I built this bench to go with our Rustic Farmhouse Table. Since building it, it’s been a great addition to the table. In addition to the “look” we were going for, it’s really useful when we have a houseful of children and need to cram a bunch of them around the table.
Like the table design itself, this is a variation of the plan on Ana White’s website. I made some slight modifications to the size and materials so that it matched the look of the table a little better (in my opinion) and also based on some of the construction techniques that I experimented with on the table itself.
I also would consider this an intermediate project. In hindsight, it would probably be better to build the bench first and then tackle the table, but if you’ve already cut your teeth on the table and assuming that you have time, the bench will be a one weekend project.
I’ve also created a printable PDF version of this plan, including the accompanying Rustic Farmhouse Table, which you can purchase for $5 (about 20 pages in all). It’s all the info from the blog posts, but I’ve compiled it for easy printing and included shopping lists, cut diagrams and helpful pictures. Basically, if you want a printable version so you don’t have to get sawdust all over your computer, you might consider purchasing this download!
So you can get a vision for the project, here’s how it turned out!
For those of you who want a detailed plan using SketchUp, you can download it here.
Just like with the table, I used standard pine wood that I bought at Lowe’s. It’s important to note that pine is a soft wood, so if you do these projects your table and bench will be susceptible to scratches. That’s ok with me since this is meant to be a rustic, well used table. You can finish the table with wood conditioner and several coats of polyurethane, but if you can’t tolerate some scratches (especially if you have wild children), then you may want to rethink this project!
|Farmhouse Table Bench Cut List|
When shopping for wood, this translates to:
- 1 12′ 2×2
- 2 12′ 2x4s
- 1 10′ 2×8
Make sure that you look at your wood when you’re buying it. Straight wood is hard to find at the big box hardware stores and straight 2x2s are almost impossible!
Tools & Hardware
You’ll use the same set of tools for this bench as you do for the Rustic Farmhouse Table.
- Eye protection
- Tape measure
- Carpenter’s Square
- 2 1/2″ wood screws (buy a big box of 50, you’ll use them!)
- 3/8″ wood dowels (like the table these are optional)
- Dowel Jig (for use with the dowels) & dowel drill bit
- Wood Glue
- Sandpaper – 220 grit for the rough sanding, 360-400 grit for the finishing
- Electric Hand Sander – Don’t kill yourself with trying to sand it the “old fashioned way”
- Drill with countersink bit (if you’re not familiar with these, here’s what I’m talking about)
- Skill saw
- Miter or Chop Saw
- Wood Clamps
- Saw horses/workbench
Main Bench Dimensions
Above you can see the overall construction of the table as well as the dimensions of each part.
I started this project by building it from the legs up. The cuts are the same as those for the farmhouse table and you can review the technique for making the notches in that post. Assemble the legs with wood glue (use it on all joints!) and wood screws countersunk.
To make things a little easier once I had the table support assembled, I went ahead and sanded all the pieces for the legs and apron. Mainly, I wanted to make sure that right around the joints the pieces were sanded so it didn’t look rough in places. And no, there’s no easy way around sanding the bench, other than to use an electric hand sander.
I used 220 grit sandpaper for all of the initial sanding. For the finishing work, I used a much finer grain sandpaper – 400 – between coats of polyurethane.
Next steps are to finish the bench supports and get it ready for the apron. I attached the table leg supports then positioned the apron on the legs to ensure a proper, and square fit. Then I glued and screwed at all joints for all pieces.
Making the Bench Top
Once the bench support was complete, I made the benchtop by attaching the seat boards and bread boards with wood glue and dowels. This is an optional method as you can also simply screw the bench into the apron supports, but I chose to go this route for a couple reasons.
First, I wanted to make this bench as sturdy as possible. With a houseful of rambunctious children, this bench is going to get a lot of wear! Second, I didn’t want to make any holes in the top, which means attaching the table top from the bottom through the apron skirt and supports. Making the tabletop as a single unit makes this easier, but I’ll warn you that it’s a good bit of extra work.
Once the bench top was assembled, it’s time to sand again. I sanded the entire bench top using 220 grit sandpaper to smooth all surfaces and especially the joints. It’s likely you’ll have some imperfections and dings in the bench top boards that will need to be smoothed over. This is the time to get it right so make sure the boards are really smooth. No one wants a splinter in their rear end!
After getting the boards sanded, I assembled the benchtop by screwing it from the bottom. Again, I did this to avoid having screw holes in the top of the bench. It’s fine, of course, to do it that way if you want and you can make a nice pattern when you do by countersinking the screws and covering with wood plugs, it’s just not my preference for this project.
Once assembled, I filled in the gaps between the joints with wood filler. Be sure to use a stainable product otherwise you’ll mess up your finishing with seams that won’t hold stain.
After filling with wood filler, I sanded the compound down so it was smooth and any residue on the boards was removed. Then I stained the entire bench. For this project, I used Minwax Early American to match the table. Then I sealed it with 3 coats of polyurethane.
If you enjoyed this post, please drop me a note. If you have a project of your own, I’d love to see it. If you want to have a look at the table, you can see it here!
If you like this plan, you can either print out this entire blog post or purchase my PDF print version for $5.
The print version also includes the accompanying bench as well as a handy shopping list, cut list and lots of diagrams of the project. You don’t need it to build the table, but if you want a nicely formatted printout to use in your workshop/basement/garage and to take to Home Depot or Lowes when shopping for supplies, you might consider purchasing it (it’s about 20 pages in all).
Thanks and good luck with your project. Please leave a comment and let me know how it turned out!