Saturday, November 26, 2011

Benches for the Proverbs 31 1/2 Woman

Don't worry, these are not my benches. I am pretty far from being the Proverbs 31 1/2 Woman.

These are benches I built for a friend. She is beyond inspiring to me. I call her the Proverbs 31 1/2 Woman. Most of my friends have names that they are unaware of. We will just call her P31.5W for the sake of time. P31.5W and her husband have 8 little ones. She has the patience of a saint, she homeschools and farms, she also just learned to finish drywall. I am pretty sure that she could spin gold from straw. And yet she is friends with me? I am definitely the winner in this friendship!

A few weeks ago, my son Jake mentioned that "we" hadn't built anything in a while. It seems like I go in seasons of projects. Sometimes home renovation, sometimes crafting, sometimes painting furniture, sometimes building furniture. It has not been building season for a while.

While we were painting her kitchen cabinets (did I tell you that they are renovating an old farmhouse?) my friend P31.5W, mentioned that they needed benches for their family, I was on it. I have plenty of wood scraps and a Kreg Jig!

I have a few tools that actually make me ridiculously happy, and I got to use two of them on this project. One of them, a Kreg Jig and the other a Rockwell VersaCut Circular Saw. I actually bought the VersaCut while sleep shopping. Not kidding. Don't ask.

Ready to build a bench?

Here is my cut list for this, 

(1) 56" x 12" board for the seat 
(a little wider would probably have been better, this is just what I had)

(2) 55" x 4" boards

(2) 11" x 4" boards

(2) 9.5" x 4" boards

(4) 3" x 3" x 18" legs  ** I glued and nailed (laminated) three 1 x 3's together to make these, but you can buy them premade 

These are so simple to make with a Kreg Jig!

Clamp the 11" x 4" boards in the jig and drill 2 holes horizontally into each end, then drill two vertical slots in the center. You will use these vertical slots to attach the frame to the seat.

Clamp the 55" x 4"  boards in the jig and drill 4 sets of vertical slots spaced somewhat evenly along the length.

I like to pre-insert the Kreg wood screws in the slots. It makes it so much quicker and easier to attach everything when assembling it.

Next, the 11" x 4" board is placed between the 55" x 4" boards and screwed into it. I do like to add a bit of glue here just for extra strength.

As long as your boards are cut straight at the ends, you probably won't have to clamp while you are assembling this, just make sure that the joints are lined up evenly and screw them together. Repeat this at all four corners and you will have the frame. Just be sure that the vertical slots are all pointing in the same direction, or you won't be able to join them to the seat. Not that I know that from experience or anything :-)

Once the frame is made, position it evenly with the seat board and attach it using the pre-inserted screws. Once I had it placed correctly, I had my son sit on the frame to stabilize it while I screwed it to the seat.  If you don't have your own 10 year old, I highly recommend that you borrow one.

Next drill three holes in the legs on two consecutive sides. You will want these slots headed in the opposite direction of each other so that they can attach to the sides of the frame. Use a good amount of glue here, for stability.

Once the legs are attached to the bench, you could stop and be done here if you like this look. I decided that since there are eight little backsides that will sit on these benches, I would give them just a bit more stability and add a brace between the legs.

For this, I placed the 9.5" x 4 board on the legs, leveled it and traced the outline.

Then I got out my Rockwell VersaCut,

adjusted it to the proper depth, 3/4" in this case, and started making a bajillon slotted cuts. 

When that is done, I just popped out the pieces with a screwdriver and I had this

Then, I glued and nailed the bracing board into place and it was done! 

P31.5W is going to stain these to match their table. They are ready to go to their new home, these benches are solid! 

I timed myself and altogether it took 1 hour and 39 minutes. As my son said (before being sent to his room), "Not too bad for a girl".

Now, its your turn to build something.

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  1. You are one smart chick! The benches are beautiful and it's lovely that you give your friends Bible verse nicknames.

  2. The Rockwell VersaCut commercials are Killing Me. I have nothing to cut. It's almost Winter. I don't build furniture. I want one anyway. Fun stuff. Good benches. Rock on.

  3. I know you said don't ask...but i must...about the sleep shopping. It just sounds like to good of a story.