We’re so excited to partner with Authenticity50 to share this DIY Skinny Bench tutorial with you! I know we’ve shared a few bench tutorials in the past, but I’ve really been wanting a bench for our bedroom. A place to throw extra blankets and pillows and set books on (piling all that on the floor didn’t look so great – ha!). Since our bedroom is pretty small, I knew we’d need to make our own skinny bench so it could be the perfect fit. And we decided to tackle one of our most frequently asked questions, how to give wood a more aged, distressed look. We made this bench with new lumber, and did a few things to distress it a little.
One of my favorite elements in a bedroom is the bedding, it really makes such a difference. As the temperatures are getting a bit cooler here, I’m adding on the extra blankets! We recently got this Heritage Blanket in the Desert Blush color from Authenticity50, and it’s quickly become a favorite! It’s honestly one of the most high quality blankets I’ve owned, and I own a lot of blankets (much to Mike’s chagrin!). It’s the perfect weight, not too heavy, but warm enough to be cozy. And it’s made right here on the east coast by a family-owned business in Maine! This Desert Blush color is perfect too, adds a touch of prettiness and warmth to my neutral tones. And for the times when we don’t need that extra blanket on the bed, our Heritage Blanket now has the perfect spot on this skinny bench!
Scroll down for the bench tutorial. You’ll see a mix of photos, as my bedroom is so hard to get good photos in since it’s small. I had to shoot some photos downstairs. I loved the bench downstairs too and might have to have Mike make another! 😜
- 2-in. x 10-in. x 8-ft. lumber
- circular saw
- table saw
- miter saw
- drill press & 3/4” forstner bit
- kreg pocket hole jig
- drill & drill bits
- angle grinder
- carbide angle grinder blade
- wire brush drill attachment
- metal chain
- orbital sander
- wood glue
- hammer or mallet
Cutting bench pieces to size:
Decide the length of the bench.
Using the circular saw and square, cut the 2×10 to length. If you want the bench top to be narrower than 9-1/4”, use the table saw to cut to width.
From the remainder of the 2×10, cut the legs and cross pieces.
We made our legs 1-1/2”x1-1/2”. Cut 2 pieces 1-1/2” wide from the other part of the 2×10.
For the long cross pieces, cut three more pieces from the 2×10 at one inch wide, which will give you three pieces, 1” x 1.5”.
Use the miter saw, and cut 4 legs from the 1.5 x 1.5” pieces. Our bench is 18” tall, so we cut our legs 16” long at a 10 degree angle.
Cut two of the 1 x 1.5” pieces 4” shorter than the length of the top.
Cut two pieces 12” long out of the other 1 x 1.5” piece.
Use the table saw to cut the remainder of that piece down to a piece 5/8” x 1.5”.
Use the miter saw to cut this piece to two pieces, 2” less than the width of the bench top. Ours is 8” wide, so the pieces are 6”.
Mortising the legs:
On the four legs lay out where you want your cross piece to go. Our crosspiece is about a third of the way down from the top.
At this location, draw out your mortise. We went with a 1-1/2” x 3/4” mortise.
Use a drill press and a 3/4” forstner bit, set up a fence so that the hole will be centered in the middle of the leg.
Drill 3 times to remove as much of the material as you can, making sure to stay inside of the layout lines.
Use a sharp chisel to clan up the mortise and make the corners square.
Using the table saw with the miter gauge, cut the tenon on the end of the long cross pieces. Set the blade height to cut 1/8” deep, set the fence to 3”. Using the miter gauge set at 90 degrees make multiple cuts at each end until you have a tenon 3/4” x 1.5” x 3”. Test to make sure it fits snugly into the mortise.
Cutting end pieces:
On a flat surface, lay out the legs in sets with the 6” pieces at the top. Make a mark up 6” from the bottom of the inside of the legs; this is the mark that shows where the top of the short cross piece goes.
Lay one of the 12” x 1” x1.5” pieces with the top on these marks and then mark where the cross piece needs to be cut.
Cut them to size on the miter saw at a 10 degree angle.
In the bottom of these pieces use the kreg pocket hole jig to drill a hole at each end. Drill holes at the ends of the 6” pieces at an angle to screw them to the tops of the legs.
Distressing the wood:
Use the angle grinder with the carbide grinding blade to soften the edges of the bench top, legs and cross pieces; and to distress the surfaces. You can also use a chain and bang on the bench to leave dents on the wood. You can also use a drill with the wire brush attachment to add texture to the wood.
After you have distressed the wood as much as you want, use an orbital sander to lightly go over all of the wood to make it a little smoother and remove any sharp corners or splinters from the distressing.
Take one of the long cross pieces and two of the legs and apply glue to the tenon but only on the inside of the tenon, not out at the end that will be sticking out. Use a hammer and a pice of wood or a rubber mallet to tap the leg onto the tenon.
Repeat with the other leg; and then the other set of legs and cross piece.
Allow to dry.
Screw the 6” pieces onto the tops of the legs, joining them together.
Flip them over so that the legs are sticking up. Use screws to attach the short cross pieces between the legs. Drill holes for screws through the 6” pieces to attach the legs to the bench top. Screw the legs to the top.
Apply stain/finish as desired.
For our bench we did a coat of natural on the bench, let it dry. Then we did a coat of Early American and wiped it off before it dried.
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