Rustic Farmhouse Table Bench Plans

Farmhouse-Bench-GraphicI 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.

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Download a PDF version of the complete plan for $5!

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!

My rustic farmhouse table bench raw!

My rustic farmhouse table bench raw!

So you can get a vision for the project, here’s how it turned out!

My rustic farmhouse table - the finished product

My rustic farmhouse table – the final (unfinished) product

For those of you who want a detailed plan using SketchUp, you can download it here.

Wood Supplies

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
Qty Length (in.) Lumber inches Feet
2 39 2×2 78 6.5 apron skirts
7 6 2×2 42 3.5 benchtop supports
2 42 2×4 84 7 apron frame
2 6 2×4 12 1 apron frame
8 16.5 2×4 132 11 legs
2 12 2×4 24 2 leg supports
2 39 2×8 78 6.5 bench top
2 15 2×8 30 2.5 bread boards

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
  • Pencil
  • 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

Here’s a downloadable 3D model of the bench built with SketchUp Make.  If you don’t know how to use SketchUp but want to learn, I’m developing a series of videos on the basics!

SketchUp model of the rustic farmhouse table bench with benchtop raised to show the construction and dimensions

SketchUp model of the rustic farmhouse table bench with benchtop raised to show the construction and 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.

Notching out the apron seat in the bench legs

Notching out the apron seat in the bench legs

The bench legs are notched and attached

The bench legs are notched and attached with wood glue and 2 1/2″ wood screws.

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.

Table legs with supports that haven't been glued or screwed yet

Table legs with supports that haven’t been glued or screwed yet

testing the runstic farmhouse table bench for fit and squareness

Testing the bench support for fit and squareness before gluing and screwing

Rose gives her approval

Rose give her approval on the table bench (who names their dog Rose anyway??)

Bench table support completed with 2x2 cross beam supports

Bench table support completed with 2×2 cross beam supports

 

RIchard shows off the table bench support once it's put together

My right hand man shows off the table bench support once he helped put it together!

 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.

Using a dowel jig to make the benchtop

Using a dowel jig to make the benchtop

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2×8 boards for bench seat with dowel holes

IMG_2902

Use a brad point drill bit for dowel holes

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Ready to assemble the bench top seat boards. Remember to glue the dowels as well as the joint!

Using the dowel jig to drill the breadboard dowel holes

Using the dowel jig to drill the breadboard dowel holes

Once again I had to get creative to clamp the bench top in place

Once again I had to get creative to clamp the bench top in place

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.

To attach the benchtop, I screwed it from the bottom of the support

To attach the benchtop, I screwed it from the bottom of the support

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.

Filling in the gaps with wood filler

Filling in the gaps with wood filler

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.

I finished the bench with a coating of wood conditioner, stain and 3 coats of polyurethane

I finished the bench with a coating of wood conditioner, stain and 3 coats of polyurethane

Closeup of the bench after staining and coating with polyurethane

Closeup of the bench after staining and coating with polyurethane

The bench is finally done and stained! Ready for dinner...

The bench is finally done and stained! Ready for dinner…

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!

 

9 thoughts on “Rustic Farmhouse Table Bench Plans

  1. Steve

    I know that part of the goal behind these projects is to use simple tools. I used a thickness planer to take about a 1/4 inch off the 2×8’s. (1/8″ off on both sides). The reason is that it ensured that I was starting with flat wood and it would save some sanding, but the main reason was it gave me a square edge when gluing the two boards side by side. The 2×6’s have a rounded edge and this leads to a valley being created when you glue the board together. The thickness planing gets rid of the long wood filler line in the center of the bench top by eliminating that valley. I used the same technique on the table top. You could do the same thing by simply cutting about an 1/8 of an inch off the edge that you will be gluing together. Just make sure you use an accurate straight edge guide to cut the edge off.
    I also recommend cutting the boards a little long and then trimming them after being glued up. You will find that you will have boards that won’t line up perfectly after you glue then together. Trimming after the glue up gives you some room for user error.
    I really enjoyed making the bench. Probably would have done a few things differently if I made it again, but it was a good project.

    Reply
    1. Ed Post author

      That’s helpful advice Steve, particularly for folks looking for a more refined rustic look. Thanks!

      Reply
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  5. Owen

    Thanks for the plans for the bench. I have made two of them for the harvest table I made nearly 20 years ago. I made a few modifications, due to the length (8′). I think they turned out great. I have tried to attach a photo to this message, but wasn’t able to. Stained the top piece the same color as the table (Minwax Golden Oak) and painted the legs and supports Colonial Red.

    Reply
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  7. Mark

    Hi I like the way your benches turned out. I have a question. I made a portable bar using this type of farmhouse/bread board top. My bar ended up being a little taller than I expected so bar stools are hard to find. I was wondering if you thought your design of this bench would make a good bar bench. If I just extended the legs and and moved the supports down. I need them to be around 35” tall. Thanks for your advice in advance

    Reply
    1. Ed Post author

      Thanks for the note. Here’s my advice on the bench. You can certainly modify the design to raise the height as you suggested. But keep in mind that the bench is vey heavy and derailing the center of gravity can make it easier for it to fall over, especially if you have children climbing on it. You may want to extend the width of it by using 3 2x6s or even using 2x4s as the bench top (making the legs correspondingly wider), depending on the look you want. Giving it a little width will help lower the center of gravity and add more stability if you raise the height.

      Reply

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