How to Build a Storage Bench





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Published on Jan 21, 2016

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This Old House general contractor Tom Silva and host Kevin O'Connor build a storage bench for an entryway. (See below for a shopping list, tools, and steps.)

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Shopping List for Building a Storage Bench:
- 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch cabinet-grade birch plywood
- 1x3 and 1x8 poplar
- Crown molding
- Two wicker storage baskets
- 4 Decorative coat hooks
- Carpenters' glue
- Cloth rag, for wiping off excess glue
- 1 1/4-inch pocket screws, used to join rails to stiles
- 1-inch screws, for attaching stiles and rails to the plywood back of the bench
- 2 1/2-inch drywall screws, used to assemble the storage box
- 1 1/2-inch brads, used to join together the legs
- 120-grit abrasive disks
- 1-inch pins, for securing the crown molding
- Primer and latex paint or wood stain

Tools List for Building a Storage Bench:
- Table saw, for ripping plywood to width
- Track saw, used to crosscut plywood to length
- Miter saw, for cutting poplar parts to length
- Pocket-hole jig, used to bore pocket holes
- Clamps, for holding parts during pocket joinery
- Drill/driver
- Impact driver, used to drive screws
- Router with quarter-round stepped-beading router bit, for shaping edges
- Wet/dry vacuum, used to collect dust
- Jigsaw, for cutting a radius into each leg
- Pneumatic brad nailer
- Random-orbit sander
- Pneumatic pin nailer

Steps for Building a Storage Bench:
1. Rip the plywood parts to width using a table saw.
2. Crosscut the plywood parts to length with a track saw.
3. Use a miter saw to crosscut the poplar stiles and rails to length.
4. Drill holes into the rails using a pocket-hole jig.
5. Screw the rails to the stiles with 1 1/4-inch pocket screws.
6. Glue and screw the stiles and rails to the plywood back with 1-inch screws.
7. Use a router and a quarter-round stepped-beading router bit to shape the inside edges of the stiles and rails.
8. Notch the rear top and bottom corners of the plywood center divider for the storage box.
9. Screw together the plywood storage box with 2 1/2-inch drywall screws. Be sure to drill pilot holes first.
10. Fasten the storage box to the plywood back with 2 1/2-inch drywall screws.
11. Cut a face frame out of poplar 1x3s to fit around the front of the storage box.
12. Use a jigsaw to cut a radius into the bottom ends of each poplar leg.
13. Cut a second leg 3/4 inch narrower than the first leg.
14. Glue and nail together the leg parts using a pneumatic brad nailer and 1 1/2-inch brads.
15. Sand all parts with a random-orbit sander and 120-grit abrasive disks.
16. Use 1 1/4-inch pocket screws to assemble the poplar face frame for the storage box.
17. Attach the face frame to the storage box with the pneumatic brad nailer.
18. Rout a decorative stepped bead around the inside edges of the face frame.
19. Attach two filler strips to the top of the storage box, then cut a plywood top to fit.
20. Attach poplar trim to the edges of the plywood top, then glue and nail the top to the storage box.
21. Use a pneumatic pin nailer and 1-inch pins to attach crown molding to the top shelf.
22. Set the shelf on top of the plywood back and secure with the pneumatic pin nailer and brad nailer.
23. Prime and paint or stain the bench, as desired, then attach four decorative coat hooks.

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