Ever since we finished our farmhouse table, I have been on the hunt for dining chairs to go with it. I didn’t want to do benches because my house isn’t quite the “farmhouse style” and I thought it would look weird. After endless scouring of the internet and a few orders and returns, I changed my mind and decided we could do benches and just have nicer chairs on the ends of the table. At least until I find something I really like. Funny how that happens after I get frustrated over not finding what I have in mind.
These benches probably could have taken us about 2 hours to make if we hadn’t had some mishaps and redesign issues.. But here you go:
We used 2 1×6″s for the bench tops. We recommend not using construction lumber because it will contract as the wood dries up and cause a big gap between boards. We cut bench tops to 62″ long to fit just inside the ends of our table. And then I sanded them with 120 grit sandpaper first to get the knots out and then 220 grit to make it really smooth and to knock the edges down.
Then, we stripped some pieces of pine to make edge pieces for the bench top
While I was sanding and stripping the edge pieces, Jack started on the legs. Each leg is cut at 10 degrees for both the miter and bevel (I had to google it to figure out which was which so sorry if I lost you there). Once those were cut, we measured out how wide the gap was going to be when they were flush at the top. We put a scrap piece at the top to make sure it was even and flat to mark off how big we needed to cut the connecting piece.
Once they were cut, I used a kreg jig to drill 2 holes on either side to connect to the legs.
Then we used those pieces to screw the legs together.
We needed more strength under the bench tops because a 1″ x 6″ spanning 5 feet with no support would not be rigid enough, so to add some extra strength, we carved out a little bit of the tops of the legs using a chisel so that the 2×4″ would rest on the legs.
At this point, I was feeling like we were very skilled furniture makers.
Then we screwed the top 1×6″s on the support 2×4″ and used clamps to try to keep them as flat as we could. We also put a few 2 inch pieces of wood on either side of the 2×4″ for some more stability.
Next up was the edging. We glued and nailed the edge pieces all around the seat. Jack was holding the edge pieces as I was using the nail gun and he was making me nervous because he kept telling me to make sure I had the right angle or else the nail would go through the top board and it would be a disaster. So when I had to get a rag to wipe up some glue and left him alone to do ONE side, this happened:
And no, it didn’t just shoot through the top. That is where he was holding it and that entire part of the nail that is sticking up, went into his hand. I’ll save you from posting the picture of his bloody hand. This dashed my previous thought of being skilled furniture makers.
Next, we added two more support pieces underneath. These angled pieces give it some more support and the style matches our farmhouse table.
I stained the legs with Minwax stain in Ebony and the seat in Minwax Dark Walnut. As you can see in the picture above, I got a little lazy with staining the underneath part. But nobody will see that right?!
It goes really well with the table and works in our space. The legs are darker than the table legs which is my fault since I thought they were too light and put on an extra coat of stain.
And that was our weekend DIY this time around! This probably could have taken about 2 hours but since we ended up changing our plans, second guessing the strength, and trying to avoid blood drops on the benches, it ended up taking around 4.5. Now I just need to find a something to use as a centerpiece and some upholstered end chairs. Finding the end chairs will probably be really difficult since I wanted chairs in the first place and ended up with these benches because I couldn’t make up my mind and find any I like. I’ll keep you posted!