thicknesses.
They ship quickly and send you everything you need to install and maintain your legs. Because we were going for bench height, I went for 16″ legs this time. As you can see. you absolutely need to use a 2×6 for the support against the apron because anything thinner and you’ll run out of real estate very quickly on your install. Also, DO NOT ATTACH the legs directly to your plank top. You want the legs to have a little meat to bite into and we’re not talking about when your screws come up through the planks and poke you in your… Hopefully you had some scrap 2×6 to add to the build. I’ve had a handful of people ask me if I stain or paint the bottom of my work… no chance. Ha. Remember we’re talking about Lazy Guy DIY. If no one sees it, it’s not getting special treatment.
Side Note: One thing worth mentioning is that I did have a slight issue with a gap between two planks butted together for this go round. If it’s a hair line gap, your poly coat will usually cover it up. This one ended up being a little wider because the factory edge wasn’t as square as I thought it would be. On the underside where I was attaching the planks, the gap wasn’t visible, but when I flipped it over (*#$#*!) it was. It was a quick fix though because I had a little bit of DAP Plastic Wood (*affiliate link) tinted in Walnut to fill the gap.
After it dries, you do need to sand that area down. Try not to go through the stain, but if you do, you can always brush a little stain over that area to add a little bit more character.
Time for the finish coat. Not related to Finland the country, but more so to seal your bench top. I again used MinWax Semi-Gloss poly. I upped the count to 5 coats this time. People are going to be rubbing their tushes all of this thing so I want it to hold up. Remember to hand sand with a high grit sandpaper between coats for a smooth finish. Then you’re done my friend.
Make sure you rake and mow your yard before you start posting pictures of your final pieces to share with your friends. It’s very embarrassing. Also embarrassing… when you start singing “too many benches and not enough tables” while working on this project. It’s not funny… to anyone other than me. Otherwise, if you have any questions on this build or any other, please feel free to reach out to me. And like always, please send me a picture of your builds and I’ll put them up on the Lazy Guy links.