Stowaway Bench Agawam MA
West Springfield, MA
West Springfield, MA
This bench will fit in any entryway, and store your umbrella and gloves too!
by Jon Stumbras
This country-style bench will cut the clutter by the door and serve as a resting spot to put on your shoes. The lid opens up to reveal a handy storage area. At only 11-in. wide by 44-in. long, it neatly fits in an entryway or mudroom. And it’s simple enough to be a good weekend project.
Tools and Materials
You’ll need a tablesaw, dado blade, jigsaw, router and beading bit. We used 15 lineal ft. of 1x12 Douglas fir dimensional lumber (see Sources, below). Dimensional lumber comes planed on all four surfaces and measures 3/4-in. thick by 11-1/4-in. wide. This is wide enough for the widest parts, so there is no edge gluing of boards required for this project. The Douglas fir lumber costs approximately $100.
Cut the Parts
It’s important that the lid (A) be as flat as possible. Since it’s common for wide boards to be slightly warped, it’s best to pick the flattest one for the lid before cutting out any other parts. Then rip and crosscut the lid, legs (B) and rails (C) to final dimensions (see Cutting List, page 78). The legs and lid are too wide to crosscut with a standard tablesaw miter gauge. A simple shop-made crosscut sled solves this problem (Photo 1). For complete details on building a crosscut sled see “The Ultimate Shop-Built Crosscut Sled” . Cut the bottom (D) to final length, but leave it 1-in. oversize in width. It will be custom fit later on.
Shape the Legs and Rails
Start by cutting the dadoes in the two legs (Photo 2 and Figs. A and B). Then cut the notches in the upper corners of the legs. This is a three-step process. First, make two vertical cuts in each leg (Photo 3). Most tablesaws will not be able to cut the full 3-1/2-in. depth that’s required for this cut. This is not a problem and has the benefit of preventing the scrap from falling out during the final cuts.
Second, set the miter gauge 95 degrees to the left of the blade and crosscut the left-hand notches (when facing the dado) on each leg (Photo 4).
Third, set the miter gauge 95 degrees to the right and crosscut the right-hand notches (Photo 5). Break off the waste with your hand, and clean up the remaining wood with a chisel (Photo 6). Now test fit the rails into the notches. The tops of the rails and the tops of the legs should be flush. If either is proud, trim it flush. Next, cut the angle on the sides of the legs (Fig. B) with a jigsaw and smooth the cut with a hand plane or sanding block.
The arcs at the bottom of the legs come next. Start by drawing a 4-in.- radius circle on a piece of cardboard. Cut it out and use it as a template. Position it according to the dimensions in Fig. B and draw the arc. Then cut the arc out of the leg with a jigsaw. Clean up the rough edges with sandpaper.
Next, rout the bead on the bottom edge of the rails (Photo 7)...