Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hit the Bench

I've thought for a while now that a bench at the foot of my bed would be a great touch for that side of the room. I couldn't get anything I wanted (like this one) for less than $200 (which, I will admit, really isn't that bad), so I decided to go ahead and make one.

I've never made a piece of furniture before, but why would that stop me? (Cause me pause? Sure. Stop me? Never!) It really wasn't that bad.

Materials List:

Tools List:
Here is my pile of supplies in the "workshop" on Saturday morning. (Yes, it's in the unfinished basement.)

Here is that same pile after I cut what I thought was all of the pieces I would need--four 12" legs, two long side pieces and two short side pieces. Then I changed the design for structural reasons and cut two more short side pieces for a total of four, and a cross brace to go in the middle. The legs were the only things I measured. Everything else I held up to the piece of plywood and marked where it needed to be cut to fit.

 I spent the next hour or two drilling pocket-holes using my new jig. Seriously, I love this little jig. The pocket holes look awesome and don't leave any exterior screw or nail holes to deal with!

For more info on using this little jig, just search for the name. Basically, you use a clamp to hold the jig in place then drill away. The instructions that came with the kit explained everything really well, I thought. (Note to self: scan instructions so that you don't lose them.)

This is what the frame looked like all assembled. Thanks, Dear, for helping with this part.

I think it turned out pretty well. Don't those pocket-holes look great?

On Monday I hauled the frame out to the garage and applied three thin coats of satin espresso Minwax PolyShades. The back of the can says to wait six hours and sand with fine grit steel wool between coats. I went with an insider tip and applied each coat before the last one dried all the way. I waited about 1-2 hours between coats. No sanding required and I got it all done in half a day. Win-win.

While the last coat of stain was drying, I started on the upholstered top. I cut my 2' wide piece of foam at 16" intervals using an electric knife--the tool of choice for cutting foam (I keep one in my craft supplies just for this purpose)--for two 2'x16" rectangles. You see where I'm going with this since the plywood is 16"x4', right?

After cutting, I paused to wonder how I should glue the foam down to the wood. I wasn't a big fan of not gluing it and hoping it wouldn't shift. I decided to try good 'ol Elmers white school glue. When that didn't seem to be working, I got online and found that a lot of people were recommending using liquid nails. I don't happen to have any, so I thought "Great. Now I have to make another trip to the hardware store. Oh, joy." (In case you didn't catch it, that was sarcasm right there.) However, I came back after doing my research/being distracted by kids/talking to the Mr., and discovered that the white glue had worked! It just needed that hour to set. Woo-hoo! Elmers white school glue wins again! It's amazing to me how often that happens.

Flash forward to Tuesday. Tuesday was upholstery day. :D I covered the foam/plywood structure with quilt batting and stapled it down, trying to leave enough room for the frame so I would be trying to screw through staples later.

 This is how I folded the corners. There are YouTube videos out there that show how to round the corners, if you prefer that look. I also trimmed the excess batting.

Here I set the top on the frame to see how it was shaping up. Lookin' pretty good!

After prewashing the corduroy to help get the wrinkles out since one can't iron this stuff (not to mention that prewashing fabric is a good idea anyway), I spread it over the top on the frame, wrong side up, and pinned the corners, like so. I really wanted that professional, tailored look, so I sewed the corners of the fabric cover.

The tops of the corners were sticking out funny, so I grabbed by nearest favorite cylinder (my pencil can) and marked rounded corner stitch lines.

It's hard to see in this photo, but this is what the final corners look like. They lay much better.

Here's a fit test to make sure everything is looking good before I go on to the next step.

It passed the fit test, so I turned it right-side-out...

 ..flipped it upside-down and started stapling.

A few notes on stapling: pull the fabric as snug as you can, make sure the excess fabric on the corners is not bunching up (I pulled mine toward the center of the short ends), give each staple a few whacks with a hammer to make sure that aren't sticking out at all. And don't skimp on the staples!

Trim the excess fabric, screw the top on the frame, and voilĂ ! One custom 16"x48"x18 3/4" bench. Not too shabby.

One day I plan to add silver-toned nail head trim to the lower edge of the cushion, but part of me is secretly hoping that if I wait long enough someone will start selling rhinestone nail head trim. Hee-hee!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not too shabby, indeed. Your Grammy.