Thursday, September 16, 2010

Building An Easy Bench

Hello Everyone!  I hope your week is going well.  I'm going to give you a glimpse of what we've been working on.  You can check out an update of additional building plans for this bench here.

This is where we currently keep our shoes:

This is what will replace the current shoe bench:

Why?  Because the small shoe bench can only hold 2 people.  Usually it's covered in kid stuff and can barely hold 1 person.  Biker Boy and I keep our shoes in the bench and it's a pain moving stuff or children to get to our shoes.  The kids currently keep their shoes in the basket.  Together. 

It was time for a much larger bench.  And a basket for each of us.  One for each of us.  Four baskets.  No more digging through other people's shoes. 

Benches can cost a lot.  I love, love, love this one from Pottery Barn.  But it's $399!  Really?!

I thought of replicating the design, but A) I don't have a tool to make pocket holes, B) I couldn't find shaped legs I liked in the size I wanted at a price I liked and C) I tried to go as cheap as I could.  So that's how Biker Boy and I ended up designing the new shoe bench.  Hello 4x4 legs!

It's not a new or original bench design, but we couldn't find plans for what we envisioned.  Or rather what I envisioned.  So Biker Boy dusted off his engineering CAD program (Alibre) and we set out to design a bench.  This is what we achieved:

One trip to Home Depot later, 1 afternoon, and many evenings after the kiddos went to bed and we built a bench.  That's how we spend time together.  When we're not biking together. 

It takes a lot of squaring things up to get it straight. And stable.  And not wobbly.  Lots of wood glue.  Nails.  Screws. 

We used an I-shaped brace to support the top.

And because I took some pictures.  Here's a few more views of the support.  This is one sturdy bench. 

We also used right angle (L-shaped) brackets to attach the top to the supports.  That way I didn't have to deal with screw holes in the top of the bench. 

And wah-lah we had a bench. 

Now I've got to go put another coat of paint on it.  Then Chewy and I have to take another trip to town sometime to locate baskets.  We haven't found the right ones yet (meaning...the right price).  So it's still a work in progress.  I'll show it to you sometime.  Not sure when sometime might be.  Some.  Time. (Update:  The metal baskets are from Lowes.  Find out about them in the additional plans post.

Do you have a sometime?  Do you spend date night building?  What's next on your sometime list? Enjoy!

Update 2016:
We still use the bench and love it!  We have since painted it white (after it was painted white and cream).  We have also routed the edges to give it rounded corners.
It's used everyday and shows the dirt and mess from it, but we love it.  It's holding up well, even as the kids grow.
If you happen to build this bench, I would love to hear about it.  Enjoy!


  1. I love the look of your bench! I have a questions about the legs: I can't tell from your photos how you attached them to the outer bench surround. I can see that you screwed into them from the inside from the I framed support...but is that the only way that the legs are attached? I didn't see any screws from the inside into the outer frame nor did I see any from the outer frame into the legs.

    1. Hi, thanks for writing. We are still currently using this bench (nearly 6 years later) and it's still sturdy and strong. The legs are only attached to the I-support. You can see in the photos that we used two screws in the I-support to each leg. There is one screw that doesn't show up in the photos. We put one diagonally on the open section of the leg back to the I-frame also. There is wood glue all along each section of the leg that touches wood and that's a lot of the attachment. We built this before we had a pocket screw jig (Kreg), otherwise we might have used that to attach the legs to the frame. I'm still happy with how we built it and how it's holding up. We've had 3-4 adults sitting on it at a time.

  2. Hi.
    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing the plans and designs. I looked around for something just right, and this bench fit the bill.

    I modified it somewhat (dimensions and added an extra leg) and then built it into the wall of our front door entry. This comment section has no picture upload feature, so here are some pics in case it gives you or others ideas.

    Thanks again for the inspiration and design.

  3. That is awesome! Congratulations on a great build! It looks amazing and I love how you modified it to fit your purposes. The shelf on the side is a great addition.

  4. love the way you put that together , im going to make one

    thank you

    1. Have fun making it! I hope it suits your purposes and works well for you. Thanks!


Thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it. Comments will be moderated eventually. Computer use only occurs when kiddos are asleep or otherwise occupied. Thanks for your patience.


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