Have you ever wanted a piece of furniture for your home and couldn’t find that perfect piece that was just the right size, color and didn’t cost a fortune? We desperately needed a bench in our entry area, but had limited space. Since the only open wall space was connected to a hallway, we needed something narrow enough to not become a trip hazard. Nothing fit just right so we were inspired to make our own. This DIY bench worked perfectly for our entry and cost less than what we would of paid for from a store. And it looks great anywhere — extra seating at the table, in the living room, or at the foot of the bed. And who isn’t in need of additional seating these days?
Haripin legs are great. I love the mid-century vibe plus they lend a lightweight feel that works well in the small entryway. They come in natural steel (shown), colors, but can also be painted to any color you like. We got ours from The Hairpin Leg Co. via Amazon. With a wood slab of around 1 3/4″ thick the 16″ hairpin legs are perfect for a long, low-slung bench.
SOURCING THE WOOD
We have a really amazing specialty hardwood store nearby called MacBeath Hardwood where I picked up the wood board out of a remnant bin for around $60. Domestic species such as Alder, Maple and Cedar are also nice and are less expensive. MacBeath has shops in Berkeley and Stockton, CA and Salt Lake City and I highly recommend them if you live near one. They currently have curbside pick-up if you call in your order. You can also check for other hardwood specialty shops in your area.
MacBeath Hardwood also has a website where you can order online through Woodworkers Source. I’ve not tried this and it might be slightly more expensive plus you will pay shipping. But they do have some sale items and prices seem reasonable. You will need to know the board feet and slab thickness you desire. For reference, this slab is about 1 3/4″ thick x 10″ deep x 48″ long. When ordering, this is around 6.67 total board feet and a 6/4 thickness. Note: We needed a very narrow bench for our area so opted for the 10″ seat depth, but you might prefer a little deeper at 12 inches or so.
This is Sapele (Sap-el-ly ) wood, a beautiful hardwood from Africa. It’s really pretty and, I think, worth the $60 investment. It is naturally a deep reddish brown. It is natural in the photographs, no stain or sealant!
For a more cost-effective solution, you can also use a 2×12″ pine board from a hardware store and paint or stain it. Or better yet, see what you already have in the garage!
- Wood slab (shown at 1 3/4″ thick x 10″ deep x 48″ long) (you may want it deeper at 12 inches)
- Set of 4, 2-rod steel hairpin legs with hardware included (shown in 16″ height)
- Sandpaper (optional: electric sander)
If you use a slab of wood similar to the one shown at 1 3/4″ thick, you do not need to worry about adding extra structure for your bench. Yay for easy!
Step 1: If your board is not already the dimension you want, cut to size. Sand the wood board and slightly round the edges if it isn’t smooth to the touch. Note: If you are staining your wood, do it now before you drill the hairpin legs in place.
Step 2: Mark the placement of your hairpin legs with a pencil. I chose to have them right at the edge of the wood board for maximum stability but you can also have them a little more inward.
Step 3::Pre-drill pilot holes with a small drill bit (1/8″ for hardwood or 3/32″ for soft wood) if using the #10 screws provided.
Step 4: Using the drill, screw the hairpin legs into place. :
Step 5: Place floor protectors at bottom of hairpin leg if on hardwood or other delicate surface.
Optional: The hairpin legs can be painted or waxed or sealed for a lasting natural finish. Instructions are provided by the Hairpin Leg Co. when purchased. We have left ours natural and have not had a problem with it rusting.
Enjoy your new bench! You will get so much use out of it and enjoy it so much more knowing you made it yourself and it is exactly what you needed!