So, we finally finished the big project that we’ve been working on for a while. I think this one took so long because I really don’t want to let go of these benches…. I think I was looking for a way to keep them while we were working on them; it would explain why I was ‘dragging my feet’ on them.
It is what I would envision for my kitchen, if I had more of a country kitchen. Even so, I think they could work in my kitchen if I didn’t already have a dining room set that I am in love with. Sometimes I wish I could have two kitchens. We did away with the formal dining room in our house almost from the day we moved in (we had the open formal dining room closed with french doors and made into my home office), so I don’t have the room for a second dining room set. And the area that it resides in just off the kitchen is too small to accomodate anything other than the round dining room table. Sigh.
A while back, I finally took the step of transforming a head- and foot- board set into a bench. It was a small, cute little bench perfect for a little girl’s room… like a reading nook where one could curl up with a favorite teddy bear or doll and a book and be happy. That experiment turned out pretty well (at least I think so) and it sold really fast. The only thing I didn’t like was that the seat was too deep, IMHO, such that an adult couldn’t sit comfortably in it. But in the end, it really was designed for a smaller book reader or readers.
Fast forward to today. I did the final touch ups last night (which explains the blue tape in some of the photos). Today we moved them into the foyer to allow more room for new projects; I already have two more projects underway!
Okay, where to begin. It is a pretty straightforward task of taking the head- and foot-boards and turning them into benches. Sawing the foot-boards in half and then placing each one on either end of the head-board. Actually, learning the lesson from the previous bench construction, I realized that I needed to pay attention to the depth of the bench. It was my intention to make them benches to be used, perhaps at a big old country table, replacing individual chairs on either side.
Using one of my dining room chairs as a guideline, I marked from each end of the foot-board 16″ and then made the cuts. Each piece was then attached to the legs of the head-board. Our choice of construction is to drill through the leg and into the cut half, this seems the most solid method. We also added quarter round to add a little more strength. Then a board is cut (we used 1″x8″ pine) and attached to both ends of the foot-boards.
Next up was to attach a similar board to the back between the legs and then we measured and cut the seats. I knew from the start that I wanted to stain the seats, so we did not permanently attach the seats at this time.
Both benches were then primed (I bought a primer and had Home Depot tint it red, the idea to make painting take less coats of paint. It helped, but not quite as much as I hoped. There was still five coats of paint applied! Red is a bear of a color to work with, but I think it is well worth it.
The bench seats are in the forefront, I had spent this particular day sanding and edging and preparing to stain the wood that would become the seats. I think sanding is my least favorite thing to do. Necessary? Absolutely yes. Fun? Nope. The seats were then given three coats of stain with a light sanding in between, followed by three coats of high gloss polyurethane (also with light sanding in between). Whew! That’s a lot of sanding! The Kid really, really doesn’t like to sand, so I make deals with him about what he can do while I sand.
Time to assemble; the way this is designed, the seat just sits on the four bases but is not attached in any way. I think this makes it a little more maneuverable, in the event of an uneven floor or if it is to be used outdoors. Also means that there is less stress on any of the joints, which is always good.
For me and The Kid, these projects have almost become rote. However, we thoroughly enjoy all of the projects we undertake, though; especially me getting to spend time with my about-to-be-twenty year old son.
Now for the big reveal!
A few of the pictures show a little blue painter’s tape… that was done to make a few touch ups. Its amazing how different lighting can make you see something you missed the first time through! Have you noticed the little difference between the two benches yet?
We only noticed it just late enough that we couldn’t change it. Or, I suppose we could have, but we thought it would be fun to have something just a little different between the two benches. I think the foot board must have come apart at one time and when it was repaired, it was replaced upside down. A little extra charm!
I thought long and hard about making a table to go with these benches. And pick up a couple of similar, but not exactly the same, chairs for the head and foot of the table. Paint it all up to match. Seemed like a bit too much investment right now, though, see if they sell or not. Maybe if someone asks, we can take it to the next stage.
The weather is finally started to feel like spring and it makes working in the garage so much easier. We might have to take some time over the next few weeks to get back into my strawberry beds: weeding and planting additional plants. We also have to get someone to dig out a large hole in the backyard so that we can dump the equivalent of three 55 gallon barrels of compost under the garden bed. The Kid has some definite ideas about what he wants to plant this year.
So, I hope you enjoyed today’s reveal. We’ve already got lots more to share!